April 2011

Good Presentation Should Only Be Susceptible To Only One Interpretation

By | 2011-04-22T09:40:28+00:00 20 April 2011|Categories: SandBlog|Tags: , , |

You may have already heard this story in a project management or team-building session. It is told today as several people blindfolded… each standing at a different part of (but not knowing it is) an elephant. From their micro perspective each has a different interpretation.

The Blind Men and the Elephant
[click for larger view]

Author Willard Brinton begins his book Graphic Presentation explaining — in 1939 — the importance of accuracy of presentation of charts to ensure truth and clarity of presentation. Nearly 50 years before PowerPoint – people were monkeying with graphs and charts to present how they wanted the info to be interpreted… What am I thinking? I’m sure there’s a fudged chart of hunting and gathering statistics on cave wall somewhere.

You’ll see in the illustration the story begins, “It was six men of Indostan…” Indostan is an archaic term once referring to the Indostandic Peninsula, the former name of South Asia which includes: India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Maldives, and the Himalayan states Bhutan and Nepal. (thanks Wikipedia!)

This graphic is from the book Graphic Presentation written by Willard C. Brinton in 1939. The original story is “The Blind Men and the Elephant” by John Godfrey Saxe.

February 2010

Five Better Ways To Remember Lists

By | 2010-02-12T11:03:36+00:00 12 February 2010|Categories: SandBlog|Tags: , , |

Be sure to stop by the MarketingProf’s Daily Fix blog today (Friday) to read my post offering “better” ideas to remember short lists… That is, better than writing them on your hand. (It should post by 10 am EST).

MarketingProf’s Daily Fix
“Five Better Ways To Remember Lists”

As marketers and business people we are constantly called upon to be the expert – the champion. I offer a few ways that will help you promote that image.

Have a great weekend.

December 2007

Business 2.0, You Dumped Me Bad

By | 2007-12-11T10:26:12+00:00 11 December 2007|Categories: SandBlog|Tags: |


I didn’t see it coming. I hadn’t heard the rumors. When I saw the LAST ISSUE banner atop the October issue, I thought it was a joke.

In fact, I had just responded to your request to continue our relationship… I had just sent in my subscription renewal. AND I chose the 2-year option, not just 1 year. I committed to you.

Then you sent me this…



[click for larger view]

That’s it?

After all the years we’ve been together? After all the people I have introduced you to?

A torn, photocopy of a photocopy?

I mean, I appreciate you returning my payment… but I expected more from you Business 2.0.

Your response is so Business 1.0.

May 2007

Return on Investment: Illustrated (Understood)

By | 2016-05-18T15:53:23+00:00 15 May 2007|Categories: SandBlog|Tags: , , , |

Ah, the beauty of a good diagram. Picture = 1000 words.

We’re familiar with the term ‘return on investment’ or ROI. Have you ever thought through the relationships of the elements that make up ROI? Neither have I.

Here is the chain of formulas that build the ROI equation:

  • ROI = Profits / Investment, and…
  • Profits = Sales x Margins, and…
  • Margins = Price – Cost

Take a look at this same relationship illustrated…


I’m almost excited about ROI when I view this diagram. I “get” it now. ROI isn’t just about your PR budget as it relates to an increase in sales… You can see that margins, costs, and price are also factors.

It’s not rocket science… but illustrated… ROI becomes something easier to grasp.

Use this example to break down and tackle challenges. Draw them. Don’t worry, they needn’t be fine art. Discover relationships between the parts.

Transforming your problem into pieces you can view and maneuver will help you reveal the solution.

[click on diagram to download a larger PDF]

February 2007

Stock Images = False Advertising?

By | 2007-02-28T15:02:26+00:00 28 February 2007|Categories: SandBlog|Tags: , , |

Recently I needed technical support and acquired the phone number via the company’s website. The support page featured an image of the woman below…

I’m pretty darn certain the scruffy sounding guy, with the thick Brooklyn accent wasn’t her. Helpful, but not the “attractive woman” featured in the photo.

More times than not, I feel like I’ve been speaking with Greenie the Clown


Is this false advertising? Where’s the friendly looking person you featured on the website?

Fiction, I’m afraid.

Is there a chance that through phone support you would actually speak to any of these people below? Each of these actually represents a company’s phone contact.





Check out that last person. There’s no way she’s dealing with customer issues for 9-hours a day using a pad and a laptop

Perhaps we don’t want to see the honest truth. Scores of people, trained to manage irate (and a couple of happy) customers, hidden in a maze of cubicles. Wires all around. “Number of Calls in Queue” LED display. Walls plastered with the support protocol, recall notices, and response time reminders…

Doesn’t this – even a little bit – degrade the credibility of your business? Shouldn’t you take a few minute to find a clean desk and take a photo of someone actually employed by you? (Or at least outsourced by you?) In addition to being authentic, it would probably improve the morale of the folks answering your phones as well.

January 2007

Elevator Pitch: YOUR TV Show Opening Narration

By | 2011-04-13T23:17:38+00:00 30 January 2007|Categories: SandBlog|Tags: |

It’s important to have an “elevator speech.” A 30-second summary of what you’re working on to tell the boss… When meeting new people, a quick way to summarize the value of your company and what you do.

