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The one secret to successful presentations that everybody knows and… forgets

Every time I am walking or cycling I think that cars go too fast and are terribly dangerous.

Every time I am driving a car I think that pedestrians and bicycles are too slow and get in my way.

Same person: two conflicting world views that are simply based on context. If I walk I see the cars in a certain way, and from the vantage point of the steering wheel I stop identifying as a pedestrian and see the world in a completely different manner.

the-one-secret

This role reversal happens all the time in presentations. When we are in the audience we are fully capable of seeing the flaws in the presentation that we are following. As presenters instead it’s hard for us to identify the same flaws in our own presentation.

When you are presenting there is one simple question that can help you figure out exactly what your audience wants. Your audience is asking this question over and over again, without rest.

Unfortunately when you are tasked with creating a presentation you forget about this question, like I forget that I once was a pedestrian every time I get behind the wheel.

Other priorities kick in:
- you have to please your boss;
- you need to refine your storytelling;
- you need to adhere to the corporate template;
- you need to pitch your business or yourself.

You know all about this question, because you have asked the same question every time you have been an audience member.

What’s in it for me?

KEEP CALM AND WHAT'S IN IT FOR ME_ - KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON Image Generator - brought to you by the Ministry of Information

We all know it: but what does it really mean.

This question, first of all, is asked by every single member of your audience, not by the audience as a group. So everyone will have an individual answer to the question, everyone will look for their own “what’s in it for me” inside your presentation.

“What’s in it for me” means: why should I pay attention? Why should I change my focus from the comfort of my own internal thoughts and worries to follow you? Why should I drop my smartphone, close my laptop and stow my tablet and start listening?

It also means: what part of this presentation speaks directly to me? What do I identify with? Am I the protagonist of any of the situations highlighted in this presentation? Am I involved, impacted or at least influenced by what is being presented?
Or it this presentation about other – different – people?

It means: how do I benefit? Do I get money, fame, beauty, happiness from this presentation? Where is my personal advantage? At what point of this presentation do I advance my career, increase my brain power and become more likable?

Fact is, the answer to all those questions is different person by person and – I’m so sorry – you will not be able to please everyone with your presentation.

To maximize your chances of providing meaningful content to the largest part of your audience you can apply those strategies:

- Help your audience identify early why they should pay attention: who are you? Why are you speaking? How long are you going to speak? How is your talk structured?

- Engage them with a good story arc: structure your presentation by easing your audience into a topic and providing a clear high point towards the end.

- Fill your presentation of actionable “benefits” for your audience: give away the most valuable information you have to them.

Correctly answering “What’s in it for me” drives most of the marketing, advertising and sales that happen on the planet.

Marketers spend millions to put “you” inside all sort of stories in their advertising.

Often advertisers preach to the wrong choir: they show a toy advert to singles with no kids or a male hygiene product to females. It has happened to you in the past. Do you remember what happened? There was no “you” in the message, it wasn’t “for you” and you disconnected. This happens to your audience members when you don’t address “What’s in it for me” correctly.

Advertisers have a way to compensate for that disconnect: they spend, spend and spend to get more exposure and finally reach their target.

Have you got the same budget they have? Probably not: this is why you need to make sure that each presentation is as effective as possible and always addresses this hugely important question.

There is so much going on with Presentation Hero that my head spins. Have you seen the cards? They are becoming short shareable presentations on Slideshare and also fun 1 minute videos on YouTube.

This is my favorite one so far:
Presentation Hero 1 minute video tips – USE BIG FONTS!!!

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6 unexpected presentation tips you can learn from the 2014 Fifa World Cup

We have had our eyes collectively glued to screens large and small following the World Cup this summer.

I was watching too, but since I really don’t enjoy soccer, I was seeing something else. Now that the the dust has settled and the winner are home with their prize, I can reveal to you what the World Cup can teach us about… making better presentations.

Let’s start from how the victory was recorded by the press, TV and websites for history to come.

