Dan Pink’s Latest Book: Johnny Bunko

April 26, 2008

Dan Pink, best-selling author of A Whole New Mind (a great book, by the way) has a new book out, The Adventures of Johnny Bunko: The Last Career Guide You’ll Ever Need. To promote it he has produced the fantastic video trailer above. This is creative, beautiful stuff. Based on this video, and on Garr Reynold‘s distillation of the book in presentation format (see below), I’ve got a copy of the book coming. I can’t wait.


Fantastic Cameraphone Photography

April 21, 2008

Some fantastic imagery here taken with cameraphones. Once again it shows that it’s not necessary to have the latest and greatest equipment, and that creativity and vision can produce wonderful results.


Dodging the Email Tsunami

April 19, 2008

I’m always interested in articles that deal with managing email, since it seems to be the scourge of modern life. Staying on top of email is a daily struggle, and I’ve known a number of people who have “intentionally by accident” marked their entire inbox as “read” so that they could start fresh. That’s been a tempting thought to me a few times, but recently I managed to scramble to the top of my pile–I won’t even mention how many emails were sitting there unread. It took quite a few hours of effort, spread over many days, but my inbox is back under control.

I’m curious about one suggestion the article proposes, about keeping your email program off except for two scheduled times a day. I’ve heard of that strategy before, and never implemented it, since I thought it was not realistic. But I think perhaps it is, and I think I’m going to make myself a guinea pig to this method. I will set up some time in the morning and the afternoon–I’ll even book it in my calendar–and I will attend to whatever email comes at the allotted time, otherwise it waits.

Will it work? Who knows. I’ll find out. But I’m anticipating it being a challenge to colleagues and our collective reliance on email as an immediate communications tool. People often expect a response ASAP. Management sends a missive with immediate instructions, or alerts of one kind or another are distributed via email with the expectation that people are reading them within seconds. I’m curious about the consequences of being out of the loop for a few hours at a time. It may turn out to be minor, but I could imagine for some people it might be more dramatic. I will follow up with my results.


I Have a Girl, But I’m Sure St. Bosco Wouldn’t Mind

April 3, 2008

I stumbled upon this quote below while visiting the Catholic Education Resource Centre, a fantastic resource for articles and information with a Catholic sensibility.

On the Disciplining of Boys: “There must be no hostility in our minds, no contempt in our eyes, no insult on our lips. We must use mercy for the present and have hope for the future, as is fitting for true fathers who are eager for real correction and improvement.”

– St. John Bosco

I was struck by this quote, since, as a new father of a toddler who has already begun testing limits and pushing boundaries, the issue of discipline is becoming more and more part of daily life. The quote beautifully expresses a simple–yet very difficult–approach to this important part of raising children.


Presentation Zen

April 2, 2008

In my office we have this monthly internal learning exercise where one person gives a presentation on something they are good at or, at least, know something about. It’s meant as a way for the presenter to share their knowledge with colleagues and to bring the team together for an hour to have some fun and hopefully learn something. It’s really a great innovation in our office, introduced by our newish director (she’s been with us about a year now), Corina De Guire.

Given our branch structure, I fall into the Creative Services group, which includes multimedia and web, graphic design and our distribution units. The effort from our group so far have been great, with a lot of work being put into the presentations, complete with fantastic takeaways. Recent presentations included a Photoshop tutorial, a presentation on digital photography resolution and its impact on print production, and one on colour theory. While the entire team (mostly) works with Adobe Creative Suite and we all share varying degrees of knowledge and expertise in matters of design, it’s remarkable how much you realize there still is to learn.

Presentation Zen book coverIn a month it will be my turn to present, and the topic I’ve chosen is presentations. I’m excited by my topic because presentations and their design are a big interest of mine, and because over the last few years I’ve given a lot of them.

I won’t be dealing with the tools so much, like PowerPoint, but on what makes a good presentation. Somebody I feel a distinct connection with when it comes to this topic is presentation guru Garr Reynolds. Through his Presentation Zen blog and his recent book by the same name–which is fantastic, by the way–I’ve learned a lot and fine tuned my own design sensibilities. As a communicator, when presenting information–whether by slide, web page, text, image, etc.–it’s important to get the message across as effectively (and elegantly, in my opinion) as possible. Good design isn’t easy–no matter what some folks might say–but it matters. In fact, when we take design for granted is when we know we’ve likely stumbled upon something good.

I haven’t yet determined the specifics of my presentation, but I have to admit to feeling a little nervous with my topic. Since my topic is about something I will actually be up doing, I feel that the scrutiny might be a little more intense! Who knows. Anyway, I’m almost tempted to just play Garr’s recent GoogleTalks presentation (see the video below) where he pretty much says it all. It’s well worth watching the entire thing.