Friday, April 07, 2006

It's All in the Presentation

If you've never seen a Steve Jobs keynote, you should watch one right now. Back? Good, now let's continue. Any other company's events or keynotes pale in comparison to what Jobs does. So what is it that's so magical about his speeches? BusinessWeek pinpointed it to five key components, and I agree with all of them. In fact, I think they're great tips for any kind of presentation, not just for billionaire tech company moguls. First thing: he tells people what they need to know, not a product's life story. What it all boils down to when you want a new computer is why it's better than some cheap Dell, and he shows it right on that stage. Second is practice, but that's a given. I've heard stories of how merciless he can be with the people creating the demos, and he's even anal about the placement of his water (only Evian) and flower vase on the stage and such. There's nothing worse than being lost when you're center stage. Third, show lots of pretty pictures. Lots of text is almost useless in a presentation since that requires reading. Instead, the slides should visually supplement what you're communicating verbally. Fourth, actually care about what you're talking about. I think part of why I hate my Physics class is because it's clear that our teacher really doesn't care about it. Compare to my difficult-to-understand Diffy Q class, where the teacher bounces around the front of the room. Lastly, keep them in suspense. If you go to a concert and hear all the best songs first, then it's not going to get much better, is it? The farther on the edge of their seats they are, the more attentive they'll be.

Tired of your proprietary Office formats? Well guess what? Microsoft is unveiling brand spanking new ones for Office 2007! Apparently, they'll be backwards compatible with most old formats, and the good news is that you can save in PDF (so all your friends don't have to buy Office 2007 just because you did). Bad news for M$: Lucent is suing them again for using an MPEG-2 decoder in the Xbox 360 that they had patented. I think that they just want money from Microsoft rather than to halt sales of the Xbox 360. There's a trailer online for Half-Life 2: Episode One, and I had to mention it because it's so awesome. It makes me want to beat Half-Life 2 again. I haven't forgotten about the Nintendo fans though: Gamespot has compiled all we know about the Revolution, including a roster of launch titles. I wonder if Donkey Kong Revolution will be like Donkey Kong Country, which I considered one of the best SNES games to be made. Have you ever wanted your music playlist on the go? Then there's yet another Web 2.0 service to help you out called Portable Playlist. I don't have much use for this, but I know that many of you do. I'm really intrigued by Ruby and Ruby on Rails, but I was saddened to read this post about why it's not sustainable. It sounds like a fun language, and I think that more support from web hosting services would really boost it. Lastly, if you want some of your stuff off of Google Cache, read this.

Thomas Hayden Christian spoke with a bit about the production of Spider-man 3, and it looks like Sam Raimi is a better director than we all thought. I figured that a movie like this would have to be fairly choreographed ahead of time, but the lengths he goes to to get his actors in character is really cool. Someone sent AICN a review for Lucky Number Slevin, and it sounds like a great movie, but I share the reviewer's concern for how big of a hit it will be. Having Lucy Liu, Bruce Willis, and Morgan Freeman should really do something to bring audiences to the box office though. IGN got a new clip from Hard Candy, but I suppose you shouldn't watch it if you want to be totally off guard when you see the movie. Steven Spielberg is throwing his support behind a new TV show kind of in the footsteps of Project Greenlight where teams of people will work on short films for a chance to make their own movie. It sounds like a real neat idea, and I'd probably actually watch it (I never watch reality tv usually). It looks like Vin Diesel may still make his Hannibal movie, which he hadn't heard about in a while, but I still question anything with that guy behind it. Lastly, there may actually be a Terminator 4 movie, but no word on whether or not Arnold has even been approached yet. I think that series should be left where it is now though, and another movie may ruin it.

Today was ACM's Big Event deal where we basically chill in the park for the afternoon, and I just had to post this awesome picture of Ron's dog Flash (on the right) getting his groove on with another dog in the park.

Click to enlarge

I'm working on making my pictures sharper, but not shaking when taking a picture is harder than it may looks. If you want to see more, I put the best in my Zoto (just search for "Big Event"), or you can see the whole gallery.

Now for Friday's Feast:

Name a trait you share with your parents or your children.

I share my father's quick temper. Overall, I'm a very nice guy, but when someone pushes me over the line, I can really go pretty wild. I also share my mom's extreme sensitivity. On the better side: I definitely share their ambition.

List 3 qualities of a good leader, in your opinion.

That's easy: knowing how to delegate, always planning for the future, and knowing the strengths and weaknesses of each of your sheep (I mean sheep as in a shepherd's flock, not as in mindless people).

Who is your favorite television chef?

Definitely Alton Brown! He's just so down-to-earth and witty. Second place goes to Bobby Flay for Boy Meets Grill, because he comes up with some pretty badass grilling techniques.

Main Course
Share a story about a gift you received from someone you love.

I don't think I have any great stories in this vein. My brother and his fiance got me that iPod Shuffle though, which was really nice of them because the 1 GB isn't a cheap gift (this was before the price drop, mind you) and was just what I needed. I was going to hold off and get a real iPod, but I really just need it for the gym, and if my Shuffle gets scratched I don't care because you can barely see it and I know that it's just for the gym anyway.

How do you react under pressure?

I sweat a lot, that's for sure. It really depends. If it's like a deadline to meet, I just focus intensely. If it's a testing environment, I tend to not perform quite as well. I really need to be comfortable to do really well on a test.

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