Unfortunately this is all a lie. I saw another World Cup, and so did you.

Let’s analyse these pictures: in those images you can see human beings, single them out, distinguish between them. You can see how much effort they are putting in their action. You often see their faces and through those faces peek into their deep emotions.

These images are powerful in the sense that – even if you don’t care about Germany or about soccer – you can see and feel either the athletic prowess or even just the human emotion. These images are universally relatable.

Unfortunately for most of the time our TV screens have been filled with a different picture. Let’s analyse it for a second.

7OUEo6I

It’s a wide shot of the field taken from a high vantage point divided into three sections.

The lower half is the playing field, the middle is the strip of displays where the sponsor messages rotate. The upper part of the image is usually composed of stadium seating or facilities.

The ball moves and the shot tracks it, but the image is wide enough for us to see the strategy behind the game: who is where, who can pass to whom, is it offside, etc.

On top of this layer we see a TV channel logo (an ident in TV lingo) somewhere on a corner, on the top left a second identifier telling us the teams, the score and the time. The lower third of the screen is occasionally used to display longer text information and match stats.

I have been staring at this screen for many matches without seeing human beings, rather match stick men, looking at horrible 3d graphics on top of the screen, seeing no emotion, no sense of athletic performance and boring my eyes out of their orbits.

Why does the live edition of the world cup suck so much when it’s compared with the memorialised version we have just seen above?

One might think that the problem lies with the fact that it’s actually happening live. That could be the issue: it’s hard to predict where the ball will go, so better keep a wide emotionless, athletically neutral shot.

But wait, we haven’t asked an important questions: who is the live production done for? Whose orders are they following? The answer in both cases is: FIFA.

FIFA is sponsored by brands so the broadcast is geared towards giving these sponsors as much screen time as possible. This is – quite simply – the reason why during the live broadcast you will rarely see an image like the ones we see in the media the day after the event is over.

Not because it’s unfeasible during the live match. But because it does not provide enough screen time to the sponsors.

As usual we, the public, are not the customers: we are being sold something. And in the process of selling to us, the sponsors make our experience worse than it could be.

But wait, this is starting to sound like a pointless rant agains the World Cup.

Instead the interesting part is what we can learn from all these errors and apply to our next presentation!

1. Dump your company logo!

The identification of the channel that sits on top of the image on the TV screens has a history. And probably it’s still justified by a simple fact: our remote controls have horrible interfaces.

But you are using a state of the art presentation medium so you don’t need to have any identifier constantly on screen.

I am talking about your company logo. Drop it from the template, delete it from your slides.

You can feature it only when it has a specific meaning.

If you display it in the first/last slide of your presentation then it stands for “I belong to ACME CORP” or “The following message is brought to you by ACME CORP”.

Otherwise you could let your audience find your company logo in the middle of your presentation. In this other case it says “This happened at ACME CORP”.

Just don’t display it on all the slides.

2. Don’t focus on your pitch, focus on your content!

Your audience doesn’t want to hear your pitch, as much as I don’t care about seeing the logos of VISA, McDonalds and Yingli Solar (WTF) on the side of the pitch.

Your audience feels the same way about your pitch, so make sure that the content is front and center at all times. Once you have shown enough content and enough emotion – as exemplified during the World Cup by the crazy faces of Thomas Müller – then you can let a bit of your sales content seep through, but just a trickle.

3. USE BIG FONTS!

USE BIG FONTS

I have always seen the Word Cup on the biggest screens and it has always been impossible to read the little timing clock or read the match stats.

Don’t make the same mistake: always use big fonts and optimise for who is sitting in the back row.

More info in this super short video.

4. Plan your layout wisely

BsEBVyPIYAEiFaQphoto credit: Bill Robbins https://twitter.com/billrobbins

Germany’s content (the 7 goal scorers) simply exceeded the tiny space devoted to this kind of content by the standard layout. In the middle of the tv screen this tiny scroll bar appeared next to the scorers names creating an unwanted comedy effect. Design your layout for your content, but don’t forget the edge cases.

