Presentation Tips

I gave a presentation about the basics of Web 2.0. I discovered several important things, and experienced important learnings. Thank God I made some good mistakes!

1. Forget about the time, and look at the faces: Give your breaks when you feel the audience needs it. Never mind about what time you planned to give the time out. When they are listening intently and following you, it's meaningless to stop this. After all, you have spent some good time on building and maintaining their attention. Don't waste it. It's like the ace in your hand. Use it wisely.

2. Magnify the relevant comments only : Most of the time you will have some people commenting on what you are saying. Some of it will be relevant and useful, and some will just be people saying whatever comes to their mind. Your response to these comments magnifies their importance to the audience. The audience is yours, and they will pay attention to whatever you tell them. Don't try to please everyone by attending to whatever they are saying. Make sure you reward the good comments.

3. Talk to faces, not the "audience": Try to make good use of eye contact. This means that you should connect with as many people as you can by looking in their eyes several seconds and making sure you "attract" them and keep them with you. You need to have this backed up by a logical flow of arguments. The people in the front rows can be powerful anchors for getting others to pay attention too. You can easily look in their eyes.

4. Relax!: Don't try. Just talk to the audience. Having a loud and clear voice is essential to keeping them with you. But when you talk in a relaxed manner, you convey your confidence and you send out the message that they should listen to you.

Here is the Web 2.0 presentation.

What to Do With the Increasingly Complicated World?

Be like the Internet!
The Internet is definitely one of the main forces, adding to the complexity and uncertainty in our lives. Although it is giving us unprecedented opportunity and threats, what it equally provides to everyone is an increase in the size and number of interactions that we make (with humans and machines).
I can't understand why many people say that with the advent of the new technologies, the world is becoming smaller. I think the world has become huge, and unintelligibly larger, because of technology. We send and receive hundreds of messages every day, to tens of people, and in several different formats. Each person is the center of their own world, or universe if you will. My world at least is definitely not smaller.
So how do we deal with all this, and what does it require from us as people to do? What kind of attitude do we need to have to thrive, or at least survive, in such circumstances?
The name of this presentation is a part of the answer: Be Like the Internet. The first thing that came to mind when I read this, was that we should be widespread, flexible, scalable, shapeless, and vague.
This presentation is much better in explaining this, especially with creative and descriptive photos that clearly tell you how to "be" like the Internet.

How to Deal With Rejection

Question it!
That was the most important lesson I learned from the seminar I attended today, by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, the founder of The Art of Living. He gave a one-hour talk about several issues, and gave some tips for life. The idea that really struck me was the following:

We only question the things that are given to us in the positive. We never question the negative stuff.

When someone says, "You were great!" or, "I really admire you!", we usually reply, "Really??". But when someone says, "You are really bad at handling things" we immediately believe, and feel the need to defend ourselves and try to prove something.
The next time I am confronted with a negative idea (by anyone or by myself), I'll face it with the not-so-obvious question, "Are you sure? Do you really think so?". I'll keep questioning until they (or I) really start to rethink that idea. And whenever I get a great positive idea, I'm not going to question it, just for a change.
An important thing that this does, is that it immediately interrupts the attacking person's assault. You give them a totally unexpected response, and you really make them wonder and think about the validity of what they are claiming. A very good sales technique!

Slashing the Crap From Your Life by Adding More Slashes

This is a seriously inspiring video by two authors who have met because their books wereOne Person/Multiple Careers: A New Model for Work/Life Success extremely similar. This is also a part of the Authors@Google series.
Marci Alboher, author of One Person/Multiple Careers: A New Model for Work/Life Success and Tim Ferris, author of The 4-Hour work Week: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich talk about how to live and balance your life and career(s) and share really cool stories about people who are doing this. They also Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich share how they themselves are doing this in their lives.
They validly questioned (threw away, and replaced) some of my basic assumptions about what can and what cannot be done. What should and what should not be approached as possible.
This is very important for me, because I'm always interested in two million things at one time, and this especially resonates with my idea of "The Long Tail Person".
A very important distinction was drawn by Tim, which I knew before but this time it sunk in more; the distinction between being busy and being productive. If you confine your thinking to your working hours, you will inevitably find ways of filling that time, and be "busy". If, on the other hand you really focus on what it is you are trying to achieve and do that, you might really be creating more time and space for the things that you want to do.
One of Tim's main ideas was to think about what you really want to do, and design everything around that.
"Well, what if you don't know what you want?" asked one of the people. Marci was actually "waiting" for that question, and they both shared some tips:

1. Go back to your childhood, which is the time you did things without being paid for doing them. "Interview your parents". This is a really nice and easy way of doing this. You immediately discover the things you would love to do when there is nothing you have to do.

