YouTube as Home Page

Remember those early Web 1.0 home pages with the navigation buttons and long “Welcome to our Website” paragraphs? Which eventually morphed into more dynamic content, maybe even a blog? How about just making YouTube your home page?

In a recent conference call I cautioned against being “a PowerPoint company in a YouTube world.” I’m guessing the kids at Boone Oakley don’t do a lot of PowerPoint presentations. [By way of Planet Nelson]

Me! Me! Let me give the presentation!

Powerpoint is better than a handful of Ambien for putting a room full of people into a light doze. But there are times when you just have to use some kind of presentation software. I have become a fan of Keynote, part of Apple’s iLife suite.

Keynote-iphone

Been playing with it some thing weekend and almost look forward to my next dog-and-pony show. There are just so many cool features in Keynote… but I’ll just mention one. An iPhone app that lets you control your slides from your phone. You can see one slide + speaker notes or two slides side-by-side. Current and next. You move back and forth by swiping the images on the phone. No need to keep swiveling around to the screen or peering over at your laptop.

One more reason to get a Mac.

Seth: “The growing productivity divide”

Knife150I stopped being surprised by what people didn’t know –and didn’t care to learn– about “the Internet” a couple of years ago. My analogy was online ignorance was like not knowing how to use the telephone. As always, Seth Godin makes the point more clearly and forcefully with a little quiz:

  • Can you capture something you see on your screen and paste it into Word or PowerPoint?
  • Do you have a blog?
  • Can you open a link you get in an email message?
  • Do you read more than five blogs a day?
  • Do you have a signature in your outbound email?
  • Do you have an RSS reader?
  • Can you generate a PDF document from a Word file you’re working on?
  • Do you know how to build and share a simple spreadsheet using Google Docs?
  • Do have a shortcut for sending mail to the six co-workers you usually write to?
  • Are you able to find what you’re looking for on Google most of the time?
  • Do you know how to download a file from the internet?
  • Do you back up your work?
  • Do you keep track of contacts using a digital tool?
  • Do you use anti-virus software?
  • Do you fall for internet hoaxes and forward stuff to friends and then regret it?
  • Have you ever bought something from a piece of spam?

“Can you imagine someone who works in a factory that processes metal not knowing how to use a blowtorch? How can you imagine yourself as a highly-paid knowledge worker and not know how to do these things… If you don’t, it’s not hard to find someone to teach you.”

I don’t use an email signature but frequently sign smays.com which is almost the same thing. And, for now, no need for anti-virus software on the Mac.

Anyone reading this almost certainly knows how to perform these simple tasks. If you don’t, find someone to show you. Quickly.

PS: If you were only going to read 3 or 4 blogs… Seth Godin should be one of them.

Seth’s Nine Steps to Powerpoint Magic

A must-read/file/review on presentation voodoo by the master. It’s all good but these ideas jumped on my face like the Alien monster:

  • Don’t use Powerpoint at all. Most of the time, it’s not necessary. It’s underkill. Powerpoint distracts you from what you really need to do… look people in the eye, tell a story, tell the truth. Do it in your own words, without artifice and with clarity. There are times Powerpoint is helpful, but choose them carefully.
  • Check to make sure you brought your big idea with you. It’s not worth doing a presentation for a small idea, or for a budget, or to give a quarterly update. That’s what memos are for. Presentations involve putting on a show, standing up and performing. So, what’s your big idea? Is it big enough? Really?
  • The minute you put bullets on the screen, you are announcing, “write this down, but don’t really pay attention now.”) People don’t take notes when they go to the opera.
  • Ten minutes of breathtaking big ideas with big pictures and big type and few words and scary thoughts and startling insights. And then, and then, spend the rest of your time just talking to me. Interacting. Answering questions. Leading a discussion.

Life is too short to waste a precious minute watching a lame-ass ppt presentation by the the clueless and lazy. If it looks like I’m not paying attention, I’m not.

“…words belong in memos. Powerpoint is for ideas.”

“Interact or stay home”

Seth Godin writes of a new standard for meetings and conferences:

"Here’s what someone expects if they come to see you on an in-person sales call: that you’ll be prepared, focused, enthusiastic and willing to engage honestly about the next steps. If you can’t do that, don’t have the meeting.

