Slushy Speeches

I just left Slush Asia 2016 with a new presentation approach.

I originally was going to speak about "How to hire and build your startup team". As I started preparing for the presentation, I found myself talking more about tactics - details of which I felt was too boring for the audience.

I've had this feeling before when I talk about soft skills like hiring and leading. Oftentimes, these topics descend into common sense truisms that add no incremental value. The world of live speeches doesn't need another person to recommend "leading with passion".

I thought about doing an inspirational talk instead. Usually, I'm don't present without research, facts, and empirical data to back up conclusions. I don't present with stories.

But I remembered Admiral McRaven's commencement speech, where he weaved life lessons with anecdotal stories. The speech is fantastic with over YouTube 3.8 million views.

So I tried different. I chose to do an inspirational talk about leading. Instead of super tactical, I went opposite and super high-level.

I finished writing my speech 2.5 hours before my talk. The SimpleNote version of it is here.

The feedback so far is that it worked. The one negative feedback (from Mait Mantel, CEO of Lingvist) is that instead of reading it, I should have memorized it and connected with the audience.