5. Choose the content that you show at the end wisely because it will shape the memory of your presentation

Even if on television we mostly spent time watching at the whole field, we will remember the image of the team holding the cup.
This is how memories are formed: our brain takes what we see, know and feel at the end of an experience and uses that to fix the memory.

This is why you should keep your best content for the end of your talk.

For the same reason you should help your audience connect the dots by summarising your presentation.

6. Deliver it live!

Don’t be like the FIFA production that keeps the best images for the day after. Don’t hold back. Deliver all your best content (complete with emotions) directly to your audience.

Give your best in the moment. If it’s being captured on video this will show. But don’t perform for the replay, perform for the live audience.

I’m glad that Germany won the world cup and I’m also happy that, at least before the next Euro Cup begins, I will not have to sit through another soccer match. I admire the athletic abilities, the strategy and the hard work that goes into the game on the field. These matches are – in my opinion – made of great content really badly presented.

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3 presentation tips you can learn from rude taxi drivers

Rome. Love it or leave it. I left it a few years ago, but I still love it deeply. Even with all its contradictions it can be a great place to be. As long as you don’t need to move around too much.

You see: walking, strolling with a gelato is the perfect thing to do in Rome. But recently I was there on business. And this means I was zipping back and forth on a taxi to various appointments.

cover-taxi-driver

If you had a first hand experience of Rome’s taxis you already know that the drivers here are far from polite. Here’s three tales from the eternal city that tell us that powerful principles can be learned also from rude taxi drivers.

1. Don’t provide metadata: first of all, in case you don’t know it, metadata is a set of data that describes other data, in other words, a description or extra information. During the trip, he underlined the driving style of every single other car driver of Rome. According to him, everyone misbehaved on the road, apart from him naturally, and you know who are the real a-holes? Everyone with a German car… Enough with this!

My goal was: getting from a to b. Did the metadata help reach the goal? Not a bit!

This happens a lot in presentations. Some people come on stage and start complaining about various things.  About a fault in their computer, a projector that doesn’t work quite right, a microphone that they don’t know how to use.

When a presenter behaves this way, they are no different from the bad mannered taxi driver. It’s plain unprofessional, so don’t do it!

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Photo by: Robert Lowe (some rights reserved)

2. Adapt the environment to your audience: taxi drivers have their own multimedia environment. Namely their car stereo. If you are in Rome that is set to some trashy talk radio that discusses soccer. There are two main teams, and – as you can imagine – two opposing radios.

This sound scape is imposing and – if anything – should be negotiated with the customer beforehand.

You can do the same with the language that you use and with your slides.  You could choose the wrong imagery, the wrong colors, set the wrong tone and communicate in the wrong way with your audience. Try to see your slides with their eyes to avoid this pitfall.

3. Don’t take anything for granted: at the end of the ride the driver decided to give himself a tip. Let me explain. I asked for a receipt and the driver thought: “this person here is on expenses, this is not out of his pocket, let’s charge him some more.” So he proposes the new price. I push back. He goes: “Hey man, what price should I put?” I have to reply: “The price that says on the meter. Duh!”

You can do the same mistake during your presentation. Don’t make assumptions on behalf of others, don’t give your own response to all the questions. Don’t assume you have the insight or information: ask and then listen.

Remember the behavior of the roman taxi driver when you need to give the next presentation:

 

  • Don’t provide metadata,
  • Sync the environment/mood with your audience,
  • And don’t take stuff for granted.

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6 must know technical tricks that will make you look like a presentation pro

Do you feel confident when you are close to a computer?

I ask you this because I see that there is often a disconnect between the presenter and his tools. What do I mean? I often see presenters struggling to put their slides on screen, saying – as a disclaimer – that they are no “Powerpoint experts” and appearing clueless in front of their own slideshow.

