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October 2008

Duarte's Pumpkin Carving Contest

Duarte_pumpkin Halloween's a weird holiday. It's never been my favorite, but I did like It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown as a kid, and I always did rather fancy orange and black (perhaps that's why I'm a Beavers fan). If it's Halloween, that means the folks at Duarte Design are once again showing off their Jack-O-Lanterns in their annual employee pumpkin carving contest. Checkout all these cool pumpkins.

Workshops: See you in March '09 in Silicon valley
Reboot_seminar In other news: There will be a more formal announcement soon with an official website, registration, etc., but I wanted to let you know that Nancy Duarte (CEO of Duarte design and author of the best-seller Slide:ology) and I will be co-delivering one-day long workshops March 17, 18 and 19. The name of the seminar series in Presentation Reboot. Details very soon, but for now please set aside one of those days to attend our day-long seminar in Santa Clara, California (Silicon Valley). If you live in Europe, Asia, South America, etc., now you have a good excuse to fly all the way to California for a little working/education holiday. After the workshop you can visit all the great places to see in the beautiful San Francisco Bay Area (and if you are a nerd like me, you've got to visit the Apple Company Store in Cupertino for some fine swag.)

(Speaking of Halloween, checkout this photo I snapped on the streets of Osaka yesterday. A Japanese restaurant displays Halloween decorations on a black Christmas tree — now *that's* a remix.)

Visualization of how the world views US election

Obama_mccain Unless you've been living in a cave, you are probably aware that there is an important election about to take place in the United States (though I suspect at least some cave dwellers are very much aware of this too). Although one candidate seems to have an advantage with one week to go, it's more or less a race that's too close to call. You know how Americans feel about the candidates, but what about the rest of the world?


This satirical world map above from Dan Roam's blog is quite amusing, and although it's strictly tongue-in-cheek, it does somewhat reflect how those outside the United States actually view the US presidential candidates and the election.

If the world could vote
If you want a more accurate depiction of what the world thinks, checkout an interesting site by the folks at Gallup on the Foreign Policy website. I've met a lot of people from all over the world this past year. Many times people tell me — jokingly, of course — that they should be allowed to vote in the US election since the results have such an impact on their own country. Well, no one is suggesting that non US citizens be allowed to vote for the next US president, but the question is a good one: What if the world could vote? What would the polls look like? Gallup conducted this poll in 70 countries between May and September of this year. (Teachers in the US may find this website particularly useful. And make sure you checkout the videos and data on the Gallup World Poll website — some really interesting data there.)

Above: This map (click to enlarge) from the foreignpolicy/gallup page gives a quick, superficial overview of who the majority of people in each country prefer to win the election. The reason you do not see red (McCain) is that in the four countries where McCain polls ahead of Obama, McCain is still surpassed by the number of people who have no preference. Go to the foreignpolicy/gallup page and select a country to get more detailed information on poll results and some analysis.

Above: This map shows the results for the question "do US election results make a difference in your country?"

Gallup: In developed Asia, a clear preference for Obama
Here are some simple bar charts. The color pallet is very simple and consistent. (Source.)


Gallup: Japanese back Obama over McCain
Gallup suggests that Japan may in part have a more favorable view of Obama due to his opposition to the Iraq war. The US-Japan relationship is very strong, but President Bush is not popular here for various reasons and this is seen to help make Obama more popular.


The line chart below shows the general mood of Japanese toward the US on the issue of trust over time (though Japanese do not give high marks for their own government either).

Who cares?
So what does all this mean? Gallup gives some analysis for many of the countries, and you will have your own conclusions, including that it just doesn't matter. That's fine. My only real intent was to point out this Gallup website as I know many of you will find this useful. I have a class tomorrow which has students from 14 different countries; we're going to spend some time looking at the results and interpreting what they mean, etc.

Here's another website that's been taking some polling (
unscientific, but interesting nonetheless).
Find the latest Gallup polling news on the election here.

I love my Sony LCD projector

Sony_projector_ A few years ago I made a presentation at an ad agency in Tokyo. The agency used a small Sony projector that really impressed me. Although it was not the smallest or the lightest on the market, I loved its slim design and it was very bright and made the slides on the screen look fantastic. Last month I finally purchased a Sony projector in the same family as the one I used that day in Tokyo, the Sony VPLCX21 LCD Projector. It's just around $1000 and for that price it's very bright (2100 lumens) and crisp. It has a native XGA Resolution of 1024 x 768 which is all I need. It's only 4.2 pounds and fits easily into my bag along with one or two MacBook Pros. Even if the venue says they will provide the projector, I carry this along now just as a backup. It may not be the best on the market — I have not done a lot of research on projectors — but it's a great combination of a good price, high quality and bright, and relatively small and light. And, hey, it's a Sony. I'm really happy with it. And because it's so thin and low, I can put my MacBook behind the projector at the same table (larger projectors would obscure the computer screen and I'd have to find another table or put the computer on the floor — remember that the computer screen is acting like a monitor.)

