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March 2009

Back from Silicon Valley & Presentation//Reboot

Preboot Last week I was in sunny Silicon Valley, USA for three days of seminars in the first ever Presentation//Reboot. The seminars were sold out and were limited to an intimate size of about 32 per day. Although I had my usual combination of jet lag and sleep deprivation from the long trip from Japan, the wonderful participants we had each day really gave me all the energy I needed. Every new day brought a fantastic new group of eager adult learners who were committed to improving themselves and those around them. We had participants from all over the US and several from overseas. I was blown away by the backgrounds and the diversity of the people attending Reboot. It was an honor to work with such a great group of people each day. And of course working with Nancy and the Duarte staff is always amazing. Nancy and I have different styles, yet we work perfectly together. I guess we have good "wa" (harmony). (See the post that Nancy wrote about Reboot on the Slide:ology website.)

Nancy Duarte receives Women of Influence Award
Nancy_award On Wednesday after Reboot, Nancy & Mark Duarte headed up to San Francisco to the fabulous Fairmont Hotel for the Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal’s 2009 Women of Influence Awards. The event honored 100 of Silicon Valley's most impressive women. It's no surprise to us, of course, we already knew that Nancy is one of the most impressive women you'll ever meet. Nancy and her team have truly created something special in Duarte Design. They do serious and important work, but they have fun too and have never forgotten the importance of play. Nancy certainly has made an amazing contribution over the years through her work and time (and her book). She deserves any recognition she gets (and she is getting more all the time). Nancy's a fantastic leader.

PZ book honored for design
Design_award Speaking of awards, on Thursday Karyn Johnson form Peach Pit Press (my publisher) drove across the bay from Berkeley to give me an award that the Presentation Zen book won recently. The PZ book was awarded the Certificate of Excellence for design at the 38th Annual Bookbuilders West Awards held in Oakland in January. Here you can see some of the people who contributed to the visual aspect of the book (ironically the cover image is distorted on the webpage). It was the first book I ever designed (used InDesign and Photoshop & Illustrator mostly) and I could not have done it without the great production staff at Peach Pit Press and the wonderful contributions of friends. I'll be designing my next book with Peach Pit too which will be out before Christmas this year.

Do you need training? (Who doesn't?)
If you would like to attend a workshop at Duarte Design, remember that they have killer Slide:ology workshops throughout the year featuring Nancy and her fantastic staff (these are the guys that do Al Gore's visuals and a lot of the presentations at TED, etc.). Checkout their training schedule.

Some pics I snapped on my iPhone at Reboot.
Some pics Nancy snapped here (and here and here).
#preboot (some, including me, were twittering from Reboot).

Text and narration on screen (with a twist)

This short (under two minutes) presentation uses only narration and text to make its point. I'll make no comment on the twist so as not to give it away. Watch it below or on YouTube.

The presentation above has made an impression on many people (I sure keep hearing about it). The original concept, as far as I know, came from a 2006 Argentinean political ad (see the ad here). The "Lost Generation" presentation placed second in the AARP U@50 video contest (odd: it's better than the winning video in my opinion).

The video is well done and makes for a nice stand-alone presentation. It could be better: For example, the text needs to be a bit bigger — never make people strain to see the text on screen. Also, sans-serif typefaces are usually preferable in this kind of situation as they are often more robust. The serifs in a seriffed typeface tend to lose their integrity and get rather pixilated at smaller sizes on screens and in compressed videos like this. Still, this was a creative way to deliver an important message.

H/T Tim Edwards-Hart

If you only had one minute to pitch your story

Bestjob You have surely heard about "the best job in the world" contest by now created by Australia's Tourism Queensland (if not, here's a BoingBoing post). In order to get an interview for this dream gig, participants do not send in a resume and an essay (boring), but instead submit 60-second video presentations explaining who they are why they should be selected. You can checkout some of the top candidates still in the running on The Best Job in The World website. Currently there are 50 on the short list. TQ will choose 10 to interview plus one more wild card pick based on viewer's votes. Some of these are quite good. Remember: the goal is not to land a job in the one-minute video presentation, the objective is to state your case (or make your pitch) and make a connection in such a way that you can land one of the interviews. The interviews are where you really make or break the deal. In a way, then, this is similar to a resume in "the real world." No one's going to hire you based only on your resume (or your video, or your blog, or presentations, your book, etc.) alone. But the effective presentation of who you are, regardless of medium, is the first step to opening the doors of opportunity. So, if you were asked to make a one-minute video presentation for your dream job (or business idea, etc.), how would you do it? Checkout the Best Job website to view the videos. Below are some of my favorites (though I have not seen them all, so feel free to point out the ones you like best).

Clare from Taiwan

Mitchell from Canada

Anny from Canada

Mieko from Japan

Ben from UK

Magali from The Netherlands

The samples above are not necessarily the most popular or technically superior pitches, but somehow after watching them I'm curious to hear more. Anny clearly has a future in broadcasting and Mitchell has a future on stage. There are others which are excellent on the site; which are your favorites? 

TED talk: Twitter & the power of the unexpected

Evan You never know how users will end up using your technology. Sometimes they end up using your product in creative ways that you could not possibly have thought of on your own. This is why many entrepreneurs learned to embrace the idea of "letting a thousand flowers bloom," an idea that people like Guy Kawasaki have been preaching seemingly forever. "When people use your product in an entirely new way, embrace the change," Kawasaki often says. This is an important tenet of evangelism. In this short presentation below, Twitter co-founder Evan Williams talks about a similar idea: growth coming from unexpected uses invented by users themselves. The presentation itself is simple and short (you can see some snaps I took below), but mainly I thought the topic itself was interesting and timely. I don't know if there is really a "right way" to Twitter (see this David Pogue article), but it's certainly a segment of social media that is misunderstood in spite of its simplicity. My favorite part of Twitter? Being limited to only 140 characters. Watch the talk below or here on TED.

One's person's view from the audience.
Below are a few snaps I took from the audience (I could have uploaded one of these to my Posterous page live which would have appeared as a Tweet as well in only a couple of seconds, but I didn't).*

My favorite bit is after the presentation when Chris Anderson takes to the stage and points to a live shot of Twitter and examples of tweets of this actual talk. I love Chris' tongue-in-cheek tweet the best (last one on the page).

• Chris Anderson's Twitter page

• Presentation Zen Twitter page

• TED Talks Twitter page
• How to talk while people are Twittering (TED Blog)

* (Note: I would have twittered and uploaded photos from my iPhone in Long Beach, but the price is far too great for my fellow Japanese iPhone users and me when we visit the States (and I imagine vice versa). I'm still recovering from the shock of a $2200 iPhone bill for two weeks of use in the US at Christmas (only $50 of it was for phone use). This was about 45x my normal monthly bill in Japan racked up in two weeks: live and learn.)