6 must know TECHNICAL TRICKS that will make you look like a PRESENTATION PRO

If you are not confident with your computer or slideshow software you may think that it’s a good idea to separate yourself from it. In other words you may try to excuse or explain your lack of knowledge by distancing yourself from the technology.

I am sorry but that makes you look like a fool. Most of the knowledge you need to display a Powerpoint presentation can be easily memorised the first time you do a presentation. Learn these keyboard shortcuts and you will look like an advanced presenter.

Let’s begin with the first and most important keyboard shortcut: assuming you are on Windows pressing the F5 key while your document is open in Microsoft Powerpoint puts your slides fullscreen. Simple, fast and easy!

Alt+Cmd+P will do the same in Apple Keynote on a Mac.

Shift+Cmd+Enter will do the trick on Microsoft PowerPoint on Mac (but if you are on a Mac you should just not use Office and stick with iWork).

In all these programs there are some common keyboard tricks: either hitting the space bar or the right arrow will let you go to the next slide.

You just need to know another little shortcut: if you hit the B key your screen will go black. B is for black and W, you just guessed it, makes your screen go white. This is very useful if you want your audience to momentarily concentrate on you, an not on your presentation.

If you do more than one presentation every couple of months invest 50 bucks on a remote. I just got a new one from Logitech that also has a timer on it to keep track of the time discreetly: it just buzzes in your hand every five minutes to let you know that time is passing. Here’s the model I got.

This minimal technical knowledge and a simple technological wonder like a remote can easily increase your technological confidence and make you look like a real presentation pro.

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Avoid this awful presentation mistake and start saving the world from death by Powerpoint

I feel uncomfortable when I need to sit through a bad presentations. But there is one things that makes me really mad: hearing people complimenting a bad presenter after a presentation that sucks.

Did you ever have the same experience? It happens to me all the time. I see a really bad presentation and during the Q&A someone starts the interaction with the presenter by saying “Thanks for the great presentation”. This should be a criminal offense!

Avoid this awful presentation mistake and start saving the world from death by Powerpoint

I want to talk about two things. The danger of positive feedback and the difficulty of saying bad things.

Whenever you compliment a bad presentation you are making the world a more miserable place: because you are simply reinforcing bad habits, lack of skills and – more importantly – you are not stimulating the presenters to learn from their errors and do their homework next time.

Is refraining from complimenting enough to start saving the world from bad presentations?

Well – not thanking and complimenting bad presenters is a start. But probably you should do more than that.

I must confess that I feel really uncomfortable if I have to tell someone that their presentation would need a bit of a makeover.

One strategy that I sometimes adopt is to focus on a single suggestion. Sometime it can be enough just to say that there was one concept missing, one explanation that was needed, an idea that required more time and attention.

But usually when I have just witnessed a bad presentation I don’t always feel like giving free advice to a bad presenter. I don’t feel like empathizing with the speaker, rather I would like to get my time reimbursed.

In those cases I feel we need a polite, human and nice way of publicly saying: your presentation sucks.

This is one of the many ideas that are running through my mind while developing Presentation Hero.

What’s our status by the way? You can find the latest and greatest video below.

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Recap & full video of the 3rd Berlin Video Meetup on May 28th 2014

On Wednesday 28th of May under the spacious and friendly roof of Betahaus and with the best omens from our sponsor Vidibus we gathered again for a Berlin Video Meetup.

Here is the full video of the event:

I learned a ton during this meetup. We had two great speakers: Hannes Jakobsen from divimove brought to the independent video community the expertise and point of view of a MCN (Multi Channel Network), a business that sits on top of big distribution platforms like YouTube and makes life easier for video producers by optimizing the relationship with the audience and with the advertisers.

In his talk we discover what are the 10 main rules to follow to have a successful YouTube channel, the three main types of content that you can have on your channel and that YouTube is much much more than cat videos.

