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Remembering Billy Mays, 60-second Storyteller

The other day we posted an entry about how tricky it is to convey sophisticated ideas in a simple way (and the approach we have taken on some Cisco Eos Flash experiences along these lines).Nobody was better at explaining things quickly than TV pitchman Billy Mays, who, sadly, was found dead today at his Florida home. Though Mays worked in a completely different world from high technology, his little commercial gems showed how a sometimes complicated story could be boiled down to setting up a premise, giving a little technical background, and demonstrating how the product works. I often use examples of his work when describing to people how to get across a point quickly online.Don’t expect to see infomercials anything like these on (and I promise we will never yell like Billy), but we have been thinking a lot about how to make our online demos and Flash experiences more straightforward (like that Cisco Eos example mentioned above). There are elements of that Bill Mays spirit that we will hope inspires us to be succinct storytellers.Here are a couple of my favorite Billy Mays ads: Some spoofs he did for ESPN that show off the master’s style of demonstration and storytelling: Read More »

Is Your Digital Crib This Good?

There are some new Digital Cribs videos in the Consumer neighborhood of Those digital lifestyles from Martha Lane Fox, Paul Van Dyk, and Graham Hill make me a little jealous!image Read More »

The Value of Virtual Events

Recently there has been feedback from some folks that a virtual experience can not compensate for a physical experience. My first reaction was “really I had no idea?”. All sarcasm aside; yes physical and virtual experiences are different. The fact is they both offer different value for the attendees.


To use Cisco Live Virtual as an example… Read More »

Covering the Walls

In our Web design group, we spend most of our waking hours looking at things online. This is a matter of necessity, of course, since everything we do ends up online, and also because we collaborate with teams worldwide electronically, frequently via Cisco WebEx Meetings. But sometimes I like to see a panorama of everything we’re working on, and there’s no better way than to cover the walls with work in progress. So, this is what my office looks like:image Read More »

Conveying Sophisticated Concepts Online

One of the things we walk about frequently on the Web team is how to explain sometimes complex or nuanced concepts in a simple way on Often, we turn to Flash and other rich media to accomplish this. One of the best examples I have seen lately is the Flash and video experience we have just posted on the Eos section of The Cisco Eos software platform was developed specifically to aid media and entertainment companies in developing and maintaining large portfolios of content-rich, community-driven web experiences. As you can imagine, there are many audiences for the product, ranging from Chief Digital Officers, to Web Administrators, to Brand Managers, to Content and Site Developers. Being able to illustrate the Eos platform to those different kinds of users was a challenge, and we chose a persona-based navigational approach:imageClick on one of the people above, and a stunning movie is launched explaining Eos platform functionality from the standpoint of that user. These are a really nice combination of storytelling and demonstration, and really worth a visit:imageP.S. You can embed the individual videos into your blog or Web site, if you’re so inclined.Enjoy!