The back of the napkin
New Alltop topic: presentations & speaking

Summer update

Up on the Oregon coast now for some family time and a chance to prepare for Nashville later this week. Below are a few photos to summarize the past week or so. (Here's a 30 sec video I shot yesterday of my favorite places to get off the grid; been going there since I was a kid for some "alone time.")


Above. First stop in the USA was a few days "going analog" in Hawaii. I took some time mostly *off* the grid to think about future projects and spend some alone time. Above is a pic I snapped while reading and sketching ideas near the foot of Diamond Head. This storyboard pad from Muji in Japan is a wonderful tool for less than ¥100 (about a dollar).


Above. How is a Korean plate lunch in Hawaii like a good presentation? Looks good, but more importantly, it *is* good.


Above. My week in Silicon Valley started off with breakfast with Guy Kawasaki in Palo Alto near Stanford. In this pic above we are posing with some of the official Japan Hockey team jerseys I brought back for Guy (Guy's crazy about hockey as you may know).


Above. I got a kick out of Guy's meishi (business card). It's very simple with only a cell number, email and web address on the reverse side. A good lesson about branding and also typography: Think big. Notice by contrast my business card.


Above. After breakfast with Guy, I spent six hours straight in a meeting with Nancy Duarte discussing many things like her amazing book (coming out in September), trends, strategy, etc. Because we are very different people who share a similar philosophy about design, communication, business, etc. we get along great. Every time we get together we can talk nonstop all day about presentation (how crazy is that?). In the photo above you can see Nancy at the white board (we hardly ever opened the computer and never slideware).


Above. A pic of our table top that started off empty and ended up like this as the conversation flowed in many interesting directions (and the snacks came out).

Below. On Thursday I made a 45-minute presentation followed by about 30 minutes of Q&A at Microsoft's Silicon Valley campus. It was a terrific, receptive audience which had tons of questions. Had a great time. Wonderful people at Microsoft. Later that day I did a 50-minute podcast with two Microsoft managers that will be available in about a week or so.


Above. Mingling with the crowd just before I went on. It's good advice not to separate yourself from your audience. As much as possible, greet them and mingle with them before you take the stage. If you do this then you'll feel more comfortable and you are not a "stranger" and the audience may even warm up to you better as well. Below. Talking a little about how to make PowerPoint better and sharing some advice from Dr. John Medina, etc.



Microsoft_theatre1 Microsoft_theatre3


Above. I spent three days with a 2-person film crew (hired by the publisher) in a studio in the Petrero district of San Francisco. We filmed in the studio and in the Japanese Tea Gardens in Golden Gate Park and a bit on the streets of San Francisco. The DVD will be coming out later this year and will also feature some Pecha Kucha presentations and an interview with Nancy Duarte in the Duarte offices, etc. Film maker Doug Weihnacht is behind the camera. Mary Sweeney was the creative director.


Above. It's San Francisco so why not go Vegan for lunch? It was colorful and delicious (and good for you).

Below. On Friday, Slideshare put on a great little party that started off with a nice presentation by Nancy Duarte and then a 30-min presentation by me. It was a marvelous crowd with fantastic questions. Curious George was even in the audience and you can see the photo he sent in here.



Rashmi (Slideshare CEO) kicks off the event.


Above. Nancy presents to a standing-room only crowd.




T. Benjamin Larsen

Saw those business cards on Guy's site and love the look.

I'm not sure it's the smartest design decision though. If the main point is to sell Guy's name, then by all means it does that perfectly. (Not that he need it though!) ;)

I do find however that a lot of people flick through their collection of Business Cards to find someone that can help them with... something.

Therefore: WHAT YOUR BUSINESS IS ABOUT is probably what should be communicated most clearly. Also, a lot of people use the back side of the cards to make notes which means double sided printing might not be in the recipient's interest...


Hey there,

I'm consistently amazed at the quality of your pictures. Which camera do you use and do you prefer?


Ric Bretschneider

Reply to T. Benjamin Larsen

Guy's business card has his web sites on the back, alltop, trumors, etc. It's a pretty effective, and bold, presentation, even if you don't know Guy...


T. Benjamin Larsen

Thanks Ric, makes a lot more sense then. It certainly draws attention. As I mentioned earlier though, a lot of people will just flick through their cards to find one that deals with whatever task they have at hand. Most people wouldn't stop for 'T. Benjamin Larsen' no matter how bold the font was. But I'll refrain from further hijacking of these comments. ;)

I only know Guy and from the stuff I've read and seen on the web. Effective and bold seem to fit. ;)


Mmmmm.... Looks like a Meat Jun Plate from Gina's BBQ. I'm jealous.

Kare Anderson

Re your 30 sec video
- that's especially amazing to me after hearing from friends and family about the continuing rain in oregon... you must have brought your aloha weather...

- another fan of presentation zen

Corey Molinelli

Where do you get your story board pads from? I have been looking at any store even comic shops and cant find any the ones I find on line are large and not really what I wanted, what you show in the photo looks more like what I am looking for. something I can travel with easily.

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