Anish Patel brought us into the boardroom during the negotiation between big companies that need video – but lack the expertise – and the video producers. He talked about his experience founding Revolution Productions. His talk is a gem for anyone who want to ace the producer-client relationship. In his talk he provides great tips for pitching, pricing and establishing a long term relationship with clients. Make sure to follow his blog at The Video Bloke.

Towards the end we had on stage four lightning talk speakers:
Richard from The 48 Hour Film Project, Florian from Vinubis, Jakob and, finally, Eric from Livestage.

Our next meetup is set for the 30th of July 2014. If you want to propose a talk or a video you are very welcome to use this form.

I look forward to connecting with you all very soon here, on meetup.com or live on the 30th of July.

How to benchmark your business: a guide for engineers and technical startup founders

I meet a lot of entrepreneurs who start writing code before they know if the idea they are working on has been already executed. They have read their lean startup books and want to rush into creating their Minimum Viable Product. They are missing a simple and important step: they haven’t benchmarked their competition.

HOW TO BENCHMARK YOUR BUSINESS A guide for engineers & technical

So if you have a great idea, before you start your lean customer development or touch any code devote the next 5 minutes to saving you months of time and let’s see how you can become a master at benchmarking without loosing your engineers hat.

What I want to teach is how to analyze and map the competition, how to position your idea in the scenario of its market and competition before you start working on any other aspect.

2

Extrapolate some keywords from your idea: think of the potential customers, the type of sector, the type of solution and jot down the keywords that come to mind.

Use these tools to find competitors or further keywords:

  • AngelList: here you will find a lot of startups that have recently been funded or are applying for funding.
  • CrunchBase: here you will find a huge repository of technology companies. The curators associate a number of keywords to each company. Look for those in the “Category” (or keywords) for each company. Look for those to extend your search if necessary.
  • Startup Genome: this project is an effort to map startups on a global scale. Contrary to AngelList and CruchBase they have a truly global scope and can help you also find hyperlocal startups
  • TechCrunch, Mashable and other tech blogs: search those blogs for your keywords. This can lead to a huge amount of results and you should do this mainly to understand if your idea is being discussed at the moment and how it is framed by the technology press.

3

You will start finding companies that are similar to the one you are founding. You may come from a place where you have the tendency to focus only on the technology they use. Don’t focus on that. Broaden your scope. Try to understand if they obtained funding (CrunchBase can be useful), who has funded them, how many unique users they have (look for this data on Compete or Alexa), look at their marketing materials (analyze their website, look for conference talks by them), try to understand if they are profitable and how much money they are making or losing.

If you found no company in your space, it means you are not doing your research right. There is a 1 in a trillion possibility that you have discovered a new, virgin, totally unexplored market. In this case you are a genius and should not waste time reading posts by an average person like me. In all other cases you are just doing your keywords all wrong.

Try to understand if the companies you have found have some distinctive traits and if you can distinguish one from another from those traits.  Do they approach the market in the same way? Are they focused on a certain type of customer? Are they evolving in a certain direction?

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Once you find these distinctive traits try to imagine your idea among those. Where would you find your startup in relation to those other companies? Close to which companies would you map it? You can start with just similarity and just map how close your idea is to other existing products and companies.

But if you have found already some distinctive traits try to map two of those traits on a Cartesian chart.

That Converts(2)Let’s say that your idea is a software. In your market you could have two axis where you compare the type of customer and the type of solution. Or where you evaluate size of business and type of targeting. You can be creative about those axis. But usually the most common positioning charts simply feature price and quality.

You should not be limited to X and Y charts, you can visualize your competition in many ways. For instance you layout your competitors using a “petal” slide.

At the end of your exercise you will end up with:

  • a list of who is already on the market.
  • an idea of the size of the market
  • an idea of your distinctive features (or lack thereof) compared to those already on the market
  • a lot of knowledge of how the companies in your market already approach their customers
  • a list of funds, angels and advisors of the companies already on the market
  • some ideas on how to find experts in your field and maybe also a hint of where to get your first employees from.

