One of my favorite things to do as a public speaker is improvise something that draws an explicit connection between my talk and another session the audience has just seen. Sometimes it’s a simple verbal nod. Sometimes it’s new slides with fresh quotes. And sometimes, apparently, it’s racing about downtown Seattle over a lunch break in search of props to cosplay as the King of Swords:
It took a full hour and five dead-ends, but my sixth stop, Nordstrom, came through in the clutch with the above delightful combination of silky rainbow sword and sequined crown for my keynote presentation at Button. Unfortunately and hilariously, we repaid their service with a faux DDOS attack after someone dropped the link for the sword in the conference Slack.
I’ll be honest, never once in my life had I previously cared about Tarot. But I greatly admire Candi Williams, and her excellent morning session used Tarot cards as character archetypes to describe different approaches to higher-order strategy and collaboration for content designers.
One approach Candi described was “Big King Energy”: leading from the perspective of structure, clarity, and rules. (Kings can also be stubborn and dogmatic in their approach — guilty!)
In chatting with friends about her session (thanks Michael!), I realized the approach I was planning to advocate in my own session was exactly that — in particular, that of the King of Swords, whom I learned from some urgent Googling can represent clarity and intellectual power. Bam! That’s exactly what I’m talking about, friends: Clarity Through Content Strategy. I remain unapologetically dogmatic in my belief that content strategy can and should fight ambiguity: to establish conceptual cohesion for the organization/brand, and to provide functional operational clarity for the people doing the work on digital product teams. It’s what this discipline was born to do.
Anyway, it was great fun menacing the Button audience with a silly sword, and the overall bit became a brief sensation, for which I’m quite grateful. It’s been a truly delightful time this week in eerily-warm-and-sunny Seattle. My emotional battery has been deeply drained for far too much of this year. And while its overall capacity still feels diminished, this week it did finally start to take a charge.
Heads up that early-bird pricing ends today for the final training workshops I’m offering this year:
Except I lied, instead of ending today I’m going to extend it through Monday. I’m hitting send on this thing at the airport before a six-hour flight, so I may not be able to respond promptly to group discount requests or other registration questions. But still, going fast act now call-to-action etcetera etcetera. (Not a missed placeholder, just how I’m ending this paragraph.)
Also, hey hey, I’ll be in New Orleans here shortly at LavaCon; still plenty of time to connect to that scene with a virtual event ticket. My session Keeping the U in Your UX Strategy will be part of the simulcast livestream.
Hope you’re well out there, friend. Write back if I can help with anything.