No, this program won’t make you into the next Steve Jobs, but Carmine Gallo says there are a few presentation tactics you can borrow from Jobs to make you into a phenomenal presenter.
For example, did you know that an audience’s attention span tends to be 10 minutes long? After hearing that, Carmine watched some of Jobs’ presentations and noticed that at the 10-minute mark he plays a video or brings a co-presenter on stage or does something else to create a “mental intermission.”
This program is full of tactics like that and if you grab it, you’ll see how you can use them in your talks.
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Carmine Gallo, Gallo Communications
Carmine Gallo is the founder of Gallo Communications. He is a presentation, media training and communications skill coach for some of the world’s most admired brands. Check out his book, The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs.
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Hey everyone, my name is Andrew Warner. I’m the founder of Mixergy.com, home of the ambitious upstart. Picture this: you’re invited to give a presentation. Maybe it’s at a big conference, maybe a local meet up, but somewhere there’s an audience of people who are about to watch you.
What do you do? Do you start to get nervous about how to present your ideas, or do you feel like you’ve got the right structure, the right framework, that’s going to create a presentation that’s so memorable that instead of tweeting out about what people should be doing afterwards, they’re tweeting out about how great you are? instead of getting lost in the websites that they wish that they were spending more time on, they’re getting lost in your speech and maybe telling other people online why they should have been there to watch you speak. Naturally, I want you to be the kind of person who they get excited about like that, who they tell others to come watch, who feels like a rock star, which is what I think all entrepreneurs should be.
To learn how to do that, I invited Carmine Gallo. He’s the founder of Gallo Communications. He’s a presentation, media training, and communication skill coach for the world’s most admired brands, and Carmine Gallo’s also the author of this book right here, ‘The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs’. That comes across okay on the screen there? It did. Great.
So, Carmine, we’re going to have an hour-long talk here. You’ve got a book here with a few hundred pages in it, 222 pages I see here. I don’t want people to have to wait until the end of all that before they can see some results. What’s one thing they could do that would show them results? And then of course we’ll make them even better throughout the presentation.
Carmine: Yeah, we’re going to give people a lot of tips today. Thanks for inviting me, Andrew. You’ve got a terrific audience. I’m really pleased to be able to share this content with them.
So you asked for one thing. Think visually. People don’t think visually when they give presentations. The science shows if you deliver information verbally, people will remember about 10% of the information that you convey. At least when studied, 72 out of . . . So if you deliver presentations or information verbally, people remember 10%. Add a picture and retention goes up to 65%.
So go to YouTube, watch a Steve Jobs presentation, for example, or some other great presenters, and you’ll notice that their slides serve as backdrops to the message, but it’s not the message itself. Too many people create PowerPoints and turn PowerPoint into the message. Instead of thinking visually about how to complement the message they deliver. So think visually. That’s number one.
Andrew: Okay. All right. We’re going to dig more into it. I’ve got more questions about that, but I know it’s part of the conversation that we’re going to have here, so we’ll tease it now in the beginning, and then we’ll get right into it. And then we’ll get into it a little bit later on.
One of the first chapters in the book is about planning. You say plan an analog before you even get to Keynote or PowerPoint or whatever technology you’re going to use. Tell me about that. What is analog, and why do you say that?
Carmine: Well, I use the metaphor of analog because I think someone like Steve Jobs makes his living in the world of bits and bytes, but when they plan a presentation for example–it’s not just Steve Jobs, Andrew, it’s anybody who gives great presentations–they sketch. They brainstorm. They white board. They don’t just open PowerPoint.
The least effective way of giving a presentation is to begin by opening your PowerPoint deck and walking through it and adding bullet points and adding words, instead of thinking–and remember we just talked about thinking visually–instead of thinking through it, how am I going to tell the story? What are the elements of a great story? Is it all going to be focused on PowerPoint, or are there other things that I should include that are going to take me away from the slides? And that might be a very effective thing. So that’s what I mean by planning in analog.
Every great PowerPoint designer, for example–there are some wonderful designers who I know who actually work with some of these big companies, or for somebody like Apple. Even the great designers, Andrew, they don’t just start by opening their deck. If they don’t, then why are we? That’s the way I used to give presentations. ‘Oh, I gotta give a presentation today. Let me open up PowerPoint and get started.’ That’s the least effective way of creating a really inspiring presentation.
Andrew: So grab a pen, a paper, and start sketching, and you said start developing your story. Why should we start with the story?
Carmine Gallo: Because it’s the story we want to convey. Everyone has a story to tell, as an entrepreneur, especially. You have a great story. The problem I find is most people don’t know how to tell the story. PowerPoint doesn’t tell a story. PowerPoint complements the story. So if there’s another key message that you need to take away from this interview today, Andrew, it’s that you need a story to tell first, because its stories that connect with people.
Andrew: How do I come up with a story? I imagine the person who’s listening to us now says, I don’t really have a story to tell. I’m not a story-teller. I want more people to sign up to my site. I want more customers to take credit cards out and buy what I have to offer. I want more people to come and register and be a part of this thing that I’m building. But telling a story, that’s the last thing they want to do. They want to focus on their main business goals first, no?
Carmine Gallo: And good for them. That’s terrific and they will come across sounding like 99% of the people out there, which is, it’s all about them, and pushing their product and their service and get you to sign up. You and I both know, because we’ve been to a million conferences, and we’ve watched a million speakers, that that sort of falls flat. And yet, when you have somebody who can tell stories–and Andrew, let’s be very specific with telling stories–but when you get someone who can tell a more creative story, it teaches you something. He’s teaching you something new. He or she is inspiring. Then, as a benefit, as a side benefit, you’re more connected to that individual and more likely to do business with someone who has inspired you or who you really trust or who is interesting.
But let’s talk about what we mean by story.
Andrew: Yes, please.
Carmine Gallo: By story, I do not mean, ‘hey, lemme tell you about something that happened on the way to work today.’ That’s not necessarily a story. Let me give you a great example. When Marissa Meyer [SP], who is the vice president of Google, and obviously one of the top women in technology, so I’m sure all of your viewers know her, she introduced last year a new technology for Google called Google Instant, which is that technology that sort of predicts what you are searching for before you finish typing–because, God forbid that you have to wait three seconds for a search result.
