Staying out of the Keynote rut

It’s really easy to prolong the preparation of a talk by noodling around in Keynote. You feel like you’re making progress… but it’s a dangerous illusion.

What works for me is to use stickies (surprise!). Each stickie represents an idea, which then gets split into slides as the idea is developed into talking points. Dump ideas, shuffle them around, run through the flow, repeat.

And stay out of Keynote until the flow is rock solid!

Starting a Keynote file with only a vague sense of what you’re going to talk about is diving head-first into a frustrating rabbit hole, where panic mounts as the date gets closer.

Photos are a behind-the-scenes look at preparing for our talk at RTL: 

Talking about chat bots at Ride the Lightning vol. 24

So, this is where the stickies ended up. There’s a loose color system to indicate section breaks, and assignments on who would take which parts. It’s pretty unimpressive, I know, but this moment comes with the confidence to give a talk without looking for words.

After this, we dove into slide production mode for a few hours and gave the talk. No dress rehearsal.

It was the first time I’d done it with a co-speaker but I found it worked especially well in this case because we were equally familiar and comfortable with the general flow. It allowed for smooth transitions, a few adlibs, and we were able to give a 30min talk that felt natural and conversational. 

Slack for iOS Upload-65


Talking about chat bots at Ride the Lightning vol. 24

At the AQ Tokyo office, we run an event series called Ride the Lightning.

AFAIK, RTL is the only regular meetup in Tokyo that brings together not only Japanese and English audiences but also designers and developers.

In this edition, we even had an all-female speaker line-up 😉 I teamed up with Marion to give a 30min talk about chat bots and AI and that kind of thing. As always, an excellent turnout and conversation.

Tonight was all about chat bots at AQ. For Ride the Lightning vol. 24, we welcomed the Subot team to share their learned dos and donts of designing a helpful and humane chatbot . Then AQ’s own Marion and Tomomi introduced some recent advances in bot technology, the best examples we’ve seen in the wild, and a few thoughts on what it means to design one.

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A workshop on user research at the Intrapreneurship Conference

I had the opportunity to give a 80 minute talk to a wonderfully engaged audience at the Intrapreneurship Conference, organized at Numa.

Asking your own questions and knowing how to find answers are key to reducing uncertainty as you build out ideas. In this session on user experience research, we’ll talk about different ways to get actionable insights on user behaviors, needs and motivations. I’ll share my triumphs and failures working with research and product teams of all sizes, and we’ll go through activities to learn how to design a qualitative research project.

It was my first talk to a non-practitioner crowd. To get across the message that the key to effective user research is to ask the right questions, I chose that (rather than interview techniques and methodologies) the focus of the interactive segment of the talk.

The audience first paired up and interviewed each other about apps that they’d stopped using. Afterwards, we workshopped different ways to build hypotheses, frame questions, and carry out research. People were very energized and so was I, with a vibrant feeling of I-can-do-this-and-this-is-really-good in the air!

Event report: UX Jam New Year Resolution in Tokyo

The UX design meetup scene in Tokyo has grown and diversified in the last two years, and it’s been interesting to see the different range of faces that join in on the festivities.

UX Jam, a regular event series from the online magazine UX Milk, is the new kid on the block. Their last event was “UX Jam New Year Resolution” and I gave a short talk on three topics I want to explore in 2016.

  1. Building distributed teams that cross timezones, languages
  2. Riding the wave of design sprints to come
  3. Exploring the role of a UX designer beyond product and even digital

Paris Founders Event, New York Edition

Rude Baguette is a fantastic English language media covering the French startup scene and I’ve been enjoying the Paris Founders Night since relocating to Paris last year. This one was especially cool, as it was a special New York edition held at Hotel de Ville – the Paris City Hall.

Read about the official event report to learn about the five startups that were featured in this edition.

The PFE format is very well thought out. The highlights are the startup pitches that are carefully selected from a long audition process. What’s special is that they focus purely on product demos. No talk about funding, business plans, or concept videos. Just five cool live demos. Refreshing, right?

And in between, the always exuberant Liam Boogar facilitates discussions between a group of high profile experts on a specific topic. For example, we heard four French founders openly sharing both the gory and glorious sides of setting up shop in New York. Last year, there were 4-5 founders of the most successful French Kickstarter hardware campaigns on stage at the same time. Even the sponsor sessions are interesting because the person representing the brand has a personal commitment, and not just an organizational one…

Liam wrapped up the event by touching upon some of the insights from the latest European Digital City Index to detail how the French ecosystem has grown up and where we might be going next. You can read more about that in this article.

Liam kicking it off
Liam kicking it off