2. Experimenting: taking classes that just seem to be interesting to you. This is actually how Marci changed her career from law to writing. She took a course on writing and found out that this something she would really love to do. Tim also points out some insights from his own experimentation. One of the most important is that the experiment is not the same as doing the work. Surfing two hours on Sunday is a lot different from surfing forty hours every week. Keep this in mind during the experiments. Is this something I would like to do throughout the week?

3. Pursuing happiness: Tim gives a very nice way of getting rid of the pursuit of happiness, because it's just a mental abstraction that might simply not mean anything. Instead, you should pursue excitement. Things that keep you awake at night, and make you really wonder how this might be possible. Another awakening realization for me (by Tim) was that you don't really need that much money to do the things that you want to do. He shared a cool anecdote about one of his friends, who wanted to work in a field he hated, just because if he worked hard enough for some years, he'd be making 3 - 5 million dollars a year. Tim's question,"what are you going to do with all that money?". His friend didn't have an immediate answer, he made up a goal about "having a long trip to Thailand". I could have been that friend. Actually I felt it was me talking. Time for action!

Scratch and Win Online

The idea seemed really absurd when I first heard about it. But actually it really works, and fun to do. Everyone who sees it gets addicted to scratching and looking for whatever might appear on the "card".
Scratch Yourself have created a really cool tool that allows you to create your own card, with your own picture. People who scratch can actually win! Not only that, they are giving the prize to both, the person who scratched, and the person who sent them. By attending to the benefit of the sender also, this ensures that a large number of people will send this to their friends, and makes a viral effect.

Go scratch my card, maybe we can both win!

What 2.0??

- One: Hi how are you?
- Two: great how are you?
- One: did you hear about the new web software?
- Two: which one?
- One: it’s called Web 2.0 …
- Two: :) of course I heard about it
- One: where do you get it from? How do you download it?
- Two: (laughing) well actually it’s not a computer software, it's a social software.
- One: what do you mean by social software?
- Two: it means that it depends on you to learn, it’s not about installing some code on your machine.
- One: I’m confused!
- Two: Web 2.0 is a set of social, economic, and technology trends, and it’s about the new ways we are using the Internet.*
- One: ok...
- Two: as users, it’s almost the same for us; we read, write, and upload and download files on the Internet.
- One: so what is really new?
- Two: The new social and commercial tools available for us; blogs, comments, photo sharing, video sharing, recommendations, social networking etc.
- One: oh, ok. I heard about these and I actually participate in some of them.
- Two: Web 2.0 is about user participation, openness, and network effects.
- One: can you please explain more?
- Two: in web 1.0 we used to read and write emails and passively read the news or browse for whatever information we wanted. Now…. We write blogs, people read them for information. We are publishers and journalists. Regular people can do advertising and public relations through their blogs and impact the public opinion regarding any topic. Companies can no longer rely on the mainstream media for all their communications. You and I shape the perception about these companies.
Here is a video that explains this in a cool way.

Here is another video where the pros talk about Web2.0.

It’s just like the development in word processors for example. In the beginning, you had to be really good in computers to produce a good document with good design. Now, because the technology is advanced, you need to be a good writer and have good taste to produce good content.
The same applies to the web. We have reached a stage where publishing tools are easy to use, and cost almost nothing. The good stuff comes from good thinking, writing, marketing, design, and all the human qualities. It’s not only for the geeks.

* Definitions inspired by O'Reilly's Web2.0 Report


Apple's Discount Byte

apple discount ad

Perfect simplicity and clarity! Everybody knows Apple's logo, with one bite taken from it.
This ad very cleverly shows "another" bite, showing the discount.
This is an example where the communication is very comfortable for the reader to get. It is as simple as possible, "but not simpler" as Einstein says.
More important than merely being cute, the ad is descriptive, and sticky. You already have the logo embedded in your mind, and this is a temporary alteration to it. This is the essence of the message; that there are temporary price cuts.
No clutter whatsoever, and the mutated logo raises the readers' curiosity to understand what's going on.

