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A Tale Of Two Speeches (And One Was REALLY Bad)

January 31, 2019

So, what’s wrong with this presentation?

Is it that he said his company had 600 million employees?

No, he meant it had six hundred million dollars in income. But, that’s part of it. What’s the topic of this presentation?

Something about Open Government I think.

Yeah, that’s the problem.

We’d been in the presentation for 20 minutes. The presentation was supposed to be about powering more effective and accountable government. It’s a noble endeavor. And apparently, the speaker was somehow connected with the effort. How? I’m not entirely sure, but the presentation wasn’t over.

My sons and I were attending a tech conference. We’d spent most of the day on the vendor floor, but a friend of mine’s company was presenting at 4:00 in Ballroom B. I told him I’d be there.

My friend’s company presented first. A man named Steve Lindsley explained the mission of Groviv. Groviv is a Utah based company that is basically growing food in racks in a lab in Vinyard, Utah. The racks are 25 feet tall and about 1000 sq foot. In that space, they can grow the same crops that would take up 100 acres. And at about 3% of the water required. A big deal in a desert like Utah.

The presentation was brilliantly done. It started by introducing a problem: too little resources, food, water, etc. It then presented a solution: technology and these food racks. Lindsley finished with a call to action. Explaining that each of us can make a difference. He also used multiple media, slides and short video clips.

The presentation had a very political tone to it when it came to the discussion of Climate Change. My boys were somewhat skeptical about the science claims in the video.

You don’t understand. That presentation wasn’t about information. It was about emotion. Everything in the presentation was designed to stir your emotions.

The second presentation started right after the first one ended. We were already seated, and the topic is more than a little interesting to me. Technology and government have a long an complicated history.

I’m not sure of the name of the presenter. He was a fill in. He started badly.

Well, I don’t have any videos to show you. I’ll just have to try to be entertaining.

He failed. But, I doubt he knew that. Twenty minutes in, when I asked my son what was wrong with the presentation, the speaker was talking about the second company he had worked for. I don’t know what it was. It wasn’t memorable and more importantly it was irrelevant to the topic.

I didn’t count, but the presenter used the word “I” a lot. He wanted us to understand his credentials. His presentation was what I call an “Ego” speech. A chance to stand in front of a group and talk about himself.

Twenty-five minutes into his 40 minute presentation he finally put a slide that had his main points:

  1. Changing cultures is hard
  2. Have a North Star

There was another point that by then I wasn’t really catching. Even then, his points could have been about any presentation, any topic. My son had finally had enough.

What’s traffic look like for the ride home?

Only a few minutes delay if we leave now. Are you ready to go?

Yeah, I think so.

As we were leaving the hall, 35 minutes into the presentation, the presenter finally put up a slide that described something about OpenGov. Honestly, by that point I no longer cared.

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.

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(c) 2018 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved

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