Your work is not finished. Now it’s time for really important questions:

  • Will you be able to compete? Will you be able to simply match what others are already offering in the market? Are you offering something new? Is that “new” part worth the cost of switching?
  • Are you bringing to the market simply some incremental innovation or are you disruptively changing the environment you will enter?
  • Would it be better to contribute to an existing project rather than work on the Herculean effort of creating your own company?

Once you are able to answer those questions you are most welcome to pick up your lean startup book and start the process of customer development. Or not!

Montessori Startup: what would a Montessori Workplace look like?

Last November I shared my interpretation of the 8 principles of Montessori education as seen through the eyes of a hacker. I have imagined how those would shape startups and workplaces in general.

Today I would like to focus a bit more on one single question: how would a Montessori workplace look like in real life?

What would a montessori workplace look like Montessori Startup

What do you need in an office are first and foremost productivity tools to get your job done. To get the right setup let me borrow a page from David Allen’s influential Getting Things Done book.

He puts together a neat checklist of necessary items in order to be able to handle any sort of workload: from paper clips to rubber bands every office, however paperless, needs this type of basic toolkit.

Further to a good supply of stationary and a great filing system I believe that no office can live without an efficient input/output system. This is constituted by:

  • a telephone with a great handsfree speakerphone functionality
  • a super fast internet
  • a reliable scanner & printer all in one
  • a set of letter briefs and stamps (yes stuff is still sent over mail)

You will probably need a computer in your office. It’s the multipurpose tool you will be using the most and you should have a good degree of confidence with it. I know that now the non-geeks will disagree. But one of the reasons why I am productive is that I am at peace (mostly) with the technology I use.

I guess that your life will be miserable If you consider the computer an alien beast and spend 90% of your work time using one.

Familiarize yourself with your computer’s operating system and learn how to fix the most common issues. Study the software you use in depth and use the least amount of programs you can. Each program has a learning curve and you don’t want too much of your productive hours on such a curve, do you?

Disable all types of visual or sound notifications. Disable all of them, but especially chat and email notifications can be a killer. If you are connected to the net why don’t you just always assume that you have new mail and chat notifications and you will attend to them at the next possible occasion?

By the way don’t cheat by disabling notifications on your computer only to focus on them on your phone. Your phone should be also notification free. Calls, text are the only admissible sounds, but not all the time. We’ll discuss this later.

Your computer can help you in being more productive. Try to to disconnect from the network if you want some super productive time. Or try to use full screen apps as much as possible: they are now supported not only on Mac but you can also find specific windows programs like WriteMonkey.

Lack of interruption is a great Montessori principle, but I think she would approve also of any tool that increases the possibility to concentrate for long stretches of time. Music can come to help and services like Focus at will are geared exactly towards creating the perfect musical background for prolonged productive stretches of time that will help you reach a state of “flow”.

How about colleagues? Can you really concentrate in an open space, while having to listen to colleagues interact. Should you be in contact with each other or be left alone?

How about group work? Is it as beneficial for adults as it is for children? I don’t feel I can be an authoritative source on these themes, but I have anecdotally observed a rise in productivity since moving from traditional office space to a home office where I fully control the environment.

Many of us can’t alter the physical space around us. This is why there is another dimension to play with: time. You can decide to have a quiet time on a certain day where silence is enforced in certain areas of the office. Or have a couple of hours each day where external stimuli are limited to a minimum. You can’t? I am sure you can leave your phone with a colleague that will let you know if anything really urgent comes up. These techniques have been thoroughly documented by Basecamp (the company formerly known as 37 Signals) on their blog and on the book ReWork.

Cognition and the body are strictly intertwined: this is why I find that standing desks are also very much Montessori. In the video below I share my setup.

Montessori kids are allowed to move around freely in their productive space. Why should we fix our desks in our offices? Valve – the successful game maker – has office desks on wheels that can be moved around in order for members of the same team or pod to work in physical closeness.