But it was very interesting. Instead of getting up there and giving a presentation where she said, ‘Hey, we’ve got an exciting new technology to show you today. We can’t wait to demonstrate it. It’s called Google Instant and here it is,’ which is what most people would do, she told a story.
She said, ‘Before I talk about our exciting new technology today, I want to tell you a story about how search has evolved. Think about, let’s go back to 1935.’ And she was–now let me set the context for you, Andrew–she was actually giving the presentation at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. And in 1935 that museum acquired a very historical signature painting. It was called Matisse’s ‘Woman in a Hat’. She had a picture of the painting. She said in 1935 it would have taken you a day and half to find information on this painting, because you would have had to have traveled to a library. Then she went through each successive decade, and she talked about how searching for information has evolved. Her big point was, what took you a day and half in 1935 will now take you three seconds with Google Instant. Now isn’t that a much more interesting way of conveying the same information, rather than just pushing the product, ‘We want you to use this product, like right now. Go to our site.’
Andrew: I see what you mean. You know, you also showed how she put it in historical perspective, and I noticed that in your book you point out that Steve Jobs does that. I think when it came to the IPhone, he didn’t just say, we launched the IPhone. But he said there have been three other revolutions in the past. The first was in the 70s when we came out with Apple II, and then in the 80s when IBM came out with the PC, I forget which one. And he did this a lot. Why? Why put it in historic perspective? Why not be the future oriented company that almost forgets about the past and just starts telling only stories about the future and only giving messages about the future? Why do so many great presenters go to the past like that?
Carmine: Because, isn’t it more interesting to talk about something, to teach me something; to educate me? That’s the difference with Steve Jobs, Andrew. He doesn’t just give information. What you’ve just talked about in terms of historical perspective is going to a second level of presentations that very, very few people get to. There’s a third level that we’ll get to in a minute. There are three levels, one is information, that’s where 99% of the people who I’ve seen present and many of whom I work with, and they’ll stop there. They give you information. Why? Because it’s all about them. It’s all about my company, my service, my product, and I’m gonna give you information and I’m gonna expect you to buy it. Great presenters take it one step further. They educate. They give you the information, of course. Steve Jobs gives you information about the IPhone, you know, like a whole hour’s worth of presentation on the new IPhone. But for a few minutes he educates you. Where have we been? Why have we gotten to this level? What have we learned from the past that we can incorporate? And then he also educates you in terms of the state of the industry. Before he introduced the IPhone, during his very famous presentation of the IPhone, he actually talked about the current state of the industry. And he said, ‘Why do we need a revolutionary new device that can help you make calls and access the Internet? Don’t we already have such devices? Blackberry,’ and he had like a whole picture of about five or six different competitors,’ Blackberry’s out there, Nokia E6,’ and he went through some of the others. ‘What’s wrong?’ And he asked rhetorical questions. He’ll ask things like, ‘What’s wrong with these devices?’ And then he’ll answer those questions. But again, he puts things in perspective. He educates you before he introduces the product, which is the complete opposite of what the average speaker does. It’s all about their product first, rather than educating the audience. It’s a subtle difference, Andrew, but it makes a huge difference in the way you come across.
Andrew: It does for me in the audience. So, you’re saying, first level is information, someone who just pounds out information. The second level is someone who educates the audience. What’s the third level?
Carmine: Emotional, which is hard to get to. But, Andrew, once you touch me, once you make me feel something, then you’ve really made a connection with me.
Andrew: How do I do that?
Carmine: One way is through the telling of stories, like we’ve just talked about. In fact, I did mentioned that not all stories have to be personal, but frankly, if you do have some personal stories to weave in there, the more personal the better. So personal stories certainly have a way of touching people emotionally. Let me give you just one example, and I’m gonna try to keep this very general, because I don’t want to mention the company. Recently, in the last few months, I’ve been working with a very large energy company that every one of your viewers would instantly recognize. And there is a top executive at this energy company that is going around the world, giving mission-critical presentations. His presentations are all about convincing governments to allow this energy company to go in there and drill for oil. That’s a big presentation. That’s an important presentation. And it was all factual. It was all information based, at least the first presentations that I saw. And I thought to myself, why can’t we connect with people emotionally? The more I got to know this particular executive, the more I realized that he was really committed to safety. And safety wasn’t just something that they talked about. It touched him. When there was one minor incident, in a country not too long ago, that involved this particular energy company, he actually got really emotional, in front of me, privately. He got emotional talking about it. It was almost like he, he didn’t cry, but he was pretty close to it. And I realized, my God, this guy really believes in this story. He believes in his safety record. And I said, we’ve gotta start telling more stories. We’ve gotta start telling stories about what it means to you personally, to have that commitment to safety. And every time he tells these stories now, Andrew, when he tells them publicly, he actually gets slightly emotional. You can tell, his voice starts to choke. It’s very hard for him to get through these stories because they’ve touched him so personally. And yet, guess what? At the end of the presentation, what do you think he hears the most? When people come up to him afterwards they said, ‘Yeah, you know that part about your safety record and that story you told? That was really powerful.’
Andrew: I can imagine that, actually. I think a while back, maybe before I started doing these interviews, I would have thought, no this is wrong. We want facts, especially from an energy company. An audience of people who are there to do business want the facts and they want the information. And it doesn’t hold people’s attention. Even on paper we want stories to make those facts come to life and bring meaning and be memorable.
Carmine: I’ll give you a really good example. A true story. There’s a lawyer who I’ve talked to, very famous lawyer, and his name is Mark Lanier. He lives in Houston. He actually brought the first class action lawsuit against Merck, which was a big pharmaceutical company. This was several years ago, over something called Vioxx, which was I believe an arthritis pill, but it caused someone to have a heart attack and die. And so, he actually brought a case against Merck and won a $253 million settlement against Merck, the biggest judgment against a pharmaceutical company at the time. Mark Lanier actually sent me the first deck, the first set of like 10 slides that he used when he opened his case to the jury. And Andrew, it was all story. It was not information. It was all about a story of two people who were in love, but something happened to this one person that left a hole in the spouse’s heart. He died. He died after taking this medication, called Vioxx. And we are going to argue that this particular company had the means to kill him, which were drugs. The motive they wanted to make money. We’ll argue that means and motive equaled his death.
