Local Action, Global Recognition at PKN7

I was one of the presenters at yesterday’s Pecha Kucha Night 7 here in Edmonton. I’ve been thinking about pitching a topic for a while, but for whatever reason never submitted anything. This time around, however, I felt compelled to at least apply to speak. As Jeff said in his post, I sort of became the face of the disappointment over Pecha Kucha 6. I’ve been to every Pecha Kucha Night we’ve had in Edmonton, and I’ve blogged about each one. I have been both critical and positive about past events and speakers, but I’ve tried to be fair. In any case, I figured if I was going to dish it out I had to be willing to take it as well.

Pecha Kucha Night 7

I approached my talk at PKN7 the way I think it should be done. The topic had to be something I was passionate about (it’s almost always immediately obvious when a speaker is not passionate about their topic) and had already given some thought to. I worked hard to find images that represented my ideas, and I consciously stuck to Creative Commons licensed photos (see below). I created an outline for my talk, and then researched each idea to ensure I could back up what I was saying. Then I practiced – a few times on my own to get the timing right, and then a few times for Sharon, and once for my parents over Skype. I wanted to practice enough that I could pull it off, but not so many times that I’d be thrown off track when something inevitably changed during the actual talk.

Here’s the video of me presenting last night. I guess I went a few seconds longer than I should have. During my presentation I ended up saying slightly different things than I had practiced. Notably, I threw in the “feel free to cheer for your favorite” line which worked great for audience participation, but also meant my timing wasn’t quite as tight as I had practiced.

Here are my slides with the audio overlaid on top:

I received some great feedback on my talk, which was great to hear! I’m definitely harder on myself than others are, and if I could do it again I’d try to improve a few things. I think I looked down too much, and my excuse for that is that all I could see was the first row or two of people. I guess six minutes and forty seconds wasn’t enough time to adjust. I also would have tried to slow the pace down a little. Overall though, I am happy with it!

Here are the images I used (minus the two slides that just contained logos). You can click on each one to get the original.

Edmonton SkylineBendy RoadEpcor Tower
Edmonton Skyline
TEDxEdmontonEdmonton Skyline

Local Action, Global Recognition

The premise of my talk was that Edmonton can be recognized on the world stage if we focus on making Edmonton a better place for Edmontonians. I think there’s three key things we need in order to achieve the recognition that we seek:

  1. Density
  2. Storytelling
  3. Creative Economy

If we can succeed at all three, I think there’s no question that we’ll become recognized around the world. Other cities will strive to be more like Edmonton.

With more time, I’d have expanded on the “how” in all of this, but last night I simply encouraged the audience to find something they’re passionate about and to do it here in Edmonton.

I would welcome any thoughts or comments on this – thanks!

11 thoughts on “Local Action, Global Recognition at PKN7

  1. Great work Mack. I’m just sorry I wasn’t able to see you speak in person, as I couldn’t think of a better promoter for Edmonton. Like I’ve always said; you are Mr. Edmonton.

    And after the success of #7, I think it’s time I start going to these.

  2. I must say that I thought your presentation was the jewel of the evening; effective, concise, structured, compelling – everything it should have been. As a non-native Edmontonian, it has taken years to find even a few things that endear me to this city, and I still spend most of my time complaining (dear sweet deity, what is that godforsaken smell plaguing certain parts of the city!?), however, your presentation made me question my ideas of this place. For that reason alone, I think your piece was a success – it got me thinking. I am now inspired to consider and support what is great about this city, instead of touting its shortcomings. It was especially constructive to be reminded of the biomedical research and biotechnology that occurs here, as I believe this to be one of the industries that will usher us into a future with less focus on oil.

    In short, thank you and well done, sir!

  3. I’m so glad to hear that Emily! I think passion is contagious, so I’m glad a little of mine rubbed off on you. Thank you for such a nice comment!

  4. RE: Storytelling. That one’s tough to grow organically. Something like Edmonton Stories is OK, but ultimately doomed to irrelevance because it’s contrived. I’m gonna go out on a limb and say that what a city really needs (in terms of storytelling) is a written (or spoken) mythology. A touch of romance, however constructed. Of course that sort of thing can’t be made to order or commissioned. The place has to breed and inspire that kind of love. Density – more people – will help this happen. Thanks for this post.

  5. Mike, I think websites are your answer.

    When people from outside the city Google “Edmonton” we have to make sure they’re finding interesting, honest stuff. Whether it’s good or bad, fiction or non-fiction, if we want “our” story to get out there we should use the easy-to-publish opportunities afforded with the web.

    You’re right, Edmonton Stories may come off as too obviously pro-Edmonton, being supported by the City. So it’s up to the rest of us to tell stories.

  6. Pingback: Quora

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