If you’re a knowledge worker, your boss shouldn’t make you come to the (expensive) office every day unless there’s something there that makes it worth your trip. She needs to provide you with resources or interactions or energy you can’t find at home or at Starbucks. And if she does invite you in, don’t bother showing up if you’re just going to sit quietly."

There’s little doubt I could do what I do from home (or the Coffee Zone) but gosh, I’d miss interacting with co-workers. I could get some of that over the net but I do like breathing the same air.

Having said that, I can do without the travel and hassle just to watch a Powerpoint show. On Saturday, I showed one of our top execs just how easy it is to stream live via Ustream. I could almost reach out and touch the little lightbulb that appeared above his head.

Apple Numbers: Making spreadsheets fun

Numbers
Apple recently released upgrades to their iLife suite (iMovie, iTunes, Garage Band, etc). They also released a new version of iWork (the Apple answer to MS Office). I don’t use iWork apps much but I like Keynote (think PowerPoint but fun and easy).

The new release of iWork includes –for the first time– a spreadsheet program called Numbers. I rarely use a spreadsheet and know almost nothing about Excel. But after watching a demo of Numbers (I subscribe to Don McAllister’s ScreenCastsOnline), I’m eager to take it for a spin.

I’ve read that Numbers wouldn’t meet the needs of heavy-duty business users and is more geared for the individual (me!). Looks like it has been optimized for presentations.

I only mention this because it illustrates –again– how Mac can make something as dry as spreadsheets… fun. And easy. Once I get it installed and play with it a bit, I’ll try to come up with a few examples.

Like a bad marriage

Kathy Sierra blogs about Creating Passionate Users and says too many companies are like bad marriages:

“It’s been said that the secret to a good marriage is… don’t change. In other words, be the person you were when you were merely dating. Don’t stop paying attention. Don’t stop being kind. Don’t gain 50 pounds. Don’t stop flirting. Stay passionate, stay sexy, stay caring. Answer their calls. Unfortunately, too many companies are all candle-lit dinners, fine wine, and “let’s talk about you” until the deal is sealed. Once they have you (i.e. you became a paying customer), you realize you got a bait-and-switch relationship.”

This is an excellent post with great illustrations (Perfect for that Powerpoint). If you own or manage a company (or department), this is a must-read.

How Google Audio Ads work (PowerPoint slides)

The folks at ZDNet’s Digital Markets have some PowerPoint slides that illustrates how Google Audio Ads work. And this from Voices.com:

“Google has positioned the Audio Ads system to serve both top-level advertisers, as well as the advertising agencies themselves. The graphic also shows 75% of the transactions coming from the agencies, and only 25% from independent advertisers. This is likely because advertising agencies already have media planning and media buying personnel, not to mention existing relationships with local and regional radio stations.”

The lables in the little blue rectangles are: Radio Stations, Networks and Rep Firms. Which suggests that advertisers will simply have another option for placing their ads on radio stations. And if Google can make it easier or cheaper or more effective (i.e. feedback, reports, etc)… they’ve added value to the process.

Google spreadsheets

When I bought the MacBook, I decided not to purchase Microsoft Office. I can’t remember the last time I felt the need to write something in Office. And few things make me go nuts faster than getting an email that says “see attached Word doc” in the body…and the Word doc has two lines of crap that could just as easily have been written in the body of the email (Get a clue you ignorant hillbilly!). What was my point? Oh yeah, MS Office…

Don’t need it. Don’t need Powerpoint. And –as of tomorrow– I don’t need Excel.
Google is set to launch a Web-based spreadsheet program that will allow people to view and simultaneously edit data while conducting “in-document” chat and supports the import and export of documents in the .xls format used in Excel and the .csv (comma-separated values) format.

I’m not a heavy spreadsheet user and I’m guessing the folks in our finance and accounting department couldn’t get by with the new Google spreadsheet. But I’m doing fine without Office and finer tomorrow.

Advice for new graduates from Scott Adams

Scott Adams has advice for new graduates. My favorites are:

  • Teamwork is what you call it when you trick other people into ignoring their priorities in favor of yours.
  • Leadership is a form of evil. No one needs to lead you to do something that is obviously good for you.
  • Business success is mostly about waiting for something lucky to happen and then taking credit.
  • Preparing a Powerpoint presentation will give you the sweet, sweet illusion of productivity.

I also kind of liked one of the commnets: “Unprofessional” and “passionate” is the same thing.