Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Something to aspire to...

Something to aspire to if you talk frequently.  I was shown this presentation yesterday and was just “wowed”.  The presentation style was unique.  Fast – yes.  But you really get the guy’s message.  The presentation goes by so fast, but at the end – you get his message totally.

While I doubt I could do exactly the same (not entirely my style), I’m certainly thinking of incorporating some of the ideas into my stuff.  I am very graphically challenged to say the least.  I still haven’t figured out why we need anything beyond a good Courier font…

But the simple visual impact this had was outstanding.  The graphics used would be graphics even I could do – it was mostly the presentation of the material and the delivery/speed – not so much really fancy animated slides (I pretty much do not do builds in general).

I encourage you to take a look at this – give some feedback, did you like it?  I think it would work for a keynote type of presentation, but not a three day seminar (I think you’d go numb after two or three hours at that pace).  I’m going to work on trying parts of it out I think.  Maybe by taking my presentation “Why: Why Why is probably the right answer” which is a short one, suitable for keynotes.  

It definitely held my interest and I have a relatively short attention span sometimes…


Blogger shrek said....

not THAT was kool.;-)

Tue Nov 15, 12:39:00 PM EST  

Anonymous Anonymous said....

This is one of the most riveting presentations I have seen. Conveyed the point really clearly and fast. The technical presentations that you do may not be suited to such high speed delivery. When you are presenting technical material, most audience are watching and learning at the same time and trying to commit some part to memory. If you go through your presentations at this pace, at least I will not be able to understand anything. This presentation was excellent, I personally would prefer your presentation style to stay the way it is.

Tue Nov 15, 12:46:00 PM EST  

Blogger Thomas Kyte said....

When you are presenting technical material

that echoes what I said - would not work for the down and dirty tech sessions - but for a 20/30 minute "keynote" type of talk that I also do - it has some potential.

Not sure that I could pull it off - I'd have to rememer to "breathe in" ;)

Tue Nov 15, 12:55:00 PM EST  

Blogger Doug Burns said....

Thanks for that, it's terrific! Reminded me a little bit of some of Connor MacDonald's presentation style.

I think it works well for what it is - a pretty high-level presentation for a keynote.

Thinking about you, it might work really well for presentations about the Developer/DBA relationship that you've talked about or Why applications go wrong - that kind of thing.

The thing I thought stood out is that it would be interesting even if you didn't care about the subject!



Tue Nov 15, 01:19:00 PM EST  

Blogger David Aldridge said....

I'm reminded of the techniques so much beloved of crime dramas and TV commercials, where a constantly moving camera with badly framed shots holds the attention of the viewer. Once you notice that the director of the commercial is deliberately showing you only half of a person's face an applying a barely perceptible constant rotation to the image in order to hold your attention, it's like finger nails on a blackboard whenever you see it.

But I digress.

As a means of passing on conceptual information it's obviously effective, but it'd be a tool easily blunted by frequent usage. "Oh, another of these presentations", you'd be thinking.

For passing hard knowledge and facts it would be horrible. If you wanted to demonstrate for example write consistency, would this work? Nope, but what it would be good for is passing on the complexity of write consistency, or for tieing together the details in one quick "thread". Once every step has been walked through a fast paced review in that style would probably be a great reinforcement.

Tue Nov 15, 01:31:00 PM EST  

Anonymous Anonymous said....

It was really cool. I think it would go well if you do it because you have a similar style of speaking (fast and to the point) and you know your subject well enough to pull it off smoothly. Give it a try and see the response. Maybe, you will become more famous than you are right now ;)
Actually, i was editing a presentation for my wife yesterday night and if i had read this before, then i would have tried to incorporate the style (offcouse after asking her permission) in her presentation.

Tue Nov 15, 01:36:00 PM EST  

Blogger Nuggie99 said....

I liked the presentation, and I think the reason why was that it was specific. It wasn't "Imagine a person has an ID", it was "Dick Hardt needs to show his driver's license to get his Vanilla Stoli" Instead of "You need to get to a website" it was "You want to log into flickr" etc.

