As Good As Steve Jobs


When I posted my entry about the speakers at TED, I did not highlight any of them. Now I’d like to specifically suggest that you watch the video of Majora Carter because there’s a lot we can all learn from this magnificent performance. You can watch it online here or download it here. Again, kudos to TED for making this content available online.

She is every bit as good as Steve Jobs. (Maybe better when you consider she doesn’t have a dozen minions supporting her.) Heck, she’s even a MacArthur Fellow (aka, “genius award”)! On the one hand, I would hate to speak right after she does; on the other, it would be a wonderful challenge. She is the rare speaker who makes meaning and exemplifies the spirit of the 10/20/30 rule of PowerPoint. Here’s what I learned from her speech.

  1. She wastes no time and immediately sucks you into her speech by arousing your curiosity with a story about her dog. (:59) One wonders, “What’s a dog got to do with urban renewal?”

  2. She immediately provides a clear problem statement. (1:00-2:00)

  3. She personalizes her story all the way through the speech. Sure, there’s all the heart-wrenching stuff, but I loved how she discussed her engagement (2:45) and caps off this story with a great use of humor and double entendre: “pressing my buttons…” (2:47)

  4. Her pictures and graphics are highly effective and emotive. For example, she uses a stunning picture of a kid when she discusses obesity in her neighborhood. (3:49) She uses very little text.

  5. She uses vanity in a charming way: “incredibly good looking.” (4:44) She does this in a way that no rich white man could ever hope to.

  6. She shows raw emotions and unveils a piece of her soul when she breaks into tears when talking about her brother being gunned down. (5:10)

  7. She capitalizes on alliteration: “pimps and pushers and prostitutes” (6:50) and repetition: “economic degradation begets environmental degradation which begets social degradation” (7:24) in Martin Luther King-like fashion.

  8. She flaunts a conference rule against pitching for money and then immediately begs for forgiveness. How can you not like a person who has the ovaries to do this? (10:39)

  9. She exhibits excellent coordination with the person who is advancing her slides. I assume this is her fiance doing this. If I find out that they didn’t rehearse this at least twenty five times, I’ll switch to Windows.

  10. She is brilliant and buff. Her presence exudes power and confidence without a trace of arrogance, fear, or condescension (You’d be amazed at how often this ironical combination exhibits itself in most speakers.) She has great teeth (public speakers should get their teeth whitened—I did a few years ago) and shows them by smiling a lot. She animates and emphasizes her points with powerful hand movements while walking around the stage.

  11. She used a Countryman E6i wireless mike (the world’s best mike, in my opinion). The conference folks probably provided these mikes to all the speakers, but you can’t do her level of animation with a handheld mike or standing behind a podium. Here’s a subtle piece of irony: she’s using a “white” flesh tone Countryman. It is available in black too. When I bought my Countryman I was asked if I wanted a “yellow” one. 🙂

  12. She speaks rapidly—bordering on too rapidly, but she is articulate at all times. And she slows her cadence for her most important points. You can tell that she’s trying to observe her time limit—communicating that she respects the audience’s time.

  13. She uses notes and reads from them in places. Generally, you shouldn’t do this, but all that counts are the end results, so this is a non-issue in her case.

  14. This is an inconvenient truth, but she dissects Al Gore in a wonderful, non-threatening way. It is a priceless juxtaposition of an old, rich, and powerful white man and a black woman from the Bronx. It reminds me of the scenes in samurai movies where a master swordsman decapitates his opponent, but it takes a few seconds for the victim to realize what’s happened. (16:45)

  15. She ends with an insanely great call-to-action: “Please don’t waste me.” How can you top this? (17:57)

I would love it if my daughter would grow up to be a warrior like Majora. Heck, I would love if my sons grew up to be a warrior like Majora. At the very least, anyone with a daughter should watch this video.

By | 2016-10-24T14:25:28+00:00 July 26th, 2006|Categories: Pitching and Presenting|Tags: , |64 Comments

About the Author:

Guy Kawasaki is the chief evangelist of Canva, an online graphic design tool. Formerly, he was an advisor to the Motorola business unit of Google and chief evangelist of Apple. He is also the author of The Art of Social Media, The Art of the Start, APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur, Enchantment, and nine other books. Kawasaki has a BA from Stanford University and an MBA from UCLA as well as an honorary doctorate from Babson College.


  1. ryan July 26, 2006 at 8:28 pm - Reply

    OK, so you admire her. How much of that has to do with your business, making money???
    You lost me. What’s your point?
    Learning from great speakers is always a good thing to do. I can’t say it will directly make me or anyone money, but it sure helps to be a good speaker.

  2. Cap July 26, 2006 at 8:56 pm - Reply

    I’m pretty sure in any type of business, you’ll have to eventually make some sort of presentation in front of some type of crowd, convince them about a certain problem, and suggest them to take some type of action to fix the problem.
    or maybe not.
    Really enjoyed the video, thanks for mentioning it & the list. I think I’ll share the video with others.

  3. sam kusnetz July 26, 2006 at 8:56 pm - Reply

    as a theatrical sound designer, i would have to say that the sennheiser MKE-2 is a much better sounding mic than the E6. it is, however, noticably larger, so i cna understand your preference.
    you should check out the DPA 4088 sometime. very small, better sound (so say many, i’ve never used one) than the E6, and also unidirectional which is better for preventing feedback and picking up unwanted sounds.

  4. ryan July 26, 2006 at 9:14 pm - Reply

    My point is that I can make you lots of money – call it a triple bottom line if you will. I think Majora agrees we should embrace our inner capitalist, and I think that’s a great segway for what I’ve been working on.
    A way to save trees, make loads of money, and teach people new things. Please e-mail me if you have time to chat about it.

  5. Not Impressed July 26, 2006 at 10:15 pm - Reply

    “As good as Steve Jobs”? Sorry, not even close. The first few minutes of the speech were as excruciating as watching a high-school student read a paper aloud. The dog story was a bust for me. It did seem to get better once she took a breath and lightened up a bit, but then it went right back to a monotonous too-fast rendering. Sorry, didn’t work for me at all, especially after watching some of the other talks in the series. (OK, the slides were good).

  6. Robert July 27, 2006 at 12:11 am - Reply

    Thanks for this, I learned a lot from her talk. Out of curiousity, will you be responding to her call for investment?

  7. Splashman July 27, 2006 at 12:21 am - Reply

    Guy, I’m trying to understand why you give Majora a pass on the two most obvious characteristics of her presentation: She speaks too fast, and she’s reading a script. These are not trivial; they are fundamental. Yet your description of her is almost worshipful. I can’t help but wonder why.
    “Bordering on too rapidly”? And the ocean borders on too damp. Look, I’m not trying to slam her. I appreciated her presentation, and if you hadn’t compared her favorably with His Steveness