Thursday, April 28, 2011

Tell To Win [Book Review]

I love a good story. Who doesn't? If anything, the success of the entertainment world, and even news, shows that everyone loves a good story. Stories are great because they help share an idea, a vision, a lesson, and on and on. Stories provide not just facts, but context and emotion - this is what makes them memorable.

Furthermore, stories are not just used to entertain - they can be used to persuade. This is exactly how businesses use stories. The great ones don't just give facts, they share stories: Stories about how they were founded, why they exist, how they created such an excellent product. They also share stories of customers: how they use the product, how their lives are better as a result of the product.

Of course, as an entrepreneur I want to know if the art of telling a story can be learned. I've gone as far as looking into creative writing classes, but nothing had really peaked my interest yet.

Then I read Tell to Win by Peter Guber, which came out in March. Guber talks about the power of telling stories; how telling purposeful stories can help you win in whatever your endeavorer is. His main thesis is that learning to tell a good story (where "good" = getting the desired outcome) can be learned. Furthermore, Guber says that we all have the ability to tell stories hard-wired into our DNA - we love to share stories. So Guber helps people refine the art of telling stories, and gain the confidence to use story telling regularly.

Not surprisingly, Tell to Win is full of fun stories that Guber uses to make his points. They are all entertaining, and make their point well. Keith Ferrazzi, author of Never Eat Alone (which I also reviewed) did an interview with Guber which you can watch to get a feel for what you'll learn in his book.

I enjoyed reading this book and will definitely book looking for ways to incorporate it into my life. For example, as an analyst, it'll be helpful to not just show data, but share stories behind the data.

Oh yeah, I also couldn't help but notice that Jesus often used stories when making a point. Clearly there is something powerful about stories if the creator of the universe used this technique.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Corvallis 2011 Half-Marathon Infographic

Jessi and I participated in the inaugural Corvallis half-marathon this month. I saw the published results and thought something cool could be done with all that data. I've always enjoyed infographics, and wanted to try making one - this seemed like a perfect opportunity. So, here are 13 facts in honor of the 13 mile race.

(You can click the image to see it full-size and/or download it)

For those of you who like to know such things. I housed all the data in Excel (it was originally in a PDF, I'm so thankful for the text-column feature in Excel) and created views using a pivot table. I made the final charts in Excel and copied them into PowerPoint. I added my own comments and pictures - nothing too fancy. I saved the final slide as a PNG and uploaded it to my server. And now you're reading it somewhere in the world. Pretty neat!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Mysore Palace in India

I'm currently sitting in India while I write this - it's pretty exciting and I have many stories to share. At the very least, I would say that this has been an eye-opening experience. India is truly a different country than the US. Duh, I know. But it's even more different than I ever imagined. For a while I kept drawing parallels to my experience in Mexico, but it's even great than that! I will share much more later here, and feel free to call me to hear even more (when I get back).

In the mean time, here's one picture from Mysore Palace. We were able to take a tour of this place, and it was amazing. It's 2.5 hours Southwest of Bangalore, and totally worth the drive. We also visited a 1700 year old temple, which was quite an experience. Talking about faith to people in India is also completely different (because they believe in multiple gods). It didn't fully understand what that meant until we visited that temple.

Lastly, I've also learned all the rules to cricket. It's fun to watch once you understand what's going on.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Dog Door

Last weekend Jessi and I visited a friend to look at some bikes he was trying to get rid of. While there we saw his dog door, which he said he couldn't fit through. I told Jessi I'd give her $20 if she could get through. Luckily, I was able to turn on my camera fast enough because she didn't wait to make sure my offer was genuine. So, enjoy the fun.

Friday, April 08, 2011

Visiting Home

This last week I got to go the Bay Area for work. As such, I got to hang out with my family for a bit. It was great seeing all of them in person. Thanks to everyone who changed up their schedules to make my trip a success - I really do appreciate it.

I do really miss the weather down there. It's just so amazingly beautiful. Thankfully, we're heading into summer, so Oregon is just starting to be nice as well.

So, until I see everyone again, I'll continue to video chat and call often. Thanks again!

Now I'm getting geared up for an even larger trip to India.

Friday, April 01, 2011

Mustache March Finished

Mustache March came and went without a hitch. I managed to grow a pretty amazing stache, if I do say so myself.

I actually know of at least one person who loved it: I was in Boise earlier this week for work. The night I got in I met up with a friend from college and we went to watch a couple bands play downtown. While there many people had fake mustaches on. There was even one girl who had a pretty gnarly one. One of them saw mine and exclaimed, "Now that's a stache! Right on man!" I almost offered to sign his shirt or something, but I didn't have a pen on me...

I'm also proud to announce I had three people join me while down in Mexico two weeks ago. I was very impressed with each of their showings. Each us rocked our own version of the Fu Manchu to much of the delight of each student. I'm pretty sure next year's trip will also feature some crazy facial hair too.

Jessi will surly be ready for it to go, but not without one final close up:

Thanks to everyone who supported and participated in the madness of Mustache March!