In the picture above you can see my wife as she delivers the first part of a presentation on branding (I took the stage after her part). Note the position of the projector and the brightness of the screen even with most of the house lights on (though this pic does not do the screen justice). The room was a medium-size ballroom seating about 100 people (photo taken with the iPhone). Note to my buddies at Microsoft: yes my Microsoft guest sticker is still bonded on the front cover, as you can see — d'oh!

I purchased my Sony on for $1027; it may be cheaper somewhere else. (Please feel free to recommend other good, light, and bright projectors for those of us on the road.)

PZ translations (redux)

The Dutch and French versions of PZ have been out for a while, but I just received my copies today. The Dutch version is slightly narrower and taller than the English version. The French version has a glossy finish on the cover. The Dutch and French teams did a fantastic job. (I snapped this pic below on my iPhone and put it up here on Posterous. In French: Présentation zen : Pour des présentations plus simples, claires et percutantes. In Dutch: PresentatieZen: De kracht van eenvoud bij het ontwerpen en geven van presentaties. I also approved the cover of the Portuguese version earlier this week; not sure of the publishing date yet. I hope to make it to Europe for a lot of presentations/seminars in the summer of 09 (and possibly in January of 09.) In other translation news, the Japanese version should be ready by May 09. I'm much more involved in the Japanese translation and design and I'll be adding some additional content, etc.


Steve Jobs at the whiteboard (c. 1991)

Steve Some 17 years before The Back of the Napkin was published, and before death-by-PowerPoint was a familiar refrain, Steve Jobs was not only a master of the slide presentation, he was a clear and thoughtful presenter at the whiteboard as well. I love this old presentation below featuring Steve Jobs at the whiteboard as he methodically, yet passionately, explains NeXT's positioning and future growth opportunities. Sure, his projections did not pan out and NeXT never really enjoyed large commercial success, but NeXT's influence in the computer industry was big (and Jobs would go on to sell NeXT and its object-oriented operating system to Apple in 1996 for over $400 million...and the rest, as they say, is history).

A lot of what Steve covers in this short "chalk talk" are the kind of things an entrepreneur would cover in a pitch: The market, the competition, sales and the channel, challenges and solutions, etc. This is a good and interesting presentation, but many people — especially business educators — will find the content illuminating as well. Steve states the fundamental questions right from the start: "Who is our target customer? Why are they selecting our product over the competition's? What distribution channels are we going to use?" The video is quite low-rez which makes reading the whiteboard difficult, but this is well worth a look.

Part 1

Part 2

An early Jobs demo on interpersonal computing
If you still have not had enough of going down Memory Lane, then check out this NeXT demo by Steve Jobs circa 1991-92. Pretty impressive stuff actually, especially when you consider that this was before most people ever heard of the internet or email, etc. (There are three additional parts to this demo on YouTube: 2, 3, 4.)

H/T to Jan Schultink.

Seth Godin's Tribes

Tribes Yesterday I downloaded the free audio version of Seth Godin's latest book Tribes. It's fantastic. As I have so many things to read, I didn't think I'd get to this book (which I also purchased) for a while, so I was really happy to see there is an audio version, which is read by Seth himself. I listened to the audio book on the trains and during the evening walk through the city. Even if you are already familiar with Seth's books, his blog, and presentations, you will really get a kick out of this audio book. And if you are new to Seth Godin, then this book (or audio book) is a great primer. So since we have the great Seth Godin on the brain again, here's an older 20-minute presentation below that Seth did a couple of years ago on the themes expressed in his All Marketers are Liars book — it's worth another look. Very good stuff and a wonderful, funny presentation. (The audio book is available on iTunes as well for 95 cents if you prefer not to register with Audible for the free version.)

Seth at Gel 2006

Find out more about the book and Seth Godin (yeah, I'm a member of the Seth Godin tribe).

Seth posted a slidedeck on Slideshare today of his visuals used in his presentation on Tribes. In order to make better sense of the slides you need to download the PowerPoint file — notes appear for each slide in the notes window. You'll even see me mentioned (to my surprise) on slide 109. You have the slides and you have the notes, so go out and give this presentation yourself. Well done Seth — thanks for sharing this!