Should our meeting rooms have chairs? Maybe standing desks could lead to standing meetings. And standing meetings could lead us to leave the office to have walking meetings in our neighborhood.

Another great tool to increase productivity that is used in the Montessori classroom is the nap. A quiet time where the kids lay on a mat and enjoy some rest. This should be enforced as quickly as possible in all offices as it boosts your alertness and productivity noticeably.

You can use any of these ideas. The best value of those is that they help foster an internal culture of understanding by focusing on the individuals, while at the same time it creates the conditions to work better in groups. This type of culture is based on keeping in high regard each others time and space, it’s a culture of understanding and of respect. Thus it can only do good to your organization.

I believe that a Montessori workplace would be more caring for the individual, more productive for the company and also create the condition to attract the best talent.

So, should you become a Montessori Taliban and enforce all those rules? No, wait a minute. You could start from one or two of them. You could start with experimenting with stretches of 2 hours of uninterrupted time and with providing more computer training to those who need it.

But in case you want to go all the way and make your space fully Montessori get in touch and share your story in the comments.

Jodorowsky at SXSW: my open letter to Alejandro Jodorowsky + special bonus full video of his panel

This year at SXSW I had a remarkable experience: I witnessed a conversation with Alejandro Jodorowsky. If you don’t know him yet: he is one of the most influential cultural figures of our times and you should get to know him better. His speech has been a great inspiration for me, at least as great as Bruce Sterling’s closing remarks have been cautionary for me.

This post is in fact a segway from this previous one about how to Avoid the evil in technology.

I give you below a letter that I wrote to Alejandro with something important for him, but also for you. Oh, and in the middle of the letter you will find the full video of his talk. It’s unmissable stuff, seriously.

Alejandro Jodorowsky at SXSW

My open letter to Alejandro Jodorowsky

Dear Alejandro,

it’s great to be able to share the video of your appearance at SXSW.

I was so excited to see your name on the program and was so surprised to see that your event was hosted in a small room and it was restricted to the movie section of the festival. Fortunately my badge allowed me to get in.

Alejandro, you see SXSW is a great movie and music festival, but for me the most interesting part is called “interactive”. This is the section of the festival devoted to people that do stuff other than music and movies: people that create software, build companies, enable connections digital or otherwise.

During this part of the festival people (we call ourselves Geeks and Nerds) come together to share ideas, to exchange skills, to show each other digital experiences, apps, sites that can become lasting businesses or forgettable misses.

I heard your talk from many points of view. I have been lucky enough to experience psychomagic first hand, have read and practiced tarot following your blueprint and watched at least one of your movies.

But the best thing is that I am an entrepreneur. I consider an entrepreneur to be an artist that works with ideas and people. Its works of art are products and companies. And I feel that entrepreneurs like me can apply your teachings also in their everyday work.

Let me underline a few things that you said. You were talking about movies, about art and about psychomagic, but those concepts are universal and can be very well applied to us “interactive” people.

1. We need technology that heals, that allow us to remember ourselves.

I quote, a bit freely, some of your inspired words: “The value of art is to heal. We make art because our society is evil and we need to heal it. Can we really change the world? We can’t. We can only start to change the world. To be able to do that we need to be alive, by being alive we can give the world something that nourishes it. What I give the world is not something to escape yourself, but to remember yourself, to remember your values.”

Only just recently we experienced the mass adoption of great new technologies that we call “social”, “mobile”, “ubiquitous”, “virtual”. Those technologies tend to concentrate on our desire to escape, to forget ourself, to be someone else. My first Jodorowsky Interactive thought from SXSW Interactive on technology is to think about technology as the artist Jodorowsky thinks about art: as something that needs to remind us that we are here, that we are us, that the we have needs, that we need to remember who we are in order to do good in the world.

2. We don’t need technological labels

At some point you said “No tenemos etiquetas”, we don’t have labels. At another point you raved about not having flags, not defining us by where we come from.