Andrew: I see that. Yes.
Carmine: Andrew, we can sit here and argue about the ethics of doing that, and all that, okay? Or what’s happened afterwards, because some of it’s been overturned on appeal. But that jury, the first jury that heard that story obviously voted in favor of his particular client. And to wrap it all this up, Andrew, at the end of that jury, at the end of the trial when the lawyer asked the jury, you know, what really made the difference they said the Merck people put on a lot of scientists. And they gave us a lot of data and information. But you told us that story. Remember that story about Carol and Bob? Yeah, we really remember that story. It really touched us.
Andrew: I used to be the kind of person who would have heard that and said, no, that is so wrong. The facts need to win. But, hey, I live in the world as it is today. I can’t change the whole world. I have to operate in this world with what moves people and if stories move people, then I want to know how to do them well. And by the way, we have over a dozen points here that I want to cover in the interview, and do my best to get to them as much as possible ‘cuz this book is full of lots of great points. But let me ask you this one question about stories before we move on.
Andrew: How do you find that story? If we’re sitting down with that pen and paper and we’re ready to get started with our presentation, how do we find our story–the one that’s gonna actually be as useful as Marissa Meyers story was, as impactful a story of the lawyer that you just told us. How do we find their story?
Carmine: Yeah, well you know, Andrew, I guess as a journalist it’s easy for me. But I understand that it’s not easy for everybody. But as a journalist I was taught there is always a story. Everyone has a story to tell. So it can be a personal story. It can be a story of like we’ve already talked about historical significance, and educate me in some way. Or it can be a case study, okay? And those are simple stories to tell, as well. So if you have particular clients who have found a great deal of success using your product or your service, tell us a story. Better yet, why don’t you put that client on video and show a two-minute video clip in the middle of your presentation. That breaks up the presentation even more. Think differently about presentations.
Andrew: Carmine, I scribbled down a name of someone in my audience and his company to challenge you to think through how he could tell a story and improve his presentations. I think I could do it, based on what you’ve said so far. And we’ve spent just a few minutes together, so far. It was Doug Kaufman, who runs a site called Spring Metrics, which gives you metrics that help you figure out where you’re customers are coming from, what path they’ve taken down your site. And I said,’ All you wants to do on stage is tell more people to sign up and use it.’ How does he tell his story? I’ve got a couple of stories based on what you said. First, he could tell the origin story, maybe Doug had a website before that was making some sales, but he didn’t know where the sales were coming from, so he didn’t know where to put his energy to get more of the similar sales. So, he can talk of that shop that he opened online and what the problem was, and how Spring Metrics now is solving that problem–or, as you said, case study. He can talk about someone who has a small shop online that use Spring Metrics who has suddenly discovered that all of their best customers were going to the About Page. So they featured the About Page more prominently on their website, and by featuring it more prominently, more people went there and so on. And they did better. I see. I gotcha now.
Carmine: Yeah. They are some really good points. I think Doug will be very happy with that.
Andrew: Carmine, I love interviews where I can do that, you know, ‘cuz I’m kinda on the spot here. I’ve got all the notes here in front of me. I want to make sure I get to everything, and ask you the right questions, and I don’t flub things. If I could use what I’m learning in an interview with all the pressure of maintaining the interview, and leading the interview, then I think we’ve got a great, useful content in here. So, I appreciate it. Okay, you talked about putting video in a presentation. I’ve always seen that do well, but you also in the book, and that’s one point of the book. Another point of the book is to give an intermission. How does Steve Jobs do that well? And I want to find out how we can do it.
Carmine: Okay. Well first of all, the thing about the video, you said you’ve seen that done well. I rarely see it. That’s why I talk about it. I rarely see it. It’s so simple. And yet, so few people add video to their presentations, because it’s all about the slide, and the deck, and the text. Would you add some video? Break it up a little bit.
Andrew: Do you have an example of a video that you’ve seen someone who’s not at the level of Steve Jobs has used effectively. Something simple that doesn’t require a production company, but does get some impact?
Carmine: Oh, sure. I was just traveling to Japan and I saw several speakers, and a couple of them are very well known presenters in that country. And the more, the ones who are really well known had included a couple of YouTube clips, just to sort of back up their point. They were very simple, but they were entertaining, and the audience laughed, and they had a good time with that. So, even a simple YouTube clip, but if you have anything related to what we talked about case studies, why not put some of your customers on video? That would be great. And that does not take a lot of pre-production, as you know. It can be very simple, and very inexpensive. So YouTube, any existing material that you already have, or put one of your customers on videotape. I’ve seen all those used effectively. So, yeah, video is very important. What was your other question, Andrew?
Andrew: I like that, because video is fairly easy to add and it does have a lot of impact. Intermission.
Andrew: How does Steve Jobs do it, and how can we do it?
Carmine: By intermission I think you’re referring to the ten-minute rule.
Carmine: Which is something that I learned, I didn’t make this stuff up, you know. I talked to a lot of neuro scientists about communication theory. And there was one guy in particular, who I just love. His name is John Medina. He wrote a book called, Brain Rule, So How the Brain Thinks. And he’s a neuroscientist at the University of Washington. And he said, ‘Carmine, out of all the studies that we’ve done, it is uncanny, but every one in every single audience will lose their attention, or get distracted, after approximately ten minutes.’ It’s uncanny, it’s not nine minutes, not twelve minutes, it’s ten minutes, which means that when you are giving a presentation after approximately ten minutes people will start looking at their watch, taking notes, thinking about what they’re gonna have for dinner that night, no matter how engaging you think you are. People are gonna lose their attention after ten minutes. So, what are you going to do to bring them back? Video is one thing you can do. So, you were talking about Doug, for example. Doug can talk about the origins of the company. He can tell stories, maybe he can cut to a video clip of a customer, or something else around that ten-minute mark. Or, maybe he can talk about his company a little bit, but then tell a story at the ten-minute mark. There are different ways of breaking up the presentation. How are you going to break it up, and give the mind a chance to kind of regroup and pull back people’s attention after approximately ten minutes?