View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: book tribes)

Singularity Summit '08 in San Jose, CA October 25

BannerI've heard from many people over the past year about the Singularity Summit being held this month in California. Unfortunately, I can not get away from Japan during that week in October, but I think many of you may be interested in this summit. (The summit curator, Tyler Emerson, attended the PZ book signing party at Duarte Design in March and he has actually been quite the evangelist for the book and for the idea of presenting differently, powerfully, visually, etc.) The first Singularity Summit was held at Stanford University in 2006. This year's summit — the third — will be held in San Jose. If you can get to Silicon Valley on October 25, this looks like an interesting conference. What is the Singularity Summit? This is from the conference website: "The Singularity Summit gathers the smartest people around to explore the biggest ideas of our time. Learn where humanity is headed, meet the people leading the way, and leave inspired to create a better world."

Watch this four-minute video (below) with the summit curator Tyler Emerson to get a better feel for the contents of the conference. And checkout the website here for more information. If you follow this special link you can get 15% off the registration fee.

Higher rez version
of the video.

Cutting the crap: The key element in good storytelling

The American storyteller Ira Glass says that good storytelling includes, among other things, having the courage to cut the crap. As Ira said in his YouTube video, "Not enough gets said about the importance of abandoning crap." (See this post on Ira Glass and the art of Storytelling which includes his video. Sample slide below.)


Above: Japan has some of the best design of all kinds in the world, and Japan also has a lot of crap (the ubiquitous pachinko parlor comes to mind). Yesterday I snapped this photo of a worker cleaning up after a street fair. The crap on his T-shirt looks pretty good in Helvetica (you gotta love Helvetica — it makes even crap look good).

C-R-A-P: Four simple graphic design concepts

In the Non-Designer's Design Book, author Robin Williams introduces four fundamental graphic design principles which every professional should understand. The four are Contrast, Repetition, Alignment, and Proximity (or CRAP). My buddy Dan Pink reviews these four fundamental principles in the design section of his New York Times best-seller A Whole New Mind, and in Chapter 6 of Presentation Zen (the biggest chapter by far) I also give a quick review of these principles. Rather than outline them here, I have instead included the last 12 pages of Chapter 6 from my book which contains the four concepts and example slides. Click on the image below to download the pages in PDF in spread form (about 500k).


Or if you prefer, download the pages in range form (perhaps better for printing; one page per sheet).

See all four segments of the original video on Ira Glass talking about storytelling.

A clickable slideshare primer on the subprime

Subprime Michael in Los Angels, a finance expert who arranges structured finance transactions for real estate developers, sent me the link to this Slideshare below that was created seven months ago. "It's very simplistic but it does a good job of giving a pretty good flavor for what went down," wrote Michael in a recent email. "Everyone knew this was going to eventually fold, although I don’t believe anyone really knew that the credit markets would get to this point." Michael even used one of the slides in a recent presentation and he said the entire auditorium got it.  "It was amazing how powerful just showing one slide was." A few finance professionals have sent me the Slideshare link this week; it's a good followup to the whiteboard presentation in the previous post. Visually this Slideshare is simplified to the point of being quite crude, and yet as a sort of tongue-in-cheek overview of at least part of the financial crisis this works. The downside of this Slideshare is that you'll have to view it at "Full Screen" to read the text. Warning: some of the language may be too crude for some (you've been warned), but given what took place in the market this week, I heard much worse in the Tokyo pubs.)

View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: subprime mortgages)

Financial crisis simplified (a whiteboard presentation)

Paddy_hirsch_on_cdos Collateralized debt obligations (CDOs) are investment instruments that are partially to blame for the mortgage crisis. What, you say you don't know what CDOs are or why they matter? Don't worry, almost no one does (maybe that's part of the problem). But not to worry, Marketplace Senior Editor Paddy Hirsch goes analog to simplify and visualize the problem at the whiteboard in a 6-minute presentation he calls Financial Crisis 101: CDOs explained. I should have paid more attention in my finance class a million years ago; I had to watch this presentation twice, but you'll surely get it the first time. Nothing simplifies and illuminates like a good teacher at the whiteboard (and you don't even have to be an artist). I love whiteboards. Checkout the presentation below. For more information and more simplification of what CDOs are, listen to the Marketplace Radio broadcast and see the transcripts here. Enjoy.

Here's the money quote at the end after a good (albeit very simple) explanation at the whiteboard: "The fact is, we're in a mess of our own making." Indeed.

H/T Adam R.