Steven's Notebook

Look Ma - No Hands!

Talk About Value, not Technology

Jon Udell, in Talking to everyone, asks

How do you talk to everyone about the transformative benefits of the technologies we’re so excited about, in ways that don’t make people flip the bozo switch and tune you out? How do you tell stories that make the benefits of the technology come alive for people, in ways they can understand, without overwhelming them with technical detail, but at the same time without dumbing down your explanation of the technology?

I think the answer is that the first thing we’ve got to do is to listen. Pay attention to their comments, see what their needs are.

Maybe you want to tell your family all about the wonders of RSS and “end-user” publication, but why would they care – they get their news from the paper and TV and don’t see what they could possibly publish that would be of interest to anyone.

But hey, grandma sure loves to see pictures of the little ones as they grow up. So rather than printing pictures and mailing them to her, filling her AOL mailbox with JPGs, or sending URLs that she may not know what to do with, buy her a picture frame that uses RSS. Point it at your flickr account and make sure you post new pictures of the grandkids each week.

By the time you visit again, all the other family members are going to be asking how it works, how they can get their kids’ pictures on grandma’s wall. That’s your opening to talk, in general terms, about the ways you are “publishing content,” how it’s distributed and the value that they can share with others.

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