Articulating Ideas that are worth spreading
Some random ramblings I wrote in Jan 2010- but publishing only now.
I love the punchline for TED. This is how punchlines should be- packed with impact, attitude and clarity of message.
TED is an annual event where some of the world’s leading thinkers and doers are invited to share what they are most passionate about. “TED” stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design — three broad subject areas that are, collectively, shaping our future. And in fact, the event is broader still, showcasing ideas that matter in any discipline. Attendees have called it “the ultimate brain spa” and “a four-day journey into the future.”
But that is not the subject of this post.
While I have heard many people speak at TED. Most speakers are huge achievers. They are masters in their field and area of expertise.
But there is another peculiar thing. The really well accepted ones are the ones who – apart from hold on the subject matter, can also articulate it. Ar-ti-culate. Being a subject matter expert is almost secondary. The primary thing there- is to be able to express what you want to say in the most engaging manner.
Now this is curious.
If Einstein existed today, it would not have been enough to ‘just propound the theory of relativity’. He would be expected to Ar-Ti-Culate. In a manner that an audience- possibly not from his line of study, could understand what that theory meant.
In today’s time and age- you have to be a “bollywood Star”. You no longer have to be good with just acting. You need to not only be able to act- but also dance around trees, look good, Action expert and what not.
If we see some of the more famous writers of today for example, most are great orators and have a great stage presence. They use it very effectively to market their works and spread their ideas.In my line of work, I could take the example of Malcom Gladwell and Seth Godin- two of the most prolific (marketing philosophy) thinkers and writers of recent times.
They ‘package’ themselves- both through articulation and presence. Seth with his shiny bald top and Gladwell with his curly beehive growth.
There are others that one sees- people who use the web as a platform to position themselves. I am not talking about the likes of the popular ‘Robert Scoble’ or ‘Michael Arrington’ here. They have been more like web journos for want of a better word. I am talking about people who are from other industries but have achieved success largely due to the internet- which has helped distribute and spread their ideas.
I wish I had some Asian examples to balance the perspective. But I do not. Yet.
Then there is Gary Waynerchuck of the wine factory who uses the Internet very very effectively. And his main business is selling wines. Not of the same intellectual level as Godin and Gladwell, but what he lacks in intellectualism, he makes it up by his passion. The unbridled enthusiasm just oozes through his talks and that’s what amazed people.
It is no longer about the object ONLY (seat of the president, the book or the movie) It is hugely about the personality.
It is not a new phenomenon- it has been there before- we have seen politicians like Nixon, Kennedy, Churchill and Nehru and even those who are infamous now- Hitler and Mussolini- touted as orators who could move the crowds.
However the difference is that with the advent of the internet, this difference is HUGE.
Think Apple. Now think Apple without Steve Jobs. If Steve Jobs had a different personality- and if he never introduced his new products would Apple still be the same? Maybe it would. But with his personality the whole Apple thing gets such a boost, it is not funny.
The crucial difference? The Steve Jobs brand rubs off Apple. Not the other way round.
Think about it. If you are a blogger- go speak in conferences. If you are a photographer- go write a blog (and have a personality), if you are a wine taster bring attitude in selling wine.
Think About It
PS: Wrote this piece in jan 2010 but publishing only now. Needs better articulation ironically- but better it sees the light of the day than rot in drafts :p