WordPress, Podcasts and ‘Real World Clients’.

I’ve just delivered a couple of talks at ‘WMUG‘, a group run by Mike Little one of the co-founders of the crazily popular WordPress system. The first was on the podcasting and the second was on  ‘Real World Clients’.

I’ve already posted on how I created the podcast over on my design blog, and if you’re interested the podcast itself, interviewing people who use applied improvisation in their work, it’s here.

Real World Clients.

Despite doing stand up comedy forever I’ve never got up and talked about my design work – ever, let alone my experiences with clients. I’m totally comfortable getting up and talking. In fact chatting to the group beforehand, I think that was my worry. In comparison to being Danny Pensive this was a ‘zero pressure gig’. My desire to entertain, rather than inform could easily take me take me way off topic very quickly. Without high stakes I could get sloppy.

Having said that I was really worried about throwing myself under the bus. There would be other developers in the room and I wasn’t just telling stories, but also talking about my work processes, potentially laying myself open for judgement. So actually there was a bit of pressure, but not the kind that i’m used to. That’s good, a bit of performance pressure is better than not at all.

So I dipped back down the last five or six years of work history and picked out a dozen or so projects, then mashed them all together. Mixing old real world situations I’ve come up against with a bit traditional narrative structure. A call to action here and a stink of death there and pretty soon had something I could work with and relate back to WordPress.

It was a success I thought, in fact putting my comedians head back on…I think there might be a show in this.

 

 

 

My Top 5 TEDx talks of 2016.

For a bit of inspiration  in 2017, here’s my top 5 pick of TEDx talks in 2016. It’s the end of the year. Sad though it is I’m not going to dwell on the number of famous and talented deceased. We’re all going to die one day, and I don’t mean to be morbid. If anything it’s a reminder to me to get busy, make a mark and do good work.

Tim Urban: Inside the mind of a master procrastinator

“You call it procrastination, I call it thinking.” once said Aaron Sorkin. Tim Urban has a great blog and I even have his grim but refreshing life calendar. Here he explains why people tend to put things off until the last minute, and why that’s sometimes ok. Inspiration.

Mike Rowe: Learning from dirty jobs

I chanced upon Mike Rowe as I was listening to loads of podcasts and prepping to launch my own . As well being funny and shocking there’s a valuable lesson about ‘doing it the right way’, Aristotle and goats testicles.

Dave Morris: The Way of Improvisation

Dave Morris’s seven steps to improvising is a great refresher as to why improv is such a valuable learning tool. Play, listening, allowing failure as part of the process.

Susan Greenfield: Technology & the human mind

Are our attention spans getting shorter? Susan Greenfield gives a great talk about how children’s minds develop and the effect technology. The effect social media is having on our ability to engage and have quality interactions, i.e. Texting is bad. This is stuff that comes up in some of my training workshops, when we talk about the value of unspoken communication. I do draw issue with one point. Being a gamer I’d argue there are some role playing games which engage at an emotional level in a way that books cannot, and it’s an unfair comparison, as the engagement level is different. All good points to bring up though.

Diana Nyad: Never, ever give up

I watched this on a flight to the USA at a time I was feeling pretty down and feeling old. Listening to Diana Nyad’s was akin to a hand come out the screen and slap me across the face. Good health intact, age is relative and pretty irrelevant. Every year is a year to build and improve. Swimming with jellyfish and sharks at 64?

Thanks for reading my blog, and Happy New Year.

John Cooper. Inspiration for 2017. My top 5 TED Talks of 2016.
John Cooper. Inspiration for 2017. My top 5 TED Talks of 2016.