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Kathy Sierra’s WordCamp Waterfall of Words: How To Kick Ass, Create Passion, Do Everything Better (even sex!)

August 17, 2008

What do you do to help people kick ass? In a waterfall of words, Kathy Sierra swam us through 20 ways in the final presentation at WordCamp 2008. While she was speaking primarily to and for software programmers and developers, and not just WordPress uses, I could see where much of what she had to say applied to me as a poet, and as a blogger, and in other ways as well. (Heck, a lot of it even applies to having great sex!)

This is what I got out of Kathy Sierra’s presentation. It’s up to you to see if you can figure out if it makes your sex life better!

1) Focus on what people need. Don’t build a better box, build a better way for someone to experience the box. (well this one’s obvious isn’t it? focus on your partner!)

2) Offer a psychic shuffle/serendipity curve. People like the unexpected: add randomness in some way. (another obvious one–do it somewhere else! do it some WAY else!)

3) The dog ears design principle requires fluidity and follow-through: make it feel alive, makes the user feel alive, alove (my word). Test for aliveness, find the spark! Make it burn! (oh yeah! if there’s no spark if it’s routine, it’s terrible and boring!)

4) Pay attention to Amy Jo Kim and Liz Danzico (who recommended several books during her Crazyhorse presentation–the next WP version but I didn’t quite catch the titles in time!) (menage a trois anyone? that’s too simple an answer..how about, keep learning and listening and trying new things???)

5) ??? guess I was underwater (water is good, showers are great…try it by muffling different senses?)

6) Build the t-shirt before the product. The t-shirt must say something about the person wearing the shirt. (lingerie can be fun!)

7) OK this one’s under

recommended by Kathy Sierra at WordCamp

water too and a bit muffled. This is all I can hear in the roar of the waterfall:  What does your user say about a person? YOUR user YOUR reader. What does your user say say about you? She recommends this book: a smile in the mind Beryl McAlhone and David Stuart, with a foreword by Edward de Bono

recommended by Kathy Sierra at WordCamp

(file this under keep your mind open and check out the lit? feed your mind?)

8) Tools for evangelism: People feel “my passion is awesome, yours is lame” but they need tools to defend their choices–provide them! For example, the website common craft has a movie on twitter which help users defend what appears to be a totally lame waste of time. Find a way to convince people to just try it–if we’re going to expect people spend time doing what we want them to do, we have to be convincing. (what do you want your partner to try? find research to support your pleasure!)

9) Predator eyes: why people have stage fright–all those predators eyes staring right at me like prey. Help people manage fight or flight responses because in a more relaxed state people perform better. (of course the more relaxed you both are, the more fun you can have!)

10) Make this one up as you go along: electric rain says “people must do something cool within 30 minutes.” REWARD them! (reward your partner! definitely do something cool within 30 minutes! mmmm an easy one to try!)

11) Make  people smarter: only aerobic exercise will make your brain work better. Exercise: the poor mans’ plastic surgery! Practice getting smarter by standing up, and standing on one foot! (not sure how to apply this one–got ideas?)

12) hmmn practice typing underwater while exhausted and no sleep? no…(sleep deprivation typically is not helpful for any activity–not recommended)

13) Speed people’s knowledge acquistion: Teach or show them how to learn to “do” knowledge by recognizing patterns (this is what works! this this this! i like i like i like!)

14) Let people off the hook, not I’m an idiot  or oops vs bastards–stuff happens. If people feel like they suck, they don’t want to do it! (we all have made mistakes…we know what they are! I’m trying to keep this “PG”!)

15) Help with reinvestment of mental resources into new problems. True experts vs experienced passionate players who keep taking on new things, keep pushing the edge, creating a culture of support. (your turn for now! best answer to be added to this post!)

16) Guide people on the hero’s journey where life is normal, then when something happens and things suck, the hero can overcome bad things, return to new normal. Get people to answer and ask questions–provide a place where people can go where there are no dumb questions and no dumb answers!!!! (your partner should feel this way with you!)

17) Do not insist on inclusivity. Maintain the wall of the experts but allow the newbies to feel good. Passionate people talk differently, they use jargon, and shared understandings, talking faster, and it’s more rewarding. (lovers can have a private language too! it increases intimacy!)

18) Seductive opacity: it’s not secrecy, it’s theater, says Michael Lopp, of Apple. She also quotes Diane Ackerman’s book Deep Play. (Your turn!)

19) The digital world has raised the value of nondigital things. Have something that can be delivered! It’s all about the package aka geek unpacking porn. Check out unboxing sequences–the experience of getting and installing the product shold feel like opening a special gift. Unwrapping is an arousing experience. (lots of potential in this one–from stripping, and undressing, and delivery flowers!)

20) Inspire first person language. Get people to share how they did this and what they experienced, you want people to walk away with a personal experience, to have a personal experience. Ask yourself how does what I’m doing help someone kick ass? Show don’t tell. Give users a high rez experience. (ok, up to you to do the sex analogy..here’s one close to home for me: In my case, in writing about wine, I  don’t want people to drink wine, or more of it, I want them to be passionate about wine–where it came from, how it tastes, the story they are creating when they enjoy it alone, with family, with friends!)

So that’s that! The end of the WordCamp conference part–now for the party part!
I am on my way!
Will leave the 4 other WordCamp posts I have drafted for another day!
Please come back and play!

I’m on the Prowl, day and night, for that which engages the whole soul…yours, Art Predator

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. August 17, 2008 3:09 am

    Let me know if you find this offensive, distracting or distasteful and why and I will consider removing all the pink comments. Thanks!

  2. August 17, 2008 11:32 pm

    I find it very informative. What could be offensive about pink bits? There is some fantastic advice in there in methodologies and attitudes. You have to believe you have something in order to be able to give something.

  3. August 18, 2008 12:21 am

    It all makes a lot of sense (even the pink parts).

  4. August 18, 2008 3:44 am

    thanks, guys! not quite sure why i was so hesitant…

  5. August 18, 2008 6:15 am

    Guess what! I bumped into Michael Bauer again (in the interwebbery sense) I even found a video of him reading his poetry. He remembers you too. Amazing,

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  1. Tuesday Tips from Kathy Sierra on How To Kick *, Create Passion, Do It All Better « The Write Alley

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