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Red Rubber Ball - Jamie Mustard's new book

Becoming Iconic: “The Red Rubber Ball Guy”

by Jamie Mustard, excerpted from his new book THE ICONIST: The Art and Science of Standing Out.

Here is a beautiful example of someone rose from humble circumstances to become known for Block concepts that have become more recognizable than their names.

Kevin Carroll was abandoned by his parents at six years old as a result of poverty and addiction. Today in his fifties, having lived a remarkable life, a singular concept has come to define Kevin’s astonishing career: a red rubber ball, the kind of red rubber ball we all played with on elementary school playgrounds. Continue reading

Speaker Jamie Mustard on Blocks

Toy Blocks Are The Key To Standing Out

by Jamie Mustard (from The Iconist: The Art and Science of Standing Out)

Whether we had a good childhood or a bad childhood, most of us would agree that there was a kind of simplicity to our existence back then. As we get older, life seems to get more and more complicated. Taxes, jobs, girlfriends, boyfriends, wives, husbands, bosses, car payments, mortgages, deadlines, house repairs, car repairs, insurance, credit cards, checking accounts, work computers, home computers, social networks…..

In childhood, we don’t have to deal with so much, well, stuff. As children, we were easily transfixed by any unduly large object that crossed our paths. Through personal and professional experience, time and time again, I have observed that adults tend to respond the same way, even as our society throws more complicated things at us. Interestingly, we still—often subconsciously—gravitate toward simpler objects and situations. This is true for large objects, and it is true for any big, massive thing. Whether it is a massive thing like the Grand Canyon or a hulking piece of heavy construction equipment, people tend to be transfixed by anything that is exceedingly large in relation to the environment around it. Continue reading

Becoming a Great Speaker, by Vivek Wadhwa

How to Go From Being a Disaster to a Great Speaker

by Vivek Wadhwa

These days, I revel in the applause my son Tarun gets when he goes on stage. However, it was not always like this. When I saw him forget his lines and freeze up on the podium at the Economist Ideas Economy Information Summit eight years ago, my heart literally sank. I wanted to rush up and give him a big hug and say “it’s okay son, it wasn’t a big deal, don’t worry about it”. Tarun had worked day and night to be prepared for his first big talk. He memorized every word of a 12-minute long presentation. And then he forgot his lines.

I will never forget the anguish on his face.

Tarun did manage to muddle his way through the talk. The moderator also came to his rescue—knowing that any 23-year old would have difficulty speaking to an audience of 400 business executives and academics at one of the most prestigious conferences in the world. Continue reading

Change - Keynote Speaker Jeff Leitner

Why Most Change Initiatives Fail. And What to Do About It

“Write down a change you would like to make in an organization that you are currently with…or  change in the marketplace. Any kind. It can be a big change, it could be a small change – strategic, tactical, something you want people to start doing, something you want people to stop doing,” says Jeff Leitner as he looks around a room filled with CEOs, CFOs, CIOs, and other C-Suite executives at this year’s InterimExecs’ RED Team meeting. He continues “You’re change is absolutely, almost certainly going to fail. It’s not your fault. It has nothing to do with your particular genius – has nothing to do with your insights. Changes fail. They almost always fail.” Continue reading

Future of Food by Keynote Speaker Nancy Giordano

The (Optimistic) Future Of Food

by Nancy Giordano

“Well, that was an encouraging day!” Rosa, a brain augmentation engineer reflects. She takes a few intentional deep breaths, then steps away from her desk, grabs the bag Kush, her robotic assistant packed earlier, and jumps into her waiting autonomous-driving vehicle for the 40 min ride into Portland. She is so looking forward to dinner with her sister. While there are many ways to connect virtually with one another these days, nothing beats sitting around a table having a meal together, and this weekly ritual is one she tries hard not to miss. Her mother has told them both so many stories about the Good People dinners her friend Raman started twenty something years ago — how these gatherings nourished her inside and out, and ultimately fed many of the huge food innovations that fuel her daughters now. 
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Joel Cohen delivering a hilarious keynote speech

Joel Cohen’s keynote provides insight (and tons of humor) into the success of The Simpsons

by Mike Humphrey

Over a wonderfully fresh shrimp, avocado and arugula salad at a trendy Philly restaurant, Joel Cohen describes the concept of the “puke draft”.  No, it had nothing to do with his lunch.  He shares how ideas are most often half-baked and incomplete at their genesis. So, members of his team at The Simpsons will often create a “puke draft”, which takes their rough idea and shares it for improvement and revision from the other talented writers on the show.  Through this process, many of these ideas develop into full episodes for the most successful prime time show in the history of television. Continue reading

Nancy Giordano talks about the Big Shift for Business Leaders

What Is The Role Of Business In A Shifting Society?