via: Ads of the World

Wikinomics Explained

As part of Google's series "Authors@Google", the CEO Eric Schmidt has recorded an interview with Don Tapscott the coauthor of "Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything". They discuss the main points in the book and talk about the massive changes we are living with, because of technologies that allow a huge number of unrelated people to collaborate in interesting and highly useful ways to produce real economic value.
A great example discussed is about a Goldcorp, company that specialized in gold mining. In this industry, the main asset a company owns, is the data they collected regarding gold and its locations. This company committed the unimaginable "sin" of disclosing all its data to the public, by posting it on their website, and asking people for help in finding gold. They would give a prize of $500,000 for the top 3 submissions.
To everybody's surprise, the company got several unrelated responses from unexpected fields. Chemists sharing chemical tests that help in finding gold, mathematicians and computer scientists contributing with algorithms that make things easier.
The company that was about to close down grew in value from $90M to $10B!
Another striking example is about the most difficult thing to manufacture: airplanes. Boeing took the concept to the extreme and manufactured a plane by creating an atmosphere of mass collaboration to create their new great product.

There is more about the book by Dan in his interview with

Can't wait to get a copy of the book!

Google Buys Doubleclick

Another whopping announcement by the (search?/advertising?) giant. They are firing toward more and more enriching partnerships and innovations in newer fields of advertising.
They are now beta-testing their radio advertising, which is supposed to be powered by better reporting capabilities for advertisers. At the same time, they are also testing their cost-per-action advertising model.
Now, they are partnering with Doubleclick, which has on of the most extensive databases of online advertisers, and very powerful targeting and reporting tools and metrics. They were even pressured after partnering with Abacus Direct for fears of abusing their combined data.
The main theme in Google's announcement, was the integration of search and display advertising. Doubleclick seems to be the master of banners and the more visual ads, and as we know Google mastered what they pioneered, which is mainly search, and eventually contextual advertising.
This move is supposed to prove useful for advertisers who will have access to better performance measures, and improved tools to manage their campaigns. Publishers will probably have more variety and relevance in the advertising options available for them.
A fast webcast was made today where the top executives of both companies summarized their decisions, and answered some questions.
Although the deal was signed, the total integration and finalization is supposed to take place by the end of this year. Partly, due to some regulatory reasons, and making sure they comply with all antitrust laws and regulations, which is not yet final by the way.
Google was not the only bidder for this company, and some other giants were also bidding, actually the giants, according to Slashdot. Yahoo! and Microsoft were the main players, but Google seems to be the coming undisputed giant of all forms of advertising, since these two lag way behind Google in their search and advertising programs.
Asked why this was the timing for the deal, and not before, Eric Schmidt CEO of Google said that they simply underestimated the size of the display ad business, and realized the great opportunities it promised.
By the way, this is the highest amount that Google paid for a company, and they paid in cold hard cash, $3.1 Billion!

The Long Tail Person

The Long Tail has become one of my favorite subjects in its different fields of applications. Maybe because I was never seriously fond of the popular things. I wasn't interested a lot in mainstream events and hobbies. I had my own set of special interests that very few people acknowledged as valid; calligraphy, ballroom dancing, languages, and culture to mention a few.
The Long Tail theory is based on the premise of a huge number of niches amounting to a significant number of results. The total of which is more than the few hits that used to make the big bucks. This is made easier by the Internet, although some applications took place long before the online world existed.
What if we took this argument to the personal level, to people who are passionate about many things, but are not world-class experts on any.
Would the combined effect of these passions make an important and meaningful total?
"A Jack of all trades is a master of none", they say.
I say, "a Jack of all trades is a master of some".
How can anyone master anything if they are not very good at the components of that "thing"? How can you be the best producer of soap in town, without being a very good salesman, and without being an excellent manager of your team? You can't!
If you want to be a master of your trade, you need to be a Jack of all the sub-trades within your niche. Many of these will be unrelated to your core competency. What does an excellent soap formula generation have to do with managing a sales team?
Nothing actually, but it is something you have to have.
So, if you are a Jack of all trades, group some of those trades in a meaningful way, and find that trade where nobody will even be able to compete with you, because as the best lesson I learned in strategy says, "to provide a value mix that cannot be imitated, and cannot be bought with money".
If your differentiation strategy depends on a technology or assets that can be bought, you are not securing a strong position.
But... If you speak Russian, French, and English, work at a division of a French manufacturer of air conditions in Moscow, have a BSc in engineering, and an MBA, how many people can really compete with you on your position as head of the division?
These are the different skills that you are good at. You could be acceptably good in all these areas, but if you are dedicated enough, you can be the best division manager in the world (for that division).