It seems that our technology today wants us to increasingly deal with labels. Our social sites want to know where we are from, what we like and assigns all sorts of “etiquetas” to us. We need to go in a different direction.

My second Jodorowsky Interactive thought is that good technology does not create new labels, and even helps us get rid of previous flags, definitions and labels.

3. Technology is married to freedom of expression

You raved about the ability to digitally remaster your older pictures and even to shoot your new movie “The Dance of Reality” in “numerico”, digital format. With this new technology you could always exactly “get the color you wanted”.

We are living in a technological world were computers are everywhere, but each computer is limited to a specific task, a specific purpose. Computation is everywhere, but is locked down, simplified in such a way to strongly limits what we can do with it.

My third Jodorowsky Interactive thought is that we need to use only technology that stimulates our freedom of expression, that allows us to reach exactly the goals that we want.

4. We are what we do and if we can transform our ideas then failure does not exist

About being a director you said: “I am not a psychomagic person, I do these things.
The person who makes comics in one, the one who does psychomogic is another, the one that makes movies in another. Every aspect that I do, I put all my human being inside.”

And further you said: “If you can’t do a thing in one form, you can always do it in another, if I can’t make The son of El Topo as a picture, then I can do it in a comic. You can’t fail. This is good news!”

A lot of entrepreneurs strive to be just a single, completely focused creature that is trying to obtain one very complex goal. With your art you teach us that we need to be one, but not need to limit ourselves to one goal. My fourth Jodorowsky Interactive thought would be to do many different things, and to be ourselves in what we do, in the moment we do it.

These are my thoughts from your brilliant talk. I have published on YouTube for everyone to see. I hope you don’t mind that I have put the logo of my company in front of it. You see, your movie is called “La Danza de la Realidad” (The Dance of Reality), and my company is called “La Fabbrica della Realtà” (The Reality Factory).

Alejandro, thank you for sharing your thoughts with us. Come and visit the interactive community. We need more of you and maybe, after writing, directing pictures, writing books and comics you want to express yourself with a psychomagic app or a network where everybody is allowed to be exactly who they are.

I send you the most intense hug that can pass through digital bits.

Yours truly,
Matteo

Help me develop a new product to help save the world from bad presentations: discover Presentation Hero.

Video & recap of the 2nd Berlin Video Meetup on March 26th, 2014

I’m happy to report that the Berlin Video Meetup is now 2 events strong. On March 26th 2014 our 2nd get together was held at the Betahaus Cafe. My thanks go first to Vidibus and to my great co-host André Pankratz, without them this project would never have come to life.

We started off by showing Invasion from Moustache, a music video part of the Vimeo staff picks of the week. Later on we had some brilliant filmmakers volunteer to show their creations: Shane Sutton presented the animated short “Storm Coming” and Florian Sailer the short live action film “Comeback to go!”. Submissions are indeed open for new shorts, videos, show reels to be shown during the next meetup.

In the talks section we featured two different companies presenting together: Tim Kirchner from LUUV and Julian Engels from DreikantFilm shared their experience creating a video for LUUV’s crowdfunding campaign.

Our Lightning Talks section has been busy as always with the contributions of Alex presenting Trimmmr, Paul introducing a video project in support of 100% Tempelhofer Feld, Stephan showing us videos from his A2029 project and finally Darius asking help to create a video for his “bicycle thing” AKA Hang Load.

Here’s the video of this part of the event:

My gratitude goes to two awesome people: Jan and Katrin who have been instrumental to the success of this event by making sure that we have been live streaming on the Internet and in keeping the timing of the event in check. Thank you for that!

Apologies are due because this time we don’t have the full video recording of the event due to audio problems. We are looking for a fix and any audio volunteers for the next meetup are very welcome to chip in with their suggested setup. Get in touch!

I look forward to the next event towards the end of May. For this event we are looking for suggestions regarding new talks and videos to show. If you want to suggest a talk or a video to be shown please submit it here.

For all and any further info on the meetup please don’t be shy and register at meetup.com.