So let’s talk about Steve Jobs. After I learned about the ten-minute rule, this is totally uncanny, it was wild. I started watching some of Steve Jobs’ most famous presentations, the IPhone in 2007, the Mac Book air, the IPad 2010. I watched all his presentations and a couple recent ones, as well. After approximately ten minutes, not fifteen, ten, he’ll always do something completely different. He’ll cut to video; he’ll show an advertisement. ‘Look, I’ve told you about our new product, now let me show you a real cool App that we’ve developed. I think you’ll like it. And he’ll cut to an ad. Or, he’ll introduce a second speaker, someone from either the company or a developer, like an App developer who maybe’s creating new Apps for the IPhone. So every ten minutes he . . . or he’ll go to a demo. That’s another thing, Andrew, that you could do. Cut to a demo. That’s what I mean by intermissions. Give the audience’s brain a break; completely change it around every ten minutes. Nobody wants to hear one person talk over slides for more than ten minutes at a time without giving their brains some kind of break.
Andrew: And meanwhile, Steve Jobs does take a break and gives his audience something else to do. When I speak for an hour I don’t do it. So if he can’t hold his attention for an hour what am I doing even trying to do it? Why don’t I copy some of his ideas? You say he does, he shares the stage. I hadn’t thought of it but he does it a lot. When he introduced Intel, what did he do? How did he share the stage at Intel when he decided that Intel chips were gonna be in Apple computers?
Carmine: Rather than just talk about the Intel chips, which is what most of us would have done, ‘Hey, we’ve got a great new partnership with Intel. Intel’s gonna start manufacturing chips for the Apple computer. So we’re going with Intel now. Here’s why we’re doing it. Here’s some information on why we’re doing it. Here are some slides.’ That’s what most of us would have done. That’s delivering information. But he goes one step further, makes it memorable, and also emotional, as well. So what he did was he introduced, he said, ‘Rather than let me tell you about it, why I don’t I let somebody from Intel tell you about it. Oh, we just happen to have the CEO, Paul Otellini. And instead of Paul Otellini, the CEO of Intel, just walking out on stage, again like most people would do, he actually came out in the Intel signature bunny suit, which is what they were in their clean and sterile factories. He had the full bunny suit on, and he had a wafer, you know, and he was talking about these new Apple chips that are gonna be built from these wafers. It was entertaining.
Andrew: You’ve got a picture of it in the book. I’ve seen it before, but I just kept looking at that picture, here, this morning. There’s something about it. You say, is that really the CEO. Is that the head of the company?
Carmine: And I’m still trying. I still don’t know whose idea that was.
Carmine: I don’t know if that was Paul Otellini, or if Steve Jobs asked him to do that.
Andrew: So funny you say that. I was thinking the same thing. I was looking and trying to imagine, did Steve Jobs try to convince him to come out in the suit. Did he try to convince Steve Jobs, and Steve Jobs said, all right. Fine, come out in a costume.
Carmine: I never got an answer to it, but again, Andrew, it kinda gets us back to what we were talking about earlier, thinking in analog, brainstorming, sketching. How does this story come to life, beyond the slides? How does it come to life?
Andrew: Develop a messianic sense of mission. I think we should talk about that next. There’s a quote, and I’m just gonna paraphrase it in the book, where Steve Jobs essentially said, I was worth over a million dollars when I was twenty-three; over ten million dollars when I was twenty-four; over a hundred million dollars, was hit net worth when I was twenty-five. It’s not about the money. So he has a messianic mission behind every product that he creates in the business as a whole. Can we really be expected to have a messianic mission behind everything that we stand up on stage and try to talk to people about? How do we do that?
Carmine: No, not necessarily, Andrew, but if you don’t have a big vision for what you’re trying to accomplish, you’re just simply not as inspiring or interesting to me. You just become one of the many presenters that we just see and hear on a day-to-day basis. This is all about creating inspiring presentations–how to stand out from all your other competitors, and other people in the field. And so, great presenters seem to be operating on a different level. Where they’re selling, I like to call it selling dreams, not products. So when Steve Jobs says something like that he’s also said, going to bed at night, doing something wonderful, that’s what matters to me. It was not being the richest man in the cemetery. I was going to bed at night saying, just doing something wonderful. He says these kinds of things in a presentation. Isn’t that interesting? In other words, he kind of goes beyond, he gives you the feeling that what he’s trying to accomplish goes so far beyond just the physical product. He’s trying to help you, like you said, unleash your personal creativity. Which is so much more interesting than saying, “We’ve got a great piece of hardware that’s got some cool software in it.” You know, that’s like, OK, a lot of people have a great piece of hardware, but what are you doing to really inspire me and make my life different?
Andrew: You actually in your list of nine elements of great presentations, you say that the passion statement is one of the elements of great presentations, and you tell people that actually make that statement. What’s a passion statement?
Carmine: A passion statement is simply asking yourself, getting back to planning an analog, you’ve got to ask yourself, “What is it about this particular product or service that I’m offering, and I’m talking about? What is it about this product that I’m really passionate about?” And guess what, the answer, Andrew, is never the obvious. When I talk to executives, it’s rarely the widget. It’s not the hardware. It’s not the product that they’re passionate about. More often than not, it’s what that product means to the lives of their customers. Once you identify that, that becomes your central hook. That becomes your message. And I’ll give you an example of someone who really changed my life when it comes to communication theory.
About five years ago, or a little longer now, I first interviewed Howard Schultz, the founder of Starbucks. Since then, I’ve interviewed him several times for some of my articles in books. But he really opened my eyes, Andrew, because for two hours, for a two-hour interview, he didn’t mention the word, “coffee.” I was the first to bring it up. Because he’s not passionate about coffee. When I asked him about it, he said, ” Yeah, well yeah, I mean, of course, coffee is what we make as a product, but that’s not what business we’re in. We’re in the customer service business. We’re in the people business.”