The more specific and real you examples are, the better. You typically do a pretty good job in that respect anyway, from what I've seen.

Tue Nov 15, 02:00:00 PM EST  

Blogger Alberto Dell'Era said....

Maybe it works because it's a quick row of *examples*, so quick that the mind is overwhelmed, and pass them immediately to the unconscious mind - who compares them and find the common characteristic of them - and then the conscious part of the brain labels that characteristic as "identity" when the speaker lately say so.

Key idea - shut off the conscious, unleash the unconscious (=intuition).

Tue Nov 15, 02:54:00 PM EST  

Blogger Peter K said....

I had the pleasure of taking in Dick's presentation just last week. It's telling that he uses an Apple notebook instead of your usual PC crap.

His presentation style is actually based on someone else's, Lawrence Lesigg (which Dick acknowledges on his last slide).

Interesting fellow and based in Vancouver, BC as well.

Tue Nov 15, 07:36:00 PM EST  

Blogger Howard J. Rogers said....

Well, all I can say is: thank God for the death of Powerpoint-itis, which itself has killed more good discourses than you can shake a stick at. It's an extremely fun presentation, though its technical information content is low.

But wonderful to see no multi-bullet slides that sit there for ages. And no awful bullet builds to compensate. Just words on screen to reinforce words being spoken... getting the timing right is half the battle there, I think, and would make it unworkable unless extremely well rehearsed. And well-rehearsed means no audience participation!

So, yup: I enjoyed it. But no, I won't be trying to mimic it any time soon. But equally, it demonstrates what is wrong with Powerpoints, and why the whiteboard is such a good tool...

Tue Nov 15, 09:35:00 PM EST  

Blogger sammie said....

It was very short and sweet for a key note presentation. Most important thing to consider is, I was home, in a relaxed mood when I was watching this presentation. He had my attention the whole time. But, same presentation, in the midst of couple of other presentations in a conference will be very different. I dont think I would have had the same attention. After watching the presentation, if you really imagine yourself in a big conference hall watching a very fast moving power point slides in a really big screen TV, whew, its not the same. Maybe for sales people to give a punch line demo, this style would be good.

Tue Nov 15, 09:41:00 PM EST  

Blogger Connor McDonald said....

I still haven’t figured out why we need anything beyond a good Courier font…

Maybe you could pass that sentiment onto the good people at Metalink...all my requests for TARs and forum post to be in (any) monospace font fall on deaf ears...

Tue Nov 15, 10:52:00 PM EST  

Blogger Noons said....

Going back to the dark ages post, as usual Dilbert comes to the rescue:

Wed Nov 16, 01:35:00 AM EST  

Blogger DaPi said....

getting the timing right is half the battle there, I think, and would make it unworkable unless extremely well rehearsed.

That, in my opinion, is the point. To get that degree of sychronisation must have taken hours & hours & hours of rehearsal. Any presentation (bullet points or not) rehearsed to that degree should rock.

Wed Nov 16, 01:44:00 AM EST  

Anonymous jm said....

Very good, like so many good things in life, looks like the product of lot of hard work.

Wed Nov 16, 04:01:00 AM EST  

Anonymous Anonymous said....

This was too fast in my opinion, like a fancy tv ad. After some time I look back and remember a few smart moments of the show and then I wonder "what were they advertising?"

Wed Nov 16, 04:20:00 AM EST  

Blogger melanie caffrey said....

His presentation style is actually based on someone else's, Lawrence Lesigg (which Dick acknowledges on his last slide).

Interesting fellow and based in Vancouver, BC as well.

And an O'Reilly conference speaker, as well.


His influence on Hardt is rather evident.

This style is also reminiscent of the cartoon narrative of such movies as "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy".

I think it's a misconception that people need to be given time to read slides while they're sitting in your presentation.

If there is something salient enough in your presentation that the audience *must* read while they're sitting there, then you'll point it out to them.

