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Showing posts from January, 2010

If Fish Could Draw II: Reflecting Spheres and the Search for Old Paintings

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In September 2009 I blogged about how the limitations of one media often drive creativity in another (If Fish Could Draw, 28 September 2009).One of the examples I gave was the art of Catarina Kruusval , whose illustrations are sometimes drawn with distorted verticals and perspective like the view from a fisheye lens.I am still convinced that she was inspired by wide angle lenses but it turns out I was rash to say that this view had never been seen until such lenses were invented.

Artists have, in fact, been looking at this kind of perspective since they first made metal spheres shiny enough to reflect a wide angle image. There is a famous picture of MC Escher holding a shiny sphere in his hand and observing the reflected image; he used this sphere in the 1920’s and 1930’s to make woodcuts and lithographs where he was at the center. I will be very surprised if nobody thought of this before Escher.

One earlier example is a photograph taken in 1910 by an unknown amateur photographer an…

When it’s a Good Idea to Use the B Word: Two Simple PR Lessons from the Nestlé Baby Milk Saga

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Preparing for a lecture about how a PR crisis can become “chronic” I have been fact checking some case studies such as the long running “Nestlé Boycott”.This case is very interesting in many ways, but today I have noted two apparently trivial details that are instructive for anyone who is creating content for websites, blogs and social media.My first step in research is often to google the topic and the search string I chose for the first attempt was “nestle boycott” – a fairly obvious choice.Scanning the results I noted that this search locates all the content produced by the boycott campaign -- www.babymilkaction.org for example -- and the helpful Wikipedia page but it does not find any response from the Nestlé company. By searching the company website very diligently I was able to find at least one document that includes what is effectively a company response -- buried in a 1999 speech at http://www.nestle.com/MediaCenter/SpeechesAndStatements/AllSpeechesAndStatements/09_30_1999.ht…

Seven and a Half Things to do When Someone Asks You to Deliver Their Presentation

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When I coach people in speaking and presenting skills I always ask what they need to know about and especially what they fear the most. Pretty consistently the nightmare of most people is having to present something that someone else has prepared. These are mostly people who are already confident presenters of their own material but they dread being handed a pile of possibly poor quality slides and having to stand up and present them.


Fortunately there are some tried and tested methods for dealing with this problem and I have distilled them into a quick checklist of seven and a half things to do. I hope this helps you one day.

CHECKLIST:Seven and a Half Things to Do When Someone Asks You to Deliver Their Presentation

1. CONSIDER SAYING NO. Say no when there is no advantage to you, but consider benefits to relationships and career if you accept.

2. TALK TO THE AUTHOR. Talk with the creator of the presentation even if they have only a few minutes. If you just have one minute use that…