Paul Ford continues to be an inspiration, even if ftrain.com isn’t as active as it once was. You really should go read the archives if somehow you haven’t explored them before.
20 years is arbitrary nonsense. A blip. Our software is bullshit, our literary essays are too long, the good editors all quit or got fired, hardly anyone is experimenting with form in a way that wakes me up, the IDEs haven’t caught up with the 1970s, the R&D budgets are weak, the little zines are badly edited, the tweets are poor, the short stories make no sense, people still care too much about magazines, the Facebook posts are nightmares, LinkedIn has ruined capitalism, and the big tech companies that have arisen are exhausting, lumbering gold-thirsty kraken that swim around with sour looks on their face wondering why we won’t just give them all our gold and save the time … In the spirit of this thing I won’t be editing this paragraph.
Thanks for sharing what you know!
Paul Ford recently shared some of his speaking tips on the Postlight blog.
I’m finding that it’s very important to just get up there and talk a little bit, make some dumb jokes, let people get used to you existing. A lot of times I talk about the status of the talk (“this is a new talk and I’ll be glad to hear what you think”).
I’m noticing that this style of presenting is very adaptable; when you’re in a small room you can turn it into a conversation and bring in the audience; when you’re speaking to hundreds of people, and engagement is not possible, you can just keep plowing ahead but it’s still like you’re just having a fun chat instead of holding forth. You can even do a kind of professorial “Oh! Right!” as if the deck was surprising you, and both you and the audience were just seeing this information for the first time together and you were merely riffing.
I highly recommend that you try to find some way to go see Paul give a talk.
We’re really into the idea of subscribers giving us money in exchange for our product … I honestly, honestly do not say that we are doing it the right way, but I don’t believe people know the right way. We are doing it in an interesting way and we are not spending very much to make that happen.
There’s also a bit about his intention of creating a Metafilter-style community for subscribers. This is a wonderful idea and I hope to join it one day.