Wednesday, February 25, 2009

My next Ignite Phoenix presentation will be better

Fuse album coverImage via Wikipedia

Ignite Phoenix the Third was last night. And by all accounts, it was far and above the best event so far. The Tempe Center for the Arts was a great venue. A packed venue that quickly setup video screens outside the room for those who couldn't get in. 300+ extremely appreciative people. Wait, don't forget the beer and wine. That tends to help!

And yet, I walked away disappointed. Not in any of the things I mentioned above. Not in the organizers who did a fabulous job as usual. And not at my fellow presenters, some of which knocked it out of the park.

No, my disappointment comes as I reflect upon my own presentation. I screwed up. In three ways:

  • Overconfidence: I spoke on a topic I'm well-versed in. I spent at least four hours assembling my 20 slides. I rehearsed it several times until I had the timing pat. I did all of that over a week ago. And then I didn't look at the presentation again until it started showing on the big screen.

    I've heard it said that airline pilots work the hardest at takeoff and landing -- the plane pretty much flies itself in between those points. Turns out it's the same for me and presenting. Once I got rolling, it went pretty well. Even the ending was OK (since the Ignite format doesn't leave a lot of room for long "In conclusion..." slides). But I totally boffed the opening. Which threw me off for the rest of the presentation.

    Had I spent 60 seconds flipping through the slides an hour before I went on, I would have nailed it. But I didn't. Cocksure doesn't go far enough to describe me at times.

  • No outside editor: Simple mistakes get made. It's easy for our eyes to overlook them, especially when they are the same eyes that are connected to the brain that made the mistake in the first place. In my case, I had a unit of measurement wrong. The number that came from the calculations was right, but a transposing error threw the whole thing off. Sometimes these tiny mistakes crash presentations. Sometimes satellites. In hindsight, I should have sent the whole presentation -- a whopping five minutes -- to Phil Plait for vetting. He helped me with some of the math anyhow, and I'm sure he would have caught my gaff in an instant.

  • No notes: I'm not much of a note-taking person. I craft my slides in such a way that they contain clues about what I want to say. And since I'm good at memorizing my points, it hasn't been much of an issue in the past. But the two prior errors caused me to be a bit flustered as I progressed, compounding errors. I forgot words. I transposed names. I started shooting from the hip. Granted, I've got decent aim from there. But it would have been better to have an anchor to draw me back in.

But don't get the impression that I bombed. I doubt I'll be banned from future talks. Everyone in the audience seemed to appreciate what I had to say. And all in all, the intent of my talk was successfully conveyed to the audience. Though I'm sure at least one person caught an error and wrote me off on principle. I say this because I do this.

The good news: I can fix it in post. I'll get some time to record myself giving the talk here in my own domain. Where I won't screw up. And that's the one I'll post for you.

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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Social Media Triage LIVE on - Alpha launch

Color-coded flagging tape can be used to mark ...Image via Wikipedia

For months now I've been talking about Social Media Triage. It's all about quick and actionable tactics -- course corrections, if you will -- for your current social and new media efforts. Hey, sometimes an outside eye helps. And lords know I've made enough mistakes in this field over time.

I've decided to try and use the power of live internet video to help me get this out to the greater world. Yes, a full 1.5 hour session of SMT does cost money, but the live video I do weekly (?) will be free. I might as well eat my own dog poo, since I preach that giving away free content can and does lead to sales. So here I go!

Right now, this is VERY much an alpha project. I did something similar last weekend specifically to authors and producers. It'll be for an hour, so come on over and ask questions.

Please note that this is specifically designed for newbies, for folks who need help. I do not want to see my social and new media buddies show up and turn this into yet another social event. You're welcome to hang out in the wings and offer up your $0.02, but please understand the intent. I won't take offense if I don't see a pile of friends in there.

There are several ways you can RSPV and get more info:

So come on over and pick my brain for an hour this coming Saturday. After that... we'll see!

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Thursday, February 12, 2009

Prepping for Big Distance at Ignite 3

Ignite Phoenix 2Image by tysoncrosbie via Flickr

My talk on Big Distance has been selected by the fine folks at Ignite Phoenix 3! So now I know what I'm doing the evening of February 25th. Oh, and the weekends leading up to that, as I still need to finish the talk. It's called "Big Distance", and it's in a similar style as my Big Time talk from the first Ignite Phoenix.

If you can't make the event (live or on uStream), I'll post the slides when I'm done.

But if you want a preview, the scarily-talented George Hrab has just released a video of a new song, FAR. Both his song and my talk are in the same spirit. My talk will go into more details. But his has a snappy beat. And uses the phrase "uber-far".

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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

What does #evfn stand for?

More of the GroupImage by sheiladeeisme via Flickr

The next time someone asks "What does #evfn stand for?", please direct them to the link behind that query.

Or you could just tell them it stands for East Valley Friday nights. But sending the link above is much funnier. Here's the description that I use on Upcoming, Yelp, Facebook and anywhere else I can think to spread it:

#evfn is a weekly social gathering organized primarily over Twitter. It stands for East Valley Friday Nights and yes, you are invited.

Remember the agenda: no agenda. Have fun. Meet people. Party on!

So if you're in any of the "east valley" cities of the greater Phoenix area or are planning on being in town any Friday night, rest assured that we'll be having an #evfn from 6:00 - 8:00. We're averaging about 40 people as of late, so it's becoming a bit of a challenge to find establishments that can handle us. But we're doing OK and we have a few "go-to" places that are happy to take the huge influx of cash we give them once a week.

There's a Flickr group set up so you can see some images of prior events. Anyone and everyone can contribute photos here, so load 'em up!

Want to stay informed? The best way is to sign up for our Upcoming group. That's the "official" place to RSVP. If your account is properly configured, you'll get an email when the venue is set.

And since this event is primarily organized via Twitter, you can search for #evfn to find the conversation. I suggest following a few links and checking the date. Would hate to see you wind up at where we were in the past!

See you at an #evfn soon!

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Sunday, February 1, 2009

I'm on The Scotch Cast

In a recent trip to chilly Cleveland, I was invited by the boys at The Scotch Cast to guest on their show. Being an avid fan of single malt scotch, I humbly obliged.

Humble being the key word. These boys know their scotch. I show -- in this incredibly long 57 minute podcast episode -- that I have much to learn. But they are patient teachers and put out a well thought out show. Next time I'm forced to freeze my buns off in Cleveland, I hope to be back on the show!

Drink well!