Why is it important that we give full-time health benefits to part-time workers? It’s all about making sure that we have a team of people who are really excited about what they do and they offer great customer service. So do you see Andrew how he took the conversation into an area that I hadn’t even expected? Here we’re talking about customer service and passion and he used the word passion every other word. He had no problem saying, “This is what I’m passionate about.” But it wasn’t the obvious.
And Steve Jobs once said, “We are not in the business of selling computers. Yes, that’s what we do as a product, and we happen to do that very well, but we’re in the business of creating tools to help people unleash their personal creativity.”
Now if you’re in the audience, Andrew, isn’t that a lot more interesting than, “Hey we got a really great new product to sell you?”
Andrew: You know, it is, and I’m thinking of myself as I’m creating presentations. I’m much more likely to say, “First let me make this sale. Let me have this launch go off really well. Let me have this audience love what I’m offering their businesses.” And then I can talk about my personal needs and my personal desires and visions for this business. You’re saying it has to be the opposite. And it has to be that personal vision that you have, that you’re trying to change the world with, front and center, and then everything else will happen as a result of it. And you’re kind of giving me permission to go in the direction that I’d like to go in, and you’re also forcing me to do that, and put aside my need to close the sale right now from the stage.
Carmine: Well let me summarize it.
Carmine: Let me just tell you directly, all of your viewers. Nobody cares about you, your product, your company. They don’t care. We’re human beings. We care about ourselves. Right? We are kind of self-absorbed, aren’t we?
Carmine: We care about our dreams, our hopes, our ambitions. The more you can help me achieve my dreams, you’ll have me as a customer. You’ll win me over. But if it’s all about you, and your product, and your company, that 10-minute rule suddenly becomes the two-minute rule. I’m tuned out, man.
Andrew: See but then, that’s what I’m thinking when, that’s what I’m worried about when I start to think about my story, and my vision for the world. That the audience doesn’t care about my story. They care about their stories. They don’t care about my vision for the world. They care about their own vision for the world. How do you reconcile those two truths? The fact that the audience does get more interested when the speaker is personal about his own or her own experiences and at the same time, the audience doesn’t care about the speaker, they care about themselves. How do we reconcile those two truths?
Carmine: Well, there are two different elements in the same presentation. So, as you prepare the elements of your story and create your presentation, you need to start thinking, ‘What is it that my audience needs? What is their pain? What are their dreams and goals?’ Then, you hit them right over the head with it. That’s how you make a connection, because you understand each other. They understand that you know them, and you understand their pain. When we talk about personal stories, or other types of stories, that’s just making the presentation a little bit more emotional, having more of a connection with the audience, making it interesting. Because if you can’t keep their attention, then it’s not going to matter. You have to make that presentation memorable, emotional, and interesting. Not dull, boring, and confusing, like the vast majority of presentations. And there are, Andrew, different ways of doing that within a presentation.
Andrew: I see. I just read a book by John Locke, the guy who sold, I think 1,000,000 books in the Kindle store and he says he tells stories on his website that are personal, but what he’s trying to do is tell his audience he’s one of them. ‘This story, you’re gonna identify with it, and you’re gonna see yourself through it.’ Okay, you brought up something else that I’d like to talk about. We, as presenters, need to answer the one question that matters most to the person sitting in the audience, which is, ‘Why should I care?’ You give a bunch of examples as to how Steve Jobs does it. Can you give one here? How does Steve Jobs do that?
Carmine: Sure. “Why should you care?” This is something that I learned as a journalist. Journalism School, Class 101 at Northwestern University taught us that you always have to ask yourself: why does my reader care, or who cares about this? When Steve Jobs introduced the iTunes store for the first time, a lot of people were asking, ‘Hey, why should I care? I don’t wanna pay for music, because I get it for free, so why do I care?’ He answers that question very clearly in every presentation. When he was talking about the iTunes store, for example, he asked that rhetorical question. So, why should you care? You can get music for free! Why should you care? Well, first of all, it’s stealing. Second of all, it’s not a very good experience you’re having with it, because often the music will start unraveling or it’s not encoded well. He went through a list of the problems that you would encounter while trying to search and download music for free. Then he offers the solution, which is, here is a better way. Let me give you a list of how much easier your life is going to be, because we know you love music. He’s selling dreams. We know you love music, so we’re going to give you an easier, simpler, more satisfying way of enjoying and sharing your music. Oh, by the way, for all of this, we’re only asking 99 cents. 99 cents a song. But, by the end of that conversation, you’re saying to yourself ‘Yeah, okay, I’ll pay 99 cents a song.’ Because he has established that here’s your problem, here’s your pain, here’s the pain you’re feeling, but why should you care about our new service? Here’s why! And he talks about two-minute conversation. You can do this in a minute or two, you know: here’s why you should care. You should have that written out — why should my audience care? Most people, Andrew, never get to that answer. It’s all about them, their product, and their service. Why should I care about your particular product?
Andrew: It’s almost tempting for me, as a speaker, to stand up and think, ‘I’ll just say what I have to say, this is a big audience. It’s gotta resonate with some group of people in this audience.’ But, if I walk in there thinking about why they should ALL care — what it is that they’re gonna be drawn to, and really work to bring them in instead of tossing my stuff out there, hoping that some of them are brought into the message and care about it — it’s a much more effective reach.
Carmine: We’re talking about getting people to the next level. You’re obviously a very good speaker and presenter and I’m sure you’re very comfortable and engaging, as are probably many of your viewers. But we’re not here to be average, we’re here to be exceptional. At the end of that presentation, you want those people eating out of the palm of your hand. You’ve got that audience saying, ‘Yes, where do I sign up? I want to join this guy. I want to be part of his journey.’
Andrew: I want that. That’s exactly what I want. There are certain speakers who at the end of their presentation you will follow them anywhere. And then there are others, you just want to get out of the room in the middle of the talk wondering, is it okay, will people notice? But you say in order to do well, in fact Nancy Duarte said this and you quoted her in the book, 90 hours of prep should go into each hour of presentation. That’s a lot of work. Ninety hours, that’s more than a full work week. That’s more than two full work weeks.
Carmine: Yeah, I know.
Andrew: How do you do that?