What Is The Role Of Business In A Shifting Society? 

by Nancy Giordano

Back in the 1790’s, the Industrial Revolution was underway. Artisans making one product gave way to mechanization with companies making multiple products. In the 1830’s, US railroad companies became the first truly modern management organizations. Those early superhighways lowered the cost of moving goods and information, and by the 1920’s, a new type of professionally managed corporation owned by retail investors and run by powerful executives, replaced the early founder-led firms. Management suddenly became a career. Focus on rapid expansion, mass production and meeting increasing mass demand created sprawling conglomerates with giant interdependencies and unprecedented levels of complexity. Along the way we didn’t stop to measure the cost of it all… Continue reading

Speaker Jamie Mustard on Attention

Why Standing Out is So Important

If we do not grab the attention of others immediately, we could lose them forever.

 By Jamie Mustard

There is no doubt that technology has made our lives easier, but it has also made our lives harder in invisible ways. Technology-induced change has created an explosion of content and choice—a deluge of products, services, and voices in constant competition for our attention. In our always-on, internet-connected world, wave after wave of information bombards our senses and dilutes our individual voices. Whether we are conscious of it or not, we’re drowning in a sea of white noise. Continue reading

tech leadering - Nancy Giordano leading business speaker

Tech future demands “Leadering”

One of the world’s leading futurists, Nancy Giordano, argues for a new kind of leadership, writes Arthur Goldstruck

It is somewhat reassuring to learn that Nancy Giordano has 43,000 unopened emails on her computer. As a global “brand futurist”, she is in demand to lead transformation strategies at major corporations, and present her framework for visionary leadership at conferences and events. She is also a mother of three and a part-time lecturer at Singularity University in Silicon Valley.

If someone operating at the cutting edge of technology has such a cluttered inbox, the rest of us can be forgiven for not keeping up. However, she reassures us, she is on top of the important correspondence. Speaking at VeeamOn, a conference hosted by data backup and management company Veeam in Miami, Florida, she makes the case for “audacious leadering” as the key to being on top of the rapid technological change that the coming years will bring. Continue reading

How Millennials See Meetings Differently

Millennials are the largest, most diverse, most educated and most connected generation of our time.  At 80 million in the United States alone, they are a critical demographic to attract to your meetings and conventions.  While older professionals seek the traditional meeting model, millennials are looking for something more interactive.  Instead of a speaker giving a presentation for an hour, they would rather have the majority of that hour be Q&A.  This is a generation that wants to be heard and have conversations instead of listening to a presentation straight through.  The PCMA Education Foundation found that “old-school” meeting formats are the number one repellant for millennial attendees. It’s time to change the traditional speaker and panel formats to incorporate technology and audience participation.

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How to increase speaker bureau business

5 Reasons Speaker Bureaus (and agents) Lose Business

by Mike Humphrey, CEO of Nextup Speaker Management

I have been around the speaking world since the mid-80s and have seen a radical transformation in the industry; Catalogs gave way to websites…VHS cassettes gave way to YouTube videos…faxes and mail gave way to email and Dropbox.  The digital era continues to change the rules, yet many bureaus and agents are missing how important some of these rules have become. These “blindspots” are costing them lost sales and marketshare. And all of these can be fixed.

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The Customization Myth: Why Most Speakers Can’t Make Changes To Their Speeches

By Mike Humphrey (originally published on LinkedIn)

There is a familiar frustration with organizations regarding speakers. You pay them good money to deliver a speech that really means something to your audience, and in turn, your organization. You conduct pre-event phone calls and send packets of info with the speaker. Yet they walk on stage with relatively the same speech they always deliver. It is a good speech, but might have been so much better…it could have spoken directly to the audience and made the impact that you had hoped for.

Why do so many speakers struggle with customizing their speeches? Continue reading