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Top 10 Best Presentations – The Reader’s Choice

Top 10 Best Presentations – The Reader’s Choice

by Frank Roche on October 1, 2006

in Cool, Presentations, Top 10

Our Top 10 Best Presentations Ever stirred a lot of interest and we were lucky enough to get tens of thousands of visitors thanks to Scott triggering a blogswarm. As you can imagine, we got lots of feedback, and readers offered addtional nominees for the Best Presentations. We looked at every one of them, and here are the the Top 10 Best Presentations – The Reader’s Choice (once again in no particular order…in fact, it’s how they came in):

Hans Roling talks about the “devolving world” at the 2006 TED Conference. This presentation was suggested by Blackfriars, who says, “I’d add Hans Rosling…who explains 50 years of trends in world health and development in 18 minutes of animations.” Roling is professor of international health at Sweden’s world-renowned Karolinska Institute, and founder of Gapminder. What a powerfully enthusiastic presentation he makes. He loves this stuff. And makes us love it too.

Sir Ken Robinson advocates for educational creativity at the 2006 TED Conference. Another presentation suggested by Blackfriars. The conference bio for this video says, “Sir Ken Robinson is author of Out of Our Minds: Learning to be Creative, and a leading expert on innovation and human resources. In this talk, he makes an entertaining (and profoundly moving) case for creating an education system that nurtures creativity, rather than undermining it.” Robinson argues that “creativity is as essential as literacy in education and we need to nurture that.” A captivating storyteller. And funny. Hey, where are his slides? Oh. He doesn’t need slides.

Al Gore talks to MoveOn about global warming in 2006. Suggested by Albert at Philly, who says, “How can you leave Al off the list?” Yes, it’s an inconvenient truth that I didn’t put Mr. Gore on my first list. But he’s on this list. Mr. Gore makes a powerful argument for taking action against global warming, and uses persuasive science combined with passion to make his points. Science and emotion together. What an idea.

Majora Carter talks about sustainable development and environmental justice at TED 2006. Okay, I have to go to TED 2007, because this sounds like the place to see all the presentation superstars in one place. Suggested by Guy Kawasaki, he says that Majora is “every bit as good as Steve Jobs” and offers 15 reasons why. Amazing talk in story style by the founder of Sustainable South Bronx. She got a sustained Standing O. And brought me to tears.

John F. Kennedy at the Berlin Wall in 1963. This speech, Kennedy’s Ich bin ein Berliner appeal to the free people around thw world, was suggested by by the German Anders|denken blog. This speech set the stage for people around the world to focus on being citizens of the world and fighting oppression.

My Name is Joe shouts I Am Canadian on a 2006 Molson ad. In the style of Dick Hardt’s Identity 2.0 presentation, this suggestion by Anders|denken blog is stirring in its own right. And dang funny. Who ever thought of using shadow puppets in their presentation? (I actually do know someone who did, so this is a second reference.) Humor is often sadly missing from presentations. Do humor if you can. And, go big or go home.

Ze Frank talks about what makes a website popular at TED 2004. Ian at Flashpoint said that he agreed generally with our first list of the Top 10, but said we missed Ze Frank’s talk. The world’s top vlogger shows how he got that title. He uses humor and creativity to make points about the intersection of technology and communication. Never underestimate the fact that people, first and foremost, want to be entertained. And that they don’t care about slide 18. Side note: Lots of people weighed in on this one (here’s one in German). It’s dang funny, I have to say that.

Douglas Englebart demos the first computer mouse and lots of other computer fucntionality…in 1968! “I’m suspicious of any best presentations list that doesn’t include at least a nod to Douglas Englebart’s Mother of All Demos” is what Christopher St. John commented on Guy Kawasaki’s post. Well, here’s the presentation in all it’s B/W glory. Vive la computer revolution! And it’s old school, baby.

Steve Jobs goes all Mighty Mouse at MacWorld 1997. What’s better than having people go nuts when the introductory speaker says, “This man needs no introduction”? Crazy. In 1997, Steve came back to save the day. Now Mighty Mouse is on its way. (This one was suggested by so many people that I’m thinking we might need a new category called “Top 10 Best Presentations by Steve Jobs.”)

Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young sing “Ohio”. Ed Darell from Millard Filmore’s Bathtub offered up four suggestions, all of them historical. We’re going to do another list with the historical speeches, but CSNY’s Ohio is a powerful “speech” in its own right and, despite your politics, it undeniably changed behavior. Ed writes: “They intended it as a protest to the shootings of students by the National Guard at Kent State University in Ohio, in 1970. It played everywhere in that summer. By the fall, all protesters, claiming outwardly to be committed to protest, instead absorbed the hidden text message: ‘Four dead in Ohio.’ Students stopped protesting and instead got degrees and moved into government. Protest was deadly, was the message. By 1975, when the South Vietnamese government teetered on the brink, even U.S. Congressmen got the message, and the war ended when the U.S. refused to support a corrupt government. It happened again in the Philippines years later.”

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