Squarespace: My Favorite

It has never been so easy to create beautiful websites as it is today with the tools that are available to us.  One of my favorite services is Squarespace.com.  It’s powerful, user friendly, and the company is outstanding.  During the recent Hurricane Sandy, they showed their dedication and commitment to go above and beyond for their customers. Truly impressive – check them out.


Looking for Augmented Reality’s Purpose in Life

I’ve been thinking about Augmented Reality for a while now.  So far, my conclusion is this – it is very cool and not very useful.  I want to be wrong though.

I just watched the following cute video about Google Glass.  In theory it seems relevant, practical and cool.  In reality, I think that having information broadcast to my near field vision would make me distracted, annoyed and extremely eye-fatigued.

I’ve also seen others trying to use AR as an instructional manual, by overlaying an animation on top of the piece of equipment you are trying to setup.  Nice idea, but wouldn’t it be easier to set your phone or tablet down, and just play a video showing the instructional animations so that your hands are free for the actual setup?

I am still a fan of the technology – I just want to see the applications the REALLY make sense. I think there may be a huge potential within education… bringing non-digital textbooks to life.  On the entertainment side, I can see AR being used in a hybrid of video/real world games.  I’m sure there is more…

Rethinking Tradeshows

I’ve been thinking that many industry tradeshows need to be turned on their heads. At one time, they were necessary to showcase new products and meet new business partners.  But today, the majority of those activities are done everyday, online.  Shows have also been leveraged as branding and PR tools – but to me, if your not really showcasing anything new, that’s a waste of money.

The exciting events – the ones that attract real talent and innovation – are either providing super compelling experiences for their attendees (SXSW), or they are engaging on a whole other level (Comic-Con). This takes creative thinking from the show management to create real and memorable experiences for exhibitors, attendees and press.

What about reviving the dusty old tradeshows with themes? Manufacturing & design shows could host a show-wide competition to develop tools to improve lives in developing countries.  Show management could partner with companies like X Prize.  Imagine the exposure for both the show and the participating companies if you did this right…

Or, how about ditching the old outdated shows all together and using your budget on sponsorships for the interesting events like the Maker Faire.

Just some thoughts and rants for the day.  What do you think?

Painting the Picture of What Could Be

Here’s another TED talk worth watching for anyone interested in pitching an idea. In this one, Nancy Duarte identifies a repeatable presentation structure that has been used in countless persuasive speeches throughout the years.

Here are the basic parts of the structure she outlines:

  1. Paint the picture of “what is” to your audience; what’s the status quo?
  2. Then, illustrate “what could be”.
  3. Move back and forth, giving examples of both scenarios, helping to draw your audience toward your idea.
  4. Finish with the positive. Leave the audience thinking about how the world would be different if this idea was embraced.

This structure might not seem groundbreaking, but it is a great reminder/refresher of how we need to keep our audience engaged through the art of storytelling.

The Human Need for Connection and Ritual

I recently watched Alain de Botton’s Atheism 2.0 TED talk.  Though I personally don’t agree with his beliefs, I watched this through the lens of business applications.  He talks about his idea of Atheism that incorporates religious forms and traditions to satisfy our human need for connection, ritual and transcendence.

He identifies some compelling characteristics of organized religion that speak to some of our basic human needs.  As an organization, entrepreneur, advocate, teacher or parent, I think you can use some of these tools to teach, ignite passion and connect with your audience, whoever it may be.

  • Sermons – craft your messages/talks with the purpose of changing lives
  • Repetition – use repetition as a tool to reinforce your message
  • Calendar –  setup specific times of the year where you promote an idea
  • Speak Well – give attention to the quality of the delivery of your message
  • Physical Actions – accompany your ideas with a physical action
  • Art to Supports Ideas – use art and design to evoke emotion and communicate your ideas