Otherwise, that's what download capability is for, later.

Wed Nov 16, 08:33:00 AM EST  

Anonymous Dan said....

I used to teach (College level - mostly IT, some math and physics). After a year or so I learned (I guess the learning part goes two ways) that you could get maybe three important ideas across in 45 minutes - that was on a good day. You could accompany each idea with some trivia, but in terms of "ideas" three was about as much as you could pull off before some major glazing over started. I notice that this presentation ran about 15 minutes and he really was focussing on one core idea. So this seems to back my theory - I guess my sample size is now two.

I always thought people were better off leaving the classroom understanding three things rather than not understanding eight.

By the way - I'm not claiming that my lecctures were anything like this guys presentation! Far from it, most of my stuff was prepared while running down the hall to the classroom. No faney trasitions/graphics in my slides. Even on my best day I wouldn't be able to touch this guys style.

And I have to disagree with Tom - I used to think the only font that was needed in the world was a good Curior style sans-serif font, but I've mellowed over the years, I can accept Curior and a Times Roman style now, actually I like Century Schoolbook, so I think there is room for two fonts in the world, but that's it.

Wed Nov 16, 10:09:00 AM EST  

Anonymous Michael Norbert said....

It was excellent. Thanks for the link. The key was repetition. Over and over, what makes an identity. Maybe 30 seconds of his company coming up with a protocal for identity 2.0.
Was he actually clicking away while he was talking, or was it timed that perfectly? I couldn't figure it out. But he had it down cold.

Wed Nov 16, 10:35:00 AM EST  

Blogger Peter K said....

Michael Norbert said...

It was excellent. Thanks for the link. The key was repetition. Over and over, what makes an identity. Maybe 30 seconds of his company coming up with a protocal for identity 2.0.
Was he actually clicking away while he was talking, or was it timed that perfectly? I couldn't figure it out. But he had it down cold.

That's the crux of his presentation and I can tell you that he was clicking away with his bluetooth clicker. Dick has probably given this presentation so many times over the last 24 months that I'm sure that he can do it in his sleep.

If my memory serves me well, he bought a warehouse and converted that into an apartment/office (i.e. he runs Sxip out of this warehouse with an connection to his apartment next door or something).

He has his own blog at http://blame.ca/dick/index.php

Wed Nov 16, 01:39:00 PM EST  

Blogger Kell said....

As a multimedia producer, I really appreciated DH's presentation - it proved that any medium in and of itself is okay - but when partnered with another - you can do so much more.

In other words, hearing the speech was great - but engaging and relating those to the visual elements made Dick more entertaining... It gave the audience more to look at... It made distractions (and at any conference - what's NOT distracting?!!!) less noticeable...

He even used a good Courier-type font...

I also like that he personally drove the presentation. It was his voice, his pace, his spontanaety.

This reviewer gives DH two thumbs up - for not distracting me!

Wed Nov 16, 01:49:00 PM EST  

Anonymous Bob B said....

Why the talk works:

It ...
1) combines
2) chunks
3) moves
4) stays
5) repeats

1) Combines
It combines verbal and visual information. Our brains are made to associate information with visual clues. By showing a picture of the Canadian flag while saying he's from Canada it helps us remember where he's from.

2) Chunks
Information is chunked. We can only remember so much at a time. Throw any more at us and we either don't remember the new stuff or we forget the old stuff. To prove it to yourself, find some random 8 digit numbers. Try to memorize a few of them as quickly as possible by saying each individual digit. Then try to memorize a few others by saying pairs of digits. Which one felt easier?

3) Moves
Part of our innate survival tactics are based on detecting changes. If something doesn't change for a while, we tend to ignore it.

4) Stays
If something changes to fast, we can't absorb it. It takes a certain amount of time for something to go from short term memory to long term memory. See chunks.

5) Repeats
The more we are exposed to something, the more likely we will remember it. Even more importantly, he spaced out the repetition nicely. If he did all the repetitions of his identity right up front, we'd probably forget it. Give your audience enough time to forget something and *THEN* repeat it. The more you do this, the longer you'll need to wait to repeat it.

I think Tom does this last thing very well on AskTom. While he answers questions on a myriad of topics, he harps on a few core beliefs about the database that are far more important than the answers themselves.

Binds, Binds, Binds
Data *is* the key
Analytics rock
Do it in SQL

Wed Nov 16, 01:53:00 PM EST  

Anonymous Bob B said....

I forgot one thing, how he could've improved his presentation with interaction. In addition to the repetition, good memory is based on practicing recall. If you want to make sure one point comes across, after appropriately repeating it a few times, have a few repeats where the audience has to repeat it from memory.

Wed Nov 16, 02:06:00 PM EST  

Anonymous Roderick said....

I agree with what everyone else wrote.

so why am I posting?

I liked how he related technology to something we do on a daily basis, but almost take for granted.

no, wait I never drink ... that often

But I guess the topic lended itself to that pretty easily.

Now, I want to
some of those
along with presenation style used for
The Wørd
segment of the Colbert Report.

Thu Nov 17, 02:34:00 AM EST  

Blogger kevin loney said....

I think it works as a short monologue. If you want to have a dialogue with the audience it won't work since the script will keep being interrupted. It holds your attention but if he didn't have the repeats in there you'd have trouble following it if you missed a couple of seconds to check the callerID on your cellphone.

Thu Nov 17, 09:43:00 AM EST  

Blogger Kurt Graustein said....

Just last month we were talking about the importance of eye contact in speaking out
. That is lost with this presentation style. The audience is glued to the screen while the presenter is glued to the script.
While the presentation is exciting, it is also exhausting. As many have stated earlier, with more technical content this exhaustion level would exceed the threshold for most attendees.

Thu Nov 17, 06:37:00 PM EST  

Anonymous JulesLt said....

Be interesting to see how much Keynote contributes to this presentation style compared to Powerpoint - so far anything I've done with Keynote has inherited everything I've learnt from Powerpoint - generally because I'm starting with content I already have in Powerpoint.

I can see some of the stuff is a lot easier to do (text effects) but I wonder about the overall workflow - i.e. if you start something from scratch.

Salling Clicker let's you use any Bluetooth mobile to control presentations.

To agree with other posts - it's a good style for fast high level presentations (i.e. Connor's new / forgotten features) - where you're just banging out things for people to scribble down and look up at their leisure.

Tue Nov 22, 09:28:00 PM EST  

Anonymous Anonymous said....

I chewed on the word "second scan" you mentioned. Tom one of the things i would like to know is how to read a technical book in a pace which allows you to absorb the contents as well as not MISS out anything important...? i mean basically how YOU do it..?

Wed Nov 23, 04:25:00 AM EST  

Blogger Thomas Kyte said....

I chewed on the word "second scan"

I tend to read it from start to finish without a keyboard (taking notes here and there, things I want to confirm/revisit). And then cherry pick at a keyboard with it later - confirming the notes, exploring an idea that came to me on the first read.

doesn't always happen that way, but I do most of my reading on a plane/airport and I like to leave the laptop away if I can.

Wed Nov 23, 07:36:00 AM EST  

Blogger Tyler said....

I too was glued to the screen on this one. It was particularly timely as last week I was in a "class" that started off with 112 powerpoint slides!

His style of repetition was similar to that of many TV commercials. When they first air, they aree around 30 seconds (just a guess). As they are repeated more and more times, they trim them down to just the vital content and say, 20 seconds. The first few times are very entertaining, but you may not remember what they are trying to sell, only that the commercial was funny / unique / interesting. The latter repetitions focus on the key message. You still remember that it was a creative add, but now you can focus on just the message they want to convey. I'm sure the idea of saving money comes into play, but the style of repition works.

Wed Nov 23, 08:44:00 AM EST  

Anonymous CreditMan said....

Great presentation indeed! It looks very professional and engrossing. Good for you!

Tue Aug 07, 02:01:00 AM EDT  


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