Carmine: That’s come back to haunt me, too, that 90 hours, because it scares a lot of people off. And I understand that. Nancy and I know each other very well. I think you have to understand that Nancy Duarte, they create very expensive and big presentations for huge corporate clients, you know. So they have to spend a lot of time with it. I’m not sure if 90 hours is exactly what you need to spend, but certainly far longer in preparing a presentation than most of us spend today. Let me give you one example. I just heard this, true story, Steve Jobs recently introduced iCloud, which is their new cloud service for Apple. Somebody from the inside told me that for a 20-minute presentation, 20 minutes, right, it took 240 man-hours of meetings, presentation design, practice, rehearsal for the 20-minute presentation. So that gives you an idea. If you’re spending all of 10 minutes, then maybe that’s a problem. But what I found with many of my clients, even executives at a very high level, Andrew, are what they do is they’ll have somebody else make the slides for them. They’ll have somebody else make the slides for the presentation. And then they will look at the notes on the plane to the conference. They’ll actually just kinda glance through the notes and not physically rehearse it out loud. So, the first thing we need to do is actually get up and rehearse the full presentation after we created it. When I give a presentation, even if I’ve given it before many times, I always customize it little bit for the audience, so I rehearse it. I probably rehearse it through at least three, four, five times–the entire presentation from start to finish, as I would be delivering it to that particular audience. And these are presentations I’ve already given quite a bit.
Andrew: And you know, that’s another interesting point. I’ve noticed that good presenters feel like they’re giving you a special presentation that they prepared just for you, but really, they’ve given it multiple times. And they’ve customized it to you. And to repeat is okay. It actually helps the material.
Andrew: And I intentionally didn’t give that 90 hours of prep preparation number in the beginning of the interview, though I considered it. I said, no, let’s go the other way. Let’s see if there are a couple of things that we can do that take a few minutes that will show results faster. And then if we can give people those kinds of results then they’d be willing to invest the 90 hours. And so, including a video in a presentation, for example, is one of those types of tactics that will get people results quickly and motivated to spend more time. Let’s see what else we’ve got here. Dress up numbers.
Carmine: Yes. Most of us, and I’m sure plenty of your viewers, when they’re giving presentations they have data, right? We’re data people. Everyone needs the information, the data, the numbers behind your particular service or company. How much money can it save me? or whatever. There are so many different numbers, you know, obviously I can’t predict all the numbers that your presenters are going to have, but take a cue from Steve Jobs–and Apple, not just Steve Jobs, but other presenters at Apple. They never, ever introduce a big number without putting it in a context. It’s just one extra sentence that puts that number into some sort of perspective for you. So for example, this is the classic example, but he does this in every presentation. The original iPod. How much did it store? Five gigs, right? It was a 5 gigabyte iPod. So he said, “Today we’re introducing a new music player, MP3 Player that stores 5 gigabytes of music. That’s the equivalent of 1000 songs. In fact, let’s go even further,’ he said. ‘It’s not just the equivalent of 1000 songs, because you could still get 1000 songs on some other devices. Oh, but can you get a device that stores 1000 songs that fits in your pocket?’ And then he pulled it out of his pocket. That’s interesting. That’s much more interesting than saying, and our new product delivers 5 gigabytes of storage. Okay.
Carmine: What does that mean? Why do I care? Remember, we just talked about that? Why do I care? So again, you can take any number and put it into some sort of context that’s more relevant to your audience. And I’ve notice, I read a lot of press releases that are always horribly done, you know, terribly written. And they never get picked up by any media. Except every once in a while the ones that do are the ones that take some sort of number or data point and turn it into something much more interesting and memorable.
Andrew: I forget which organization it was that was trying to say, this is how many people die of lung cancer, or die of smoking. And no one’s going to pay attention to the number, so instead what they said was, ‘It’s the equivalent of two airplanes crashing over D.C. every day.’ And suddenly, that number felt horrible.
Carmine: I remember that. Yeah, I remember that, as well. So again, that’s putting numbers in perspective.
Andrew: I have a terrible memory. The fact that I remember anything related to their stats shows that it really does work.
Carmine: Yeah. And you just gave us, I think the term that you need to use, think about it like this. It’s the equivalent of. It’s a great term. Yeah, this is the equivalent of that. But again, Andrew, that takes work. It takes a little work.
Carmine: It’s not as easy as just pulling up our slide and filling out the bullet points. That’s easy. Anyone can do that.
Andrew: You know what, Carmine, this is what I like about your book. I’m gonna hold it up again. In fact, why don’t you hold up your book, ‘cuz you’ve got a different kind of copy than I do. I think people should see your copy.
Carmine: You’ll love this. That’s the Japanese translation.
Andrew: What do the Japanese think of the book, by the way?
Carmine: Oh, you’re gonna love this.
Andrew: I feel like Steve Jobs is one of us. He’s our entrepreneur, he’s a person that we all try to be like. What do the Japanese feel about him?
Carmine: I spent about a week in Japan and this has turned out to be one of the fastest-selling books in Japan. It’s sold over 200,000 copies just in Japan . . .
Carmine: . . . in the Japanese translation. But get this, Andrew, it’s really interesting. I’d never been in Japan before, and a bunch of people came up to me and they said, ‘We love this whole style. We want to present in the Western style. We want to present it like you Americans.’ And I had to tell all the groups that I spoke to, ‘Folks, Americans aren’t like this. We make the very same mistakes I’m talking about today. It’s people like Steve Jobs and maybe a few other presenters that go to a totally new level. But the vast majority of presenters, I don’t care if they’re here in Japan or the U.S., create and deliver presentations that are really, really dull. The exact opposite of what we’re talking about here.’ But, Andrew, guess what? What we’re talking about takes courage. It takes courage.
Andrew: Why? What do you mean by that?
Carmine: Oh, it takes a lot of courage. To give a presentation, Andrew, where most of your slides are images, or maybe you put one number on a slide, instead of filling it up with a bunch of data and text. That takes courage. It takes courage to simply information. A lot of people tell me, ‘Oh, but my stuff is just too complicated to simplify.’ Well, as soon as I hear that I know there’s a problem. I know that their audience is going to tune out. It takes courage to be simple. It takes courage to master a presentation like we’re taking about, and to make it visual, and interesting. And to move away from the lectern, to move away from the podium, to not relay on your notes, to break that third wall and actually start talking to your audience, and moving closer to your audience, instead of hiding behind the lectern. That takes courage.
