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Helvetica (the film)

How to change the world: Sunlight, food, high expectations, and jazz

Bill_stricklandTED has put up one of the most compelling presentations by one of America's most remarkable men. I found this presentation remarkable on many, many different levels. The presenter, Bill Strickland, is an ordinary man who has accomplished something extraordinary — something that "could not be done." Bill Strickland has a fascinating story that he tells on stage in a straight forward, conversational style. His story is amplified naturally by the use of photos projected on a screen behind him. And he tells his story—and this is the cool part—while the legendary Herbie Hancock provides a beautiful backdrop and natural musical augmentation to this great story throughout. The content is wonderful and inspiring and the delivery serves as a reminder: Presentation is never just giving the facts, it's a performance and it is art, "the art of presentation." It's not fancy and it's not high-tech, but like the art of jazz itself, its authentic, naked, and real. Watch it below or go here to download the video. (Note: after a few minutes the balance with piano and voice on the video gets smoothed out. The slide of Bill Strickland above is from The Impossible Movie on his website; click to enlarge slide.)

After you watch the TED video, go to Bill's website and checkout all the video clips of Bill on stage. I am inspired by this man's work, vision, and his ability to deliver his message and tell his story. Just another example of how important the art of presentation is. If you are going to lead—if you are going to change the world and not just talk about change—then you have got to be able to stand and deliver your story with clarity, conviction, and grace. It's true for CEOs and it's true for social entrepreneurs...and it's true for you and me.

Watch the "Impossible Movie" from Bill Strickland's website. Here are just a few slides from this online presentation below:






Checkout some recent posts by Bill Strickland at the Social Edge. Here's a quote (emphasis mine):

When we started out some twenty years ago, most of our students were African-Americans from the city’s poorest neighborhoods. Today, almost half our student body is made up of disadvantaged white folks. We greet them all with the same basic recipe for success: high standards, stiff challenges, a chance to develop unexplored talents, and a message that many of them haven’t heard before—that no matter how difficult the circumstances of their lives may be, no matter how many bad assumptions they’ve made about their chances in life, no matter how well they’ve been taught to rein in their dreams and narrow their aspirations, they have the right, and the potential, to expect to live rich and satisfying lives.


John Watkis


Thanks so much for sharing this video. Bill Strickland's presentation isn't fancy, and his platform skills aren't polished, yet his message is powerful and impossible to ignore. He's the perfect example of how authenticity, more than anything else, makes your message worth listening to.

joe bruzzese

One of the best from the best (TED). Have you seen Sir Ken, also of TED? Truly brilliant as well. Thanks for sharing Bill with us. No doubt my readership at thinking-forward.com will enjoy the presentation.
Joe Bruzzese


Wow---thanks for sharing Garr. Unbelievably great presentation and message...am going to purchase the book tomorrow.

Charles Martineau

When I found that video that was posted few days ago one ted, I didn't know much about the guy. But when I first listened to it...WOW!. I did some work on my pc without even looking at the prez and only listen to his story and the music...its simply beautiful!


Hi Garr:

This gets you straight into the heart. Thanks for highlighting Bill and spreading the word. God knows we need more people like that. We have one of the most beautiful cities in the world, Vancouver, yet our downtown east side is a haven of poverty, drugs and crime. And we need something like what Bill is doing ...

Joe Hungler

Great post Garr. I work at a Boys & Girls Club and can truly appreciate what Bill Strickland has done. Thanks for pointing out a great presentation as well as an inspiring story.

I just bought your book. I didn't get it in time to read it carefully prior to a major presentation we were doing, but from reading your blog and others such as the Heath's and Seth Godin, we made it a point to center the presentation around a story. We eliminated the majority of bullets and included powerful pictures instead. Of course,thie was combined with good content. Not only did we get a great reception the day of the event, but our staff and the Gang Unit officer we partnered with have been asked to repeat the presentation before all the principals in the city as well as for the probation department. Thanks for sharing your knowledge.

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