I can’t believe I started by saying “OK, people.” Talk about your crappy opener. But with six minutes and thirty-eight seconds remaining, I had to press on. And plus Alexis had just brought down the house.
Let me back up. In April I had inadvertently coined the term “Agile Marketing” in an interview. It means applying certain principles of agile development to the world of marketing and advertising, and it’s a nice metaphor for how we approach marketing at Smart Bear and something I’ll be writing about more in future.
A few months later I was selected to do a pecha kucha at the Business of Software conference (run by Joel Spolsky & Neil Davidson). A “pecha kucha” is a rigidly-timed presentation with twenty slides, twenty seconds per slide. It’s a fun format that encourages brevity, sparse slides, and focus — attributes you’ve wished upon many presentations. So now you can see the fun: business and geekery in a single six-minute-forty-second package!
The day of the conference I learned I was presenting second, behind Alexis Ohanian, founder of Reddit. And his presentation was really great. Not great in the sense that I was inspired, or learned something, or came away with a new idea; it had none of that, it was satirical. But it was hilarious. This was a bad thing.
Bad? Oh I forgot to tell you. See, this was a competition. The conference attendees would vote for their favorite pecha kucha presentation. Now I know, life isn’t a competition; my value as a person on planet Earth isn’t established by whether people vote for some presentation at some conference.
Except that, yeah, it kinda is.
So before I started my talk I tried to reset the mood with an old improv comedy crowd warm-up routine where you get everyone all excited and clapping and then make a dramatic sweeping motion to silence the house immediately. It’s a weird effect because you don’t utter a word or explain what you expect them to do beforehand; the weird part is that it works every time.
So here it is. (And please forgive that “OK people.” Sheesh!)
P.S. If you like talking about the stuff in the video, run over to the Business of Software networking and forums website and get involved. This isn’t just another pile of threaded conversations; it’s real software entrepreneurs talking shop.
P.P.S. If you’re wondering about the panda peeking over the PIP at time index 2:40, here’s your answer. And poor Eric I referenced at 3:57 is Eric Sink.
P.P.P.S. Alexis won.