Tag Archives: speech

David Plotz: political speeches should be TED Talks

Politicians should embrace the TED talk, from David Plotz:

Presidential candidates tweet, text, email, post to Facebook with the frequency of randy 18-year-olds…But then the hour comes for the Big Speech, the most important moment of the campaign, and they walk behind a podium, stare into a TV camera, and read (and read and read) a prepared text from a teleprompter.

We live in a golden age of public events, a time when speakers are inventing all kinds of wonderful new ways to connect with audiences. From TED talks to Apple product rollouts…

 

A great article and worth reading, and I only disagree on a minor point. The big speeches can be incredible when you feel like the future-president is talking directly to you. But, every speech before that should be looked over. Turn at least a few of them into a TED talk, maybe even alternate between speeches and multimedia presentations.

 

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Mitt Romney begins foreign tour of UK, Israel and Poland

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is in Britain on the first leg of a week-long foreign tour that includes stops in Israel and Poland.

He is to meet political leaders and attend the opening ceremonies of the Olympic Games in the next three days.

The former governor of Massachusetts is not expected to make any policy announcements in London, but correspondents say the visit will give him the chance to show himself to the US electorate in the international arena.

…Critics have accused him of having a weak background in foreign policy, the same claim made about Mr Obama, who was a first-term senator during his 2008 White House campaign when he made a high-profile trip to the Middle East and Europe.

That tour culminated with a speech to hundreds of thousands of people outside the Victory Column in Berlin, Germany.

 

Source: BBC - Mitt Romney begins foreign tour of UK, Israel and Poland

 

 

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Learn how to speak a new language in a few months – from Lifehacker

A condensed version of the article, if this interests you read the full article.

Lifehacker reader Gabriel Wyner was tasked with learning four languages in the past few years for his career as an opera singer, and in the process landed on “a pretty damn good method for language learning that you can do in limited amounts of spare time.” Here’s the four-step method that you can use.

 

Stage 1: Learn the correct pronunciation of the language.
Time: 1-2 weeks

Starting with pronunciation first does a few things—because I’m first and foremost learning how to hear that language’s sounds, my listening comprehension gets an immediate boost before I even start traditional language learning.

 

Stage 2: Vocabulary and grammar acquisition, no English allowed.
Time: About 3 months.

This stage takes advantage of a few valuable tricks: First, I’m using Anki, a wonderful, free flashcard program that runs on smartphones and every computer platform. Second, I use a modified version of Middlebury College’s famous language pledge—No English allowed! By skipping the English, I’m practicing thinking in the language directly, and not translating every time I try to think of a word. Third, I’m using frequency lists to guide my vocabulary acquisition. These lists show the most common words in a given language, and learning those words first will be the best use of your time—after 1000 words, you’ll know 70% of the words in any average text, and 2,000 words provides you with 80% text coverage.

 

Stage 3: Listening, writing and reading work.
Time: This stage overlaps quite a bit with stage 2 and 4. Once you’re comfortable reading or writing anything, usually a month or two into stage 2, you can start stage 3

Once I have a decent vocabulary and familiarity with grammar, I start writing essays, watching TV shows and reading books, and talking (at least to myself!) about the stuff I see and do.

 

Stage 4: Speech

At the point where I can more or less talk (haltingly, but without too many grammar or vocab holes) and write about most familiar things, I find some place to immerse in the language and speak all the time (literally).

 

// Photo – Spree2010

Steve Jobs Health, Forced Sabbaticals, and His Brilliance

“No one wants to die,” said Steve Jobs. “And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new.”

Those words are from a famous keynote Steve gave at Stanford in 2005, nearly a year after his brush with cancer. It is well worth a listen to for it’s inspiring message of Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish (text version). A message that Steve says he wishes for himself and perhaps one he now is forced to live by.

Last week on Jan 17, 2011 Steve announced that he is taking a medical leave of absence from Apple. This is his third medical leave, with the previous two for removal of cancerous tumor and a liver transplant. One can only guess what painful problem the man is facing now. You could also guess how this changes a person, what it does to you. Facing death and triumphant returns over and over. It got me thinking what Steve has accomplished after each of these bouts with death.

To uncover this I did a little research and the story starts on July 9, 1997, when Steve was named interim-CEO of Apple. It was the first of his triumphant returns. Twelve years earlier he had been forced out of the company and watched it slowly turn into a disaster. Facing crippling financial losses, record low stock prices, and even a denouncement from Michael Dell, “I’d shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders.”

Then in 1997, an acquisition brought Steve back into the company and he quickly took the reigns as CEO. Not long after things starting happening like small tectonic shifts. Three major products were announced and soon the world was dramatically altered:

  • 1998 – iMac
  • 2001 – iPod
  • 2003 – iTunes Store

All three were huge successes and quickly put Apple back on top. The iPod sold over 100 million units, the iTunes Store sold over 10 billion songs, and the iMac breathed life back into their computers. Together they brought the company back to profitability and, individually, they revolutionized computers, consumer electronics, and music.

Then in July of 2004, Steve was again forced to leave Apple, this time due to a cancerous tumor. After having it removed via the  Whipple procedure, Steve triumphantly returned and released the following:

  • 2005-06 – MacBook
  • 2007 – iPhone
  • 2008 – App store

Three even more successful products. Each one revolutionizing laptops, mobile phones, and, for the app store, creating a whole new paradigm. At this point the company was on the move with the stock price catapulting and revenues soaring.

Then, in 2009, Steve’s third forced sabbatical hit. This time it was a liver transplant, a common ailment arising from the Whipple procedure. Upon returning he released the:

  • 2010 – iPad

Another extremely successful product which appears to be revolutionizing computer operating systems and the entire computer industry.

This takes us back to the present day and the announcement of Steve’s fourth sabbatical. To which many are predicting not a another leave of absence but a final departure into the sunset. After all, Tim Cook is at the helm as he has been in the two previous sabbaticals. Plus, Steve has no need to keep going since he has already accomplished so much and left the company in such a profitable condition.

I can see that happening, but I can also imagine another possibility. One that is in line with the “stay hungry, stay foolish” mantra. Is it possible that Steve has come to love these vacations?

I mean look at what he has accomplished after each one, not even a delay in success or a few years for the product “to hit.” The gratification is so instant it’s like a perfect test for Dr. Pavlov.

I’m not being callous about his health either. Pancreatic cancer is one of those rare, one-in-a-million forms that is completely curable. Most patients are known to have perfectly normal, healthy lives nearly indistinguishable from any other patient. However, there can be complications like liver failure, and this latest medical leave means something else is wrong.

All of these are painful problems and I empathize for Steve, but it does point out that he could likely be poised for another triumphant return.

Why not? Sabbaticals exist for this very reason. Leave at a point of high success and/or anxiety to recover and recoup. It’s a time honored tradition that is too often derided by others. Our community spirit says to work, work to death.

In some ways the move is inspiring. A CEO taking off time to improve his health, be with his family, and then return to change the world.

That is awesome. How many other examples like that do we have?

Have you ever taken a sabbatical?

What would it take for you to take some time off and recoup?

Photo by Peter Denton