It can be challenging to boil down what you do into a short blurb… For inspiration, I suggest paying attention to the 30-second narrations at the beginning of TV shows.

At the start of each episode producers deliver the swift backstory and premise of the show. If this was our first viewing, we would understand what makes the show worth attention.

This is EXACTLY what you need for YOUR elevator pitch… What’s your 30-second blurb? Your backstory that builds awareness of the premise of you (or your project, company, etc…) and lets me know why you’re worth my attention?

For inspiration, here is the text… and some clips from some classic TV show “elevator pitches.” I’ve put mine at the bottom of this page…

Read and listen to these as if they were your own backstory. Ask yourself… Is mine as engaging? Would it make your customers want to tune in week after week?

Update: I’m sorry so many of these clips are no longer valid. Looks like the networks have asked YouTube to take them down. You can still read the intro if you can’t see the clip. I’m going to try to find new clips!

My Name Is Earl

(:30 seconds)

You know the kinda guy who does nothing but bad things and then wonders why his life sucks?

Well, that was me. Every time something good happened to me something bad was always waiting around the corner.

Karma.

That’s when I realized I had to change.

So I made a list of everything bad I’ve ever done and, one by one I’m gonna make up for all my mistakes.

I’m just trying to be a better person.

My name is Earl.

The A-Team

(20 seconds)

In 1972 a crack commando unit was sent to prison by a military court for a crime they didn’t commit.

These men promptly escaped from a maximum security stockade to the Los Angeles underground. Today, still wanted by the government, they survive as soldiers of fortune.

If you have a problem. If no one else can help. And if you can find them. Maybe you can hire…

The A-Team.

The Incredible Hulk

(1 minute :08 seconds)

Doctor David Banner. Physician. Scientist. Searching for a way to tap into the hidden strength that all humans have.

Then an accidental overdose of gamma radiation alters his body chemistry.

And now when David Banner grows angry or outraged a startling metamorphosis occurs.

The creative is driven by rage and pursued by an investigative reporter*.

“Mr. McGee… don’t make me angry… You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry.”

The creature is wanted for a murder he didn’t commit.

David Banner is believed to be dead, and he must let the world think that he is dead until he can find a way to control the raging spirit that dwells within him.

Star Trek

(:30 seconds)


Space, the final frontier.

These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise.

Its five year mission: to explore strange new worlds… to seek out new life… and new civilizations…

To boldly go where no man has gone before!

Bosom Buddies

Henry: When we first moved to New York we had a great apartment that was dirt cheap.

Kip: And we found out why it was so cheap (wrecking ball breaks through walls of apartment building).

Henry: Our friend Amy said there was a great apartment in her building. Dirt Cheap.

Kip: But it’s a hotel for women. OK! We made one adjustment. (Henry and Kip are dressed as women).

Henry: Now these other ladies know us as Buffy and Hildegarde.

Kip: But they also know us as Kip and Henry, Buffy and Hildy’s brothers. I’m crazy about the blonde.

Henry: This experience is going to make a great book.

Kip: See it’s all perfectly normal.

(Theme Music: “My Life” by Billy Joel)

Six Million Dollar Man

1 minute, 20 seconds

Opens with video of Steve Austin crashing while test piloting an aircraft.

Steve Austin. Astronaut. A man barely alive.

Gentlemen, we can rebuild him.

WE have the technology.

We have the capability to make the world’s first bionic man.

Steve Austin will be that man. Better than he was before.

Better. Stronger. Faster.

Even more…

As typical… the Internet is a storehouse of information you never knew existed.

Here is a link to a site called TV Acres that has a comprehensive listing of TV show narrations

Idea Sandbox Elevator Pitch

(:20 seconds)

Problem Solver Paul Williams. Creative. Clever. Searching for a way to tap into the hidden strength that all humans have. (Imagination)

To boldly go where no brand has gone before!

WE have the technology.

We have the capability to make the world’s best iconic brand.

Yours can be that brand. Better than it was before.

Better. Stronger. Faster.

If you have a problem. If no one else can help. And if you can find me. Maybe you can hire…

My name is Idea Sandbox.

Paul: This experience is going to make a great book.

I made that faux elevator pitch using lines from many of the TV shows…

*I never understood why David Banner was so afraid of the investigative reporter. I’ve worked with many reporters over the years. While they ask some tough questions – none of them have inspired me to flee from town to town…

Periodic Table of Visualization Methods

By | 2009-03-06T12:25:42+00:00 15 January 2007|Categories: SandBlog|Tags: , , , |

Ever have information you need to present but just don’t know how to organize it? Knowing a picture is worth a thousand words – something visual would be just the trick.

Get inspired by the Periodic Table of Visual Methods on the Visual Literacy website.

Periodic Table of Visualization Methods

(Click images for a larger view).

Visit the website and roll your mouse over any ‘element’ and it presents you with a sample image of that visualization method.

Parameter Ruler Detail

I can’t wait to use some of these… A well-presented tool and an awesome resource.

Enjoy!