After receiving David's suggestion in the comments under this post, I ended up speaking about those sunsets. You know, the ones you take pictures of. I think it went well - I managed to mention how sunsets are linked to death, but then end on a rather upbeat note, which was a relief, as I spoke at the end of the day and there was no-one to be upbeat after me.
Thank you Russell for organising it. And thank you to Marcus, whose video contribution to my sunsets bit has now turned into an informative series.
While I was in Manchester, I talked to lots of people. Most of them wanted to know what the secret of starting a successful business is. I don't really have any smart answers. I usually say things like "have a great idea", "keep it really simple", "don't ever expect to get rich" and "stay away from the import/export of live animals, unless you have the correct licence."
None of these are very useful, but they're true.
The people who ask for help and advice always give me their business cards, just in case. So I thought I would start posting their business cards up here. After all, there may be a product or service here that one of you (the reader) might be interested in. It's kind of like speed networking, but with much less chance of things happening. Oh well.
I did a talk in Manchester last week. It was a breakfast talk, so people encountered me whilst drinking coffee and eating pastries. Some of them looked awake. The talk was in the G-Mex, which made me think of MC Tunes. He wasn't there on the day but his spirit lives on.
Going up to Manchester was good – I got to see my friend Ben (old friend) and I met the men from Thoughtful. They've been sending me little ideas and thoughts for a few months now, just because they can, which is very thoughtful of them. I had a cold and James from Thoughtful had heard this news (probably from Twitter or some other bit of digital chit chat) and brought me some Lockets. Very thoughtful. They also filmed the talk – something to watch once you've done more pressing things, like raking up the leaves, ironing your hankies or perhaps polishing your collection of commemorative spoons.
I got a nice email from someone the day after the talk. She said "I have been dicking about for the last six months thinking about leaving [her current employer] to go do my own thing. After seeing you speak the lights went on and today I resigned." Oh, the magic of Powerpoint.
For those who couldn't afford £600 to go to the Applied Green conference the other day, here's something from the people at Thoughtful.
We recently attended the Applied Green conference organised by Haymarket. Everyone at Thoughtful would have liked to have attended such an important event, with such notable speakers, but the ticket price meant we had to draw straws – James won.
So everyone didn't miss out, James took with him a small camera and an ipod to record some of the speakers just for everyone back at the studio.
And, being Thoughtful we'd thought it was a good idea to share these talks with other people who couldn't attend.
Of course, we wouldn't do this without the permission of the speakers themselves – and we're pleased to say, everyone thinks it's a great idea, and is very happy to have their talk blogged.
There's plenty of coughing and hissing on these recordings (the hissing is down to our basic kit, not an angry audience), so we'd suggest plugging in a set of headphones to listen to them. And, if you want to read a transcript of these talks, several of the speakers have already posted them on their own blogs.
I will be speaking at the Little Big Voice lectures at the weekend. As usual with these sorts of things, I wonder what I should talk about and whether it'll be any good.
My general area of chat will be 'It's not what you say, it's how you say it'. Sounds quite snappy, apart from the fact that I don't quite know yet what I'm going to say or how I'm going to say it.
I know that there are some smart people who read this blog, so if you fancy letting me know what sort of stuff you'd like to hear if you were in the audience, that would be great. And if you are going to be there, definitely let me know what you'd like me to go on about.
I guess I will talk a little about innocent, a little about my views on writing and giving a young brand a voice. Any other claptrap I can wow people with before they jump on their skateboards and head for the sunset?
So I've been away. I had a great time but it was so good to get home. I've never come home to my family before and it was a pretty special thing to do. I think Ruby was happy to see me (she banged her wooden spoon on the kitchen table even harder than usual to celebrate).
The first stop on my trip was Gent in Belgium. I did a talk at the Stichting Marketing Conference, which is the biggest event of its kind in Belgium. I told everyone the story of innocent and how we do things, I got to wear a proper head mic for the first time and there was some clapping at the end - a success.
I almost didn't make it. Got to Waterloo to get on the train, realised I'd left my passport at home and then missed the train. Idiot. But it all got sorted - I extend my thanks to a kind motorbike courier for whisking my passport from NW10 to SE1 and to a really fast French taxi driver (Lille to Gent in about 3 minutes - nice driving).
Most of all, I'd like to say thanks to our innocent people in Holland and Belgium, for making sure that I got there OK. Niels and Inge - I'm sorry you have to work with such a dunderhead.
Niels (second from right) and Inge (far right) celebrate my eventual arrival in Gent with some cold beer
Does anyone have any links to great presentations? Or have any great presentations that they'd like to share? Or good clips of good/bad stuff happening whilst people are presenting? Good stuff I've found so far is this by Dick Hardt (via Influx), a collection of Apple bloopers to show how stuff can go wrong, Russell's advice and a few things of my own.
The reason I ask is that I run a course at innocent on presenting. We do most of our training in-house and that's the bit that I take responsibility for. I already have clips of Ballmer and Gates to illustrate how (not to) talk to people, as well as the stuff I mentioned initially, but if you've got any good bits, I'm all ears.
All help appreciated and if I get any good stuff I'll post it back up here to share.