Nothing against Denzel or Bradley or Ang, but I hope Lincoln does especially well on Sunday night. Spielberg/Lewis and co. did a masterful job bringing out the President’s amazing knack of telling stories - to entertain, to diffuse tension, to convince.
We need more story tellers in technology. We have way too much jargon, product reviews, methodology papers, sound bites, tweets. In fact, Mr. Twitter, Biz Stone recently told Charlie Rose "we shouldn't lose the value of the long-form conversation."
Some of the best “long-form” conversation in tech I have seen or heard have been “stories”
- Doug Burgum, then CEO of Great Plains (now part of Microsoft) used his entire keynote at the annual Stampede user event to talk about the story of an English clockmaker, John Harrison who beat out far more qualified scientists to solve one of the vexing problems of the 18th century – how to accurately measure longitudes, so important then for sailors and for all kinds of navigation since.
- Captain “Sully” Sullenberger presenting on leadership but weaving in story of the Hudson river landing. He had a few slides and a video of the flight path as props but it was mostly him telling in vivid, suspenseful detail of calm actions of his crew.
- As I scrounge the world for postings on New Florence, some of my most enjoyable readings are “stories” folks like Malcolm Gladwell and Michael Lewis write in the New Yorker or Vanity Fair.
Of course, not everyone likes stories. In the movie, there are plenty of characters who grimace and even protest when Lincoln kicks off another of his stories. At the Burgum talk, a journalist sitting next to me was livid : "I came here to learn about his product strategy, not about the story of time"
But it makes my day as when I was talking to a European tech executive recently and he said he really enjoys reading what he calls "use cases". He cited Tom Peters and Search for Excellence. His version of "stories"
So I hope the movie Lincoln gets well rewarded tonight. For bringing out Abe's amazing skills at the long form of conversation.