August 08, 2013

2007: Shooting Over The Audience

Five popular songs from 2007:
  • "Irreplaceable" - Beyonce
  • "Umbrella" - Rihanna featuring Jay-Z
  • "The Sweet Escape" - Gwen Stefani featuring Akon
  • "Big Girls Don't Cry" - Fergie
  • "Buy U a Drank" - T-Pain featuring Yung Joc
I left Nordstrom in March 2007. Six years, folks. Times change, and companies need an infusion of new thoughts - without an infusion of new thoughts, companies stagnate.

I would launch a new opportunity - MineThatData - with a presentation at NEMOA. I would introduce "Multichannel Forensics" to five hundred catalog marketers.

I had problems connecting the laptop to the projector.

I had problems with screen resolution, causing the top of each slide to stretch - causing the bottom of each slide to compress.

And the content sailed right over the top of everybody, gently gliding off into the ether.

As one attendee told my wife (who was sitting in the back of the auditorium - nobody knew who she was) ... "I sure wouldn't want to be that guy, he's dying up there!"

At the end of an uncomfortable fifty minutes, the individual who asked me to speak (we worked together in various vendor/client relationships for more than a decade) said "some of the more advanced attendees figured out what you were trying to communicate."  He never spoke to me again.

Big lesson, folks.

In order for the audience to understand what we're sharing, we have a tendency to dumb everything down into hopelessly awful sound bytes:

  • "A social brand is a successful brand"
  • "Brands not fluent in mobile will be dead by Holiday 2013"
  • "Omnichannel retailing is the future, and integrated campaigns are the path to the future"
Conversely, you have somebody like me - presenting content that flies into the stratosphere, when it should easily penetrate your soul.

These are the two mistakes we're making - every single day - dumb it down or geek it up.

The middle ground - sound techniques, solid communication skills, that's where change happens.