Speaker | Entrepreneur | Author

Sam Davidson's blog

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Posts tagged video
Dreaming About the Future and Finding a Job You Love

Some very quick self-promotion today, if you don't mind. First up is a short (less than four minutes) video of me speaking about the future of Nashville (where I live). Give it a look and think about whether or not you're a resident of your city or a citizen (I explain the difference in the video).

And, here's a link to a longer radio interview I did recently, talking about my career moves that helped me get where I am. Give it a listen and see if something sparks an idea within for your next move. (Or, right click to download it and throw it on your iPod for your next 38-minute jog.)

How to Motivate Someone

If you need to motivate someone you manage (or if you could use a little motivation yourself), it seems as though most of us can stay spurred on by two things:

  1. Clear goals
  2. Immediate feedback

On clear goals

Ever started a job or been working on a project and you're not sure what's expected of you? It can lead to a lot of confusion, frustration, and spinning wheels, like George Constanza when he took the job without knowing what he was supposed to do (other than work on the Penske file):

Clear goals give us direction, let us course-correct when needed, and help keep our eyes focused on an outcome. In short, we know where we're going.

On immediate feedback

Why wait until the end of something to know whether or not we did it right? If something is amiss, we'll need to start all over again, which can be crippling to morale and motivation. Make sure you let people know how they're doing as often as possible. If they're doing great, the affirmation will keep them working well. If something isn't going as you'd like, then your team can know to make changes instantly (like when you need to move a couch).

How do you stay motivated?

How do you keep others focused and working towards a goal? 

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Use Your Art in Service of the Good

What are you doing with your art? I don't mean your paintings or sculptures or your songs (unless of course you do those things). Your art is that thing (or things) you do well, perhaps better than anyone else. It's the discipline, the talent, the gift you have that allows you to excel at something, whether it's accounting, storytelling, parenting, or teaching.

If you're merely scheming ways to use your art to make money, I'd like to challenge you to do better. Use your art for something deeper.

Honor someone with it. Pay homage to the person or people who inspired you, people who used his or her art to make you better.

Here's how Coldplay recently used their art to honor the person who they respect and admire:

It's okay to make money with your art (by all means!). But go beyond that and use it to tell the truth, honor someone, or make a difference in the world.

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How to do a 1080 on a Skateboard

It looks like the first person to ever land a 1080 on a skateboard is 12-year-old Tom Schaar. Here's the video:

As you'll notice, most of the video is of him falling. That's what success looks like - lots of falling down and getting back up.

Two things also made the impossible possible (as noted in the video description here):

  1. The right tools - Tom needed a ramp that was long enough to get the speed he needed without being so tall as to lose the momentum created. Most ramps aren't built for 1080s. He needed the perfect platform to do something great.
  2. The right team - To get the ramp (and some added confidence that someone believed in him, I'm sure), he needed someone else to believe in his dream and help. Red Bull came through and helped him get the tools.

If you want to succeed at something, then, you'll need to fail a lot. You'll also need the right tools and the right team. As long as you're doing one of those three (failing or assembling your tools or your team), then you're on your way.

Keep moving.

All Great Presentations Are the Same

If you speak to any sized group (or will soon), an investment of 18 minutes to watch this TEDx video is well worth it. Nancy Duarte (whose company has designed some of the most memorable slide decks in the world) shares how you must tell a story well. (Thanks for Kneale Mann for the find.)

Imagine that - speeches by Jobs and King follow the same trajectory.

Yours can, too. Help your audience imagine the world that could be and you'll engage them, inspire them, and have them telling others about you and your vision.

Main stages are for sharing big ideas, and there's no bigger idea than a glimpse of how the world could be.

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Finishing Well [Video post]

Starting things can be an exciting process; the newness, the frenzy, and the unpredictably is often intoxicating. But, finishing things is just as important. I think our legacy depends on it.

In the clip below, I share a story of why we need to finish well. The things you're working on right now matter more than you may realize.

Can't see the video? Click here.

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Moments Vs. Monuments [Video post]

How do you measure your success at work? In life? It's easy to measure them by monuments - the awards or promotion or recognition. But, we also need to take stock of the moments in life - those random instances where surprise or joy overcomes us and we know we're in the right spot.

We can consider ourselves successful when there's no where else we'd rather be.

Here's what I mean by that:

Can't see the video? Click here.

This Is Your Life

One of the more interesting concepts for a TED talk - and a project - is the one that Cesar Kuriyama presented this year. His idea? Film one second of his life each day for a year. What results is a powerful video of hard cuts that show you what any of our lives look like. Typically, we take out our video cameras (or phones nowadays) and only record the monumental: weddings, graduations, exotic vacations.

But Kuriyama's project shows what life really looks like. It looks like lunch and family and hospitals and walking.

Give the video a watch below and begin to celebrate the ordinariness that is your life this weekend. And, hug someone.

1 Second Everyday - Age 30 from Cesar Kuriyama on Vimeo.

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How to Craft an Excellent TEDx Talk

TEDx events and talks are quickly becoming a way in which great ideas can be shared. Now, many cities have TEDx events, and many of the TEDx videos are available online. I had a chance to speak at TEDxRaleigh last December. Doing so was a great experience, not just during the talk, but in preparing for it.

The TEDx format has many different parameters than say, a conference keynote or a convention breakout session. While constricting, these parameters made me a better speaker. So, if you have a chance to give a TEDx talk soon or you're at an event and someone asks you to "say a few words," keep these tips in mind to stand out:

Keep it short

TEDx events ask you to keep your talk under 18 minutes, mainly so the video recording has a chance to be uploaded to the TEDx YouTube channel. TED also knows that speaking longer than that and the audience can lose interest. Better yet, some of the most memorable TED or TEDx talks I've seen are incredibly short, like less than five minutes. Unlike other speaking gigs, where you're asked to fill a half-hour or hour block, speaking on a TEDx stage for just six minutes can be a very good thing. Take all the time you need, as long as it's less than all the time they give you.

Settle on one core idea

At the core of TED and TEDx events are "ideas worth spreading." This is the ultimate theme of your speech. What is the one core idea you want to spread as the result of your talk? Start big when planning your talk, but boil all the fluff away until you're left with the one unforgettable idea that you want people to remember. Try to even limit this idea to 140 characters so people in the audience can share it immediately online.

Once you have your core idea worth spreading, you can add back how you'll arrive at that point and which illustrations to use, so as long as your talk is still short.

Speak with authority

So many public speakers seem to want to make suggestions when speaking, so as not to offend. You may hear, "So, if you want, you should try to..." The audience isn't sure if they should do what you advise since you don't really seem to care whether or not they actually implement your knowledge. But, with TEDx, you have to be authoritative. You were chosen to speak because of your expertise in a certain area. You're good enough! You're qualified! Speak as one who is credentialed. Your way is the right way. Believe it and let that shine through in your talk. Don't give suggestions, tell the audience a plan.

Polish it up

At a TEDx event, you're speaking to two audiences. The first is made up of the people in the same room who are there for the live event. The other is the larger, global audience who will watch the video of your talk. While much of the video production details will be out of your hands, you can control your "ums" and "uhs." You can make sure you speak clearly and come across as authoritative on camera. Your talk has a chance to live forever online, so be sure to practice like hell until you get it right.

Of course, many of these ideas apply to any speaking situation. If any audience remembers what you said long after you stopped talking, you've done a great job. And, here's my TEDxRaleigh talk. Enjoy:

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Discovering and Living Your Passion

Whether or not you've found the sweet spot where your passion is used to meet one of the world's great needs, I think you may find this video helpful. I had the chance to chat for 30 minutes with Rémy Chaussé recently as part of her online video series.

In this conversation, we discuss:

  • How one can determine and articulate his or her passion(s)
  • Once determined how one can then go about living out these passions to the fullest
  • Helpful reminders about passion, particularly about how we don't all need to build a career around it


Rémy Chaussé interviews Sam Davidson from Remy Chausse on Vimeo.