Andrew: What do you say to a client who says, ‘That’s great for Steve Jobs. He’s introducing a minimalist product that he’s giving a minimalist presentation to explain. I’ve got a tough concept that I need to get across. I can’t have just a picture explaining my tough concept. I need words to go along with it.’ What do you say to a client who says that?
Carmine: All my clients say that.
Andrew: I imagine.
Carmine: I have a lot of tech clients, so many of them are engineers, right? And so, they say, ‘We got a lot of data. We got a lot of information.’ I say, ‘Let’s take baby steps. Okay, let’s take baby steps.’ Yes, I’m not advising that you recreate or blow up your entire PowerPoint and just deliver images. But remember what we said, images and words, and text, break it up a little bit and make it interesting. Let me give you an example of this.
Carmine: This is a concept we haven’t talked about but I’d like to get to it because it’s a great piece of advice. Create a Twitter-friendly headline. You remember that chapter?
Carmine: Create a Twitter-friendly headline. In other words, can you deliver the central message behind your service or your product in one sentence that fits within a Twitter post. Every Apple product has a Twitter-like headline that goes along with it. So what’s the iCloud? The iCloud is a new service that allows you to store all of your content wirelessly and deliver it to all your devices. So in other words, all your content is stored, but you can deliver it to all your devices.
OK. So again, I don’t even remember it word for word, but I remember it in one sentence.
Andrew: You remember the message.
Carmine: Yeah, you remember the central message. What’s the MacBook Air?
Andrew: You know what? I was actually searching this, because in your book you say–well, first of all, the MacBook Air’s Twitter-like headline is ‘The world’s thinnest notebook,’ and you said in the book that if you Google to this day the phrase ‘The world’s thinnest notebook’ you’re going to come up with all kinds of articles about the MacBook Air, and sure enough, the very first article that I see at the top of the Google search result is a Business Week article from 2007 talking about it, and then of course it seems like it’s almost all related to Apple and the manila envelope that they introduced the MacBook Air in.
It’s not just a Twitter-like headline for the speech. It’s not just a simple headline for the speech. You’re saying that every product or every big message you’re introducing should have that? Am I understanding that right?
Carmine: That’s what they do. And if it works for Apple, it’ll work for you. I’m making an observation here. I think it works because, getting back to what we were talking about, it’s simple. It’s easy to understand. It tells me a lot in one sentence. If that’s all you know about the MacBook Air, it’s the world’s thinnest notebook, that may be enough for you. Now, if you’re a real geek and you want to know how they did that, or if you just need to know, ‘well, how thin, how light compared to what I have?’ then go onto their website for more information. But if that’s all you know, that tells you a lot.
I guess the advice I want to give to your viewers today is create a Twitter-like headline for every product or service that you’re talking about. Give it to me in a sentence. I’m not asking you to blow up your PowerPoint, but when you deliver that Twitter-friendly headline, can you just have that on the slide? That’s it. That’s it. Just the sentence. That’s very Steve Jobs-like. In every single presentation that I’ve reviewed over the past few years, every time that he delivers the Twitter-friendly headline–MacBook Air–what is it? It’s the world’s thinnest notebook. There’s one slide, and that’s all it says. ‘The world’s thinnest notebook.’ The iCloud had one, too. The iCloud had exactly the same thing. Just one slide with just those words.
Andrew: I’m looking at more headlines. I must have really taken a–that must have grabbed me a lot, because I have a bunch of the headlines from the book. I wrote them down in my notes. For ‘Apple shrinks the iPod’ was one of the headlines. ‘Today Apple reinvents the phone.’ Another product was introduces ‘Apple’s skinny MacBook is fat with features.’
Carmine: And here’s the iCloud one. I just looked it up. ‘iCloud: stores your content and wirelessly pushes it to all your devices.’ So that’s the only thing on the slide, was ‘iCloud: stores your content and wirelessly pushes it to all your devices.’ But if you–I don’t know how many characters that is, Andrew, but I bet it fits within 140 characters. Every single summary or headline that they create about a product at Apple always fits within a Twitter post. So in other words, if you cannot explain what you do in 140 characters or less, you’re going to lose my attention. Go back to the drawing board.
Andrew: I’ve got one other point from the book I want to talk about, but let me ask you about–what was it–the intermissions. What if you’re in a situation like I am in these interviews? I can’t do an intermission with a video in the middle of the conversation. How else can we do intermissions? How else can we understand our audience has a ten-minute attention span? Every ten minutes we need to break it up with something else. What happens if it’s a phone presentation, for example?
Carmine: It’s a little different. It’s a little different, Andrew. We are having a conversation. This, by it’s very nature, is much more interactive and much more interesting than having Carmine Gallo give you a presentation for an hour. So really, this is what I mean by sharing the stage. We’re already, naturally, sharing the stage. That’s what we’re doing.
Andrew: As in, neither one of us is making a ten-minute presentation or twenty-minute presentation. We’re always switching the mic back and forth.
Carmine: See, this is going to keep people’s attention. But Andrew, no matter how good you think you are, if I were to give a–if you were to just say, ‘Hey, Carmine Gallo’s going to tell us more about his book on Steve Jobs and giving better presentations, and here are some tips. Carmine, take it away.’ And one hour later, do you think most of your viewers would still be here? No! Not at all. I think I’m pretty good, but I don’t think they’d be here. Whereas this is much more engaging.
This is what I mean by sharing the stage, though. We’re doing that naturally. But try to find a way to break it up so it’s not just you delivering slide after slide after slide for one hour. That’s not going to impress anybody. That takes work. It does. It take work, it takes thought, and it’s not always that easy. It’s not always that easy to do, but once you nail it, you’re really going to captivate your audience in a whole new way.
Andrew: Carmine, I know we’ve gone over our time just now. Do you have about five more minutes?
Carmine: Yes, absolutely.
Andrew: All right. The last point I wanted to talk about here, and I already missed a whole bunch, but I wanted to talk about props. How do we use props well in presentations?
