As most of you know, I have long been an avid sports fan, but golf was always far from my favorite sport.
While I am still not ready to go out and throw down a few hundred dollars for a set of new clubs, I am happy to admit that I am warming up to the game at an astonishingly fast pace.
And it all has to do with an app.
When I got my new iPhone 4S for my birthday in March, one of the first apps I was able to download with the new phone was one specifically created for following The Masters. I thought it would be a neat tool to follow all the buzz that surrounds the tournament, but what I found far exceeded my expectations…
The Masters app features a live leader board, video clips of current matches, a video archive of interviews with players from the current and recent tournaments, and a whole bunch more content that shows why the Masters is so well-received among sports fans.
For many years, I have been an avid reader of John Feinstein. Reading several of his books on golf has helped me to develop an interest in the game, and the respect and awe he displays when writing about The Masters and Augusta National are hard to ignore. He has led me to believe that Augusta National excels in the marketing of The Masters as the most prestigious (and exclusive) golf tournament in the world. The app lends itself to that thinking perfectly, as a complete tool for golf fans of all interest levels to enjoy.
Next year’s tournament may be a full year away, but check out the app and get a head start on all the action from Augusta. Trust me, few apps can compare in sheer quality, while also preserving the name of one of the most prestigious brands in all of sport.
Why in the world don’t I post more material on Tumblr?
Well, there is never a better time to change habits than the present. So, to break my habit of not keeping this account teeming with the intellectual tidbits that you have come to expect from me, I decided to share my memories of the first Pecha Kucha night to be held in my beloved hometown of Scranton, Pennsylvania.
Pecha Kucha, you say? What in the world might that be?
For starters, the way it is pronounced (sounding like one complete word) makes it sound like an item that you would order from the ethnic food stand at most any church picnic in NEPA. But the term is in fact of Japanese origin, referring to the sound of human conversation. An appropriate title, because as I found out, Pecha Kucha challenges presenters to make the most of the time and resources available to them.
20 slides in a Microsoft PowerPoint presentation. 20 seconds for each slide, with slides advancing automatically. That creates a window of six minutes and 40 seconds to tell your story, whatever it may be about.
Pecha Kucha is not just a presentation style, but a worldwide organisational phenomenon. From Madrid to Melbourne, groups have been organizing and presenting hundreds of Pecha Kucha nights since the format was devised by two Toyko-based architects in 2003. Now, through the efforts of brothers Brad and James Peniston. The duo founded a regular Pecha Kucha night in Philadelphia several years ago at a yoga studio owned by James. Now, in keeping with their trend of traveling around the northeastern U.S. each winter and visiting new cities with a historical edge, the brothers decided to bring Pecha Kucha to Scranton.
After hearing about the event through multiple sources, I shot a few emails to Brad, and my slot as a presenter was booked. I decided to present on my group project with the current class of Leadership Lackawanna, which is titled “Restore the Slope.” Our mission is to restore the Oil House, the smallest of the three buildings at the site of the former Gravity Slope Colliery in Archbald, Pa.
Despite being very familiar with the venue and many of the presenters, and reading some great tips for first-time presenters provided by Brad, I was a bit unsure about how the whole process would work out. Even leading up to my slot on the schedule- I was second out of eight presenters- I must admit that I had a few butterflies churning around inside.
As soon as I came to the podium, the presentation flowed freely. And from what I gathered, the assembled crown (which packed the front portion of The Vintage Theater) enjoyed my speech and learned a great deal about the Restore the Slope project in the process.
It was a pleasure to join existing friends, and to make several new acquaintances. But from a public speaking perspective, I must say that Pecha Kucha is a great tool for exercising your creative genus on the topic of public presentation. With less than seven minutes to leave a lasting impression with your audience, Pecha Kucha forces the presenter to focus his or her efforts on creating and delivering a concise message. It also encourages creative design of PowerPoint presentations, which helps us all when the inevitable public speaking engagement comes up in our profesisonal lives. If there was one thing I wish I had done differently, it would have been to make a more visually diverse PowerPoint presentation….now I know better for next time!
In closing, the first-ever Pecha Kucha night in Scranton was a rousing success. My friend and neighbor Mandy Boyle, who played a key role in organizing this event, is looking into future presentations. I hope that this is just the start for such outings, and that we can see Pecha Kucha nights becoming a regular feature in the mix of great arts and entertainment options in Scranton and NEPA.