Saturday, June 7, 2014

Some of the best performances are totally unexpected

All this week, I've been in Dublin, Ireland, for work: TAUS (Translation Automation Users Society) and Localization World conferences and meeting and talking about languages and translation and localization and Smartling.

I have seen and enjoyed and participated in (and occasionally been a tad bored by) many conference presentations over the years. Never have I seen one as entertaining as the Localization World keynote this week, which was peformed by, not presented by, Magnus Lindkvist. (Overheard while walking from the session to next event of the day, "Best keynote presentation ever!")

Showing a map of the world that pointed out that Sweden and Finland have more heavy metal bands per capita than any other country in the world was a good way to grab my attention from the beginning. Magnus Lindkvist's use of images and videos to make points was funny and utterly memorable.

Five different shaped, sized, aged and coloured cats, all staring at one tiny caged mouse. They're all cats, and they all want to eat the mouse.

One horizontal row of different size, shaped, coloured and scented candles, all burning. They are all candles. Not one of them is a light bulb. The point: if you compete horizontally in business, you're just fighting for a minor share of an already-fading market. What's the future?

And another point: what is a failure today may not be a failure tomorrow. Needs to be right thing at the right place and the right time, and maybe even the right person. Take this song, and how many other people recorded it first. (OK "band name" might also need to be "right". I don't think "Ednaswap" really does it for me...)

Most of all... sometimes you have to be that crazy, awkward, lonely guy dancing in the middle of the staring crowd, dancing like nobody's watching, because he is really, really into what he's doing, and he and only he (or she) knows what it's all about. Because suddenly, that guy is the one that everyone else is copying, emulating, and following.

Go dance! Thanks, Magnus!

(And everyone who makes presentations, if you want to learn how it should be done, try to catch a Magnus Lindvist event some time. I'm sure you'll learn a lot.)

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