Carmine: Well, again, a Steve Jobs presentation is like a theatrical event. It’s not a presentation like you think of a presentation. Again, it’s not just Steve Jobs. It’s with every great presenter. How do you go beyond the slides? That’s what I mean by props. Let’s go beyond just the PowerPoint slides.
A prop can be–now, in Apple’s case, it’s easy. That’s a demo. So every ten minutes–remember, we talked about the ten minute rule–he’s either going to go to a video, which is not a prop, or he’ll go to a demo. But he has something he can pick up and show you. ‘Let me show you this new app on the iPhone or this new operating system and how it works.’ He can show you that. So if you have a physical product of any type, that is a demo. That’s what I mean by a demo or a prop. Take me beyond the slides. For some people, it may be more creative. Maybe you have to go–it’s kind of like show and tell. Maybe you don’t have a physical product.
So what Bill Gates did once–and this was pretty fascinating–Bill Gates is always thinking about communication skills now. His presentations have changed enormously since Microsoft, because he is talking about really complicated subjects. So last year he was giving a presentation on reducing childhood deaths in Africa. And he had a very visual PowerPoint slide. Much different from the slides he used to create at Microsoft.
But then he said, ‘And of course, malaria is spread by mosquitoes. In fact, I happen to have one right here. I happen to have a few mosquitoes.’ And he picked up a jar and he opened it up, and he goes, ‘Here, let me let these mosquitoes fly around the audience.’
And then he made a joke. He said, ‘It’s not just poor people who should have the experience.’ And everybody in the audience was very wealthy because they had to pay to be there. But they laughed at that. But here he’s talking about a very serious subject, about childhood deaths by malaria, and he’s making a joke about it. He’s actually injecting humor, and yet it’s making a really powerful connection with people.
It’s very interesting, the information he’s giving. But again, he’s thinking, how do I go beyond the slides? And that became a YouTube moment. Steve Jobs [sic] releasing mosquitoes into the audience.
Andrew: I saw that on Twitter. People were talking about it everywhere, it felt like. Twitter, I remember seeing it on Hacker News, and other places.
Carmine: Isn’t that interesting, Andrew? This is what I do as a communications guy. I love observing great speakers and great presenters and thinking about, what is it that they just did that grabbed attention? That’s what he did. Because he went beyond the slides. So you need to ask yourself, what is it about my presentation, whether it’s a prop or a video, or some other way of going beyond the slides, because frankly, that’s what people are going to remember. They’re not going to remember what font you used on slide 32.
Andrew: So when I was going to hold up the book earlier and asked you to hold up your copy of the book, what I wanted to say was, what I love about it is, it’s not just useful, but it’s easy to go in and pull one or two ideas and use them. That’s what I try to do here in this program together. I said, let’s break it up in a way that if someone can’t change their whole presentation style overnight, or can’t change it as a result of this program, they can pick one or two or maybe even five ideas and implement them and get some results. And I know we’ve done that. Of course, if they want more, they can hit rewind and play this again, or they can grab this book. Here it is.
But you also have another book. Do you have a copy of it? There’s another book, Steve Jobs innovation.
Carmine: We are keeping with the Steve Jobs theme.
Andrew: I’ll ask you about that in a moment. I’m curious about that. There is the second book, ‘The Innovation Secrets of Steve Jobs.’ What’s that about?
Carmine: It’s about–it’s about innovation! What we realized, though, was that a lot of people were using the book that you had — the presentation book — as a leadership book. Well, I’m glad they’re looking at it as a leadership book, because I think great leaders need to be great speakers, but it really is focused on giving a presentation. We had all this great material about how anybody can come up with novel and creative ideas, by using some of the principles that have driven Steve Jobs and Apple’s success over all these years. So we decided to put it in a whole new book called the “The Innovation Secrets of Steve Jobs”. There is a connection between Innovation and Communication, a huge connection. You can have a great idea. You can have a terrific innovation, but if you can’t convince anybody of it, it doesn’t matter, Andrew. You gotta be able to communicate your idea, don’t you? So innovation and communication, I think, are very connected.
Andrew: So much more and more you’ve got to not just innovate, but communicate, and communicate through multiple channels. I see some entrepreneurs rock YouTube videos, and I see others who just do damage to their personal brands. It’s painful. But we have this book here; why write about Steve Jobs, by the way?
Carmine: I think Steve Jobs is the world’s greatest corporate storyteller.
Andrew: How are you studying Steve Jobs? You seem obsessed with him. There are quotes in here, there are specific examples. That’s a whole lot of research on him! How do you do your work? Your research?
Carmine: I guess it does seem like I am a little obsessed with him.
Andrew: I meant that in a good way.
Carmine: But, Andrew, you’re absolutely right. I challenge people: please, I really want to know, I’m being genuine. If you can show me someone who is a better presenter as a total package — from the slides, to the speaking, to the message, to the delivery, who has that much emotional connection with people and that much appeal — please let me know, because I’ll write a book on that person. I haven’t found him yet, well, I have found him in Steve Jobs. Steve does things, all the things that we talked about, which your viewers can do in their very next presentation. It’s just that Steve Jobs does them all the time, and he does all of them, in one single presentation. It’s the complete package, and he does it well, because he’s being studying this for decades. Much longer than you and I have been.
Andrew: I’m looking here at all the things that I left out that people are going to go and buy the book for. For example, we didn’t talk about Customer Evidence, Third Party Endorsements — we kinda touched on that, but not enough. We didn’t talk about Zippy Words, and you evaluate Steve Jobs’ words in many different ways: The Fog Test, the words-per-sentence count, and so on. And you compare him to Bill Gates and other speakers. We didn’t talk about Revealing the Conquering Hero, I feel bad about that, or Introducing the Antagonist, something that I hear over and over again . . . I’ll have to let people go and get the book, I’m not going to beat myself up for missing anything in this interview. I know we got a lot in here, and I appreciate you doing the interview.
Carmine: Oh, Andrew, this has been terrific.
Andrew: Wonderful. Come back again, any time.
Carmine: Absolutely. I certainly will. Thanks, Andrew.
Andrew: Thank you Carmine, and thank you all for watching. Bye.
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