Presentation! Presentation! Presentation!

On November 29, 2008, in Good Advice, by Steffen Itterheim

This week we had a 4 hour long Presentation marathon at work. 16 ten minute presentations were held by team members in front of almost the whole team … at least 40-50 people. Obviously i can’t talk about the content and purpose of these presentations.

But i’m more interested to talk about how the speakers presented their ideas anyway. As you might be aware, what’s often said about presentations is that 90% of them suck. I think we were definetely above the mean but there were clearly bad presentations as well.

What helped me in my presentation was the book “Made to Stick” which arrived just the day before we held the presentations. There wasn’t much time to make any major adjustments but just by reading the book’s Introduction i could make some changes to steer my presentation in the right direction.

Of course this book doesn’t help you come up with a fresh idea in the first place, nor does it teach you how to speak in front of an audience. But it will be helpful if you have to present your idea as the thirteenth presentation when the audience is already tired and due to information overflow harder to impress. It could give your idea and the presentation of it the “kick” it requires to stick. To have people talk about it afterwards.

It will also make you more confident in your idea and how you present it – in that regard maybe it actually can help you get by all the nervosity? As for me, i was definetely nervous, i was a complete wreck. The whole day up to the presentation i felt going-on-a-first-date times ten kind of nervous. When it was my turn to present, suddenly it all went away because i knew what i had to say, i had confidence in my idea and its presentation. That was a complete turnaround emotionally, and that feeling stuck. If not the idea, then the confidence i have in it and that’s what you need to get it across.

Getting to the other presentations, the ones i felt failed to impress the most were those that were created to be the “obvious candidate” as much as possible. My opinion is that you can’t sell an idea by making it as attractive as possible to those who decide about it. You have to have a vision and present that as a fresh idea – you should be prepared for questions about feasibility but don’t present anything just because it’s “possible to do”.

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I am an adult and i can’t download …

On November 25, 2008, in Opinion Pieces, by Steffen Itterheim

… all the games i would like to. DooM, Duke Nukem 3D, Dead Space Demo – all unavailable on Xbox Live in my region. My Region? Germany, of course.

Now i know that we have certain prohibitive laws and such that limit the amount of advertising, or lack thereof, for certain “censored” games. However, it is completely possible to order such games online or buy them in a store – then why not on Xbox Live? I wouldn’t mind registering my account with proof of my age to Microsoft to be able to download the games that are currently banned from german Xbox Live.

And yes, i know the tricks of the trade. The “credit card fraud” trick where you simply enter a valid US address didn’t work when i tried it late in 2006. Obviously the credit card now had to be a valid card from the particular country or something like that. But at least you could create a US or Austrian or even a Japanese account to get your hands on the demos and trials only available in those regions.

But these days are also counted, i can’t even download the trial for Duke Nukem 3D with an Austrian account anymore. We all know the german anti-violent games laws are criminal in themselves, mostly because they are useless. But that we adults can’t even get to these games, it not only bothers me, it depresses me. This shows where the “lowest common denominator” thinking will lead us, and i feel offended by it because it limits my freedom of choice.

UPDATE: there’s so much more to this issue … if you can read german you can read up on the private blog of the german Xbox Product Manager Boris Schneider-Johne. His blog is surprisingly and refreshingly open, well worth a read.

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Nxet Gen?

On November 21, 2008, in Opinion Pieces, by Steffen Itterheim

My Avatar

So, the NXE (New Xbox Experience) is online for a few days. We all had some time to play with it. There’s two things i find noteworthy:

Now that it’s out, people don’t seem to talk about it that much. Either everyone’s busy exploring it, or most people realized that it’s just a user interface and nothing to get excited about, really. Which can be a good thing … if the interface isn’t the first thing you’re going to be talking about rather than what it enables you to do, they (Microsoft) must have done something right.

Many Avatars look a lot like the gamer who created it. I find it surprising to see that i can actually tell from the Avatar who of my friends it is – not because i’ve made the connection of that particular Avatar with the Gamertag but because i recognize these people. This is weird, i kind of expected everyone to go for something weird and crazy. But since there aren’t so many options to make those crazy Avatars, why not just try to sketch yourself? I like that.

My GamerpictureStill, i scrapped my kinda-looks-like-me Avatar after two days to see what is possible in the crazy direction. I mean, after all, i’m a little crazy (just a little … the rest of me is split equally between foolish and childish). So this “teddy bear” Avatar is what i came up with. Interestingly, the mouth i chose is labeled “angry”. I just hope there will be more costumization options soon, especially in the clothing department there isn’t much to choose from.

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