Sunday, June 26, 2011

Presenting: An Enchanting look at push & pull technologies

I finished Guy Kawasaki's Enchantment on a recent flight and since then, I've been struggling with how (not whether, that was easy) to share aspects of it with my students next fall. This would be a slam-dunk in the Business department, but what would make sense for incoming freshmen in my world of first-year seminars and basic tech?

I could certainly just add the book to my list of recommended readings. It's too late to add it to required readings, and in any case that would shatter Guy's mood in advance. The problem with each option in this world of broken textbook models (ask any university library or publisher) is this: required is a draconian word that means you don't pass the course without it, while recommended means it'll never be on the test, so hand me that game controller.

OK, stealth it is. They'll get some tips and then be pointed to the source and to Guy's online world. Fortunately, my classes incorporate virtual communities and social media, so it makes sense to provide a role model, someone who's doing online right. There are two chapters clearly at the intersection of "what enchanted George" and the actual subject matter of my courses:

Chapter 8: How to Use Push Technology
Chapter 9: How to Use Pull Technology

Guy's table of contents came in handy at this point since it's also a checklist (complete with checkboxes) of the chapter topics. As a classroom instructor I am interested in better presentations from myself and from my students, so Chapter 8's section on presentations will be my opening. Rather, it will be Guy's opening. I'm going to set the bar rather high for my class by leading with a better "hook" than I can design:

Guy's standing-o presentation at Indus Entrepreneur 2006. (Multiple formats available at the link!)

Guy talks a little about the above Art of the Start presentation on page 123 of Enchantment. I thought he was exaggerating but no, he really knocks it out of the park. (Hockey fans will pardon the baseball reference.)

Over the summer (when most of us do our fall course planning) I'll flesh out the rest, but that's a start. Suggestions/comments welcome of course!

BTW, I will also be explicitly sharing the Chapter 8 epigraph from philosophy professor John R. Searle, which may just hold its own as a class topic:

Because we do not understand the brain very well we are constantly tempted to use the latest technology as a model for trying to understand it. In my childhood we were always assured that the brain was a telephone switchboard. ("What else could it be?") I was amused to see that Sherrington, the great British neuroscientist, thought that the brain worked like a telegraph system. Freud often compared the brain to hydraulic and electro-magnetic systems. Leibniz compared it to a mill, and I am told some of the ancient Greeks thought the brain functions like a catapult. At present, obviously, the metaphor is the digital computer.
* Book cover from used by permission.


  1. I just started reading this at the weekend. Really enjoying it so far. Hope your students take the time to read it, after all it's not heavy going :)

  2. usabilitygal, I think a few will be tempted into the book by Guy's online presence. It is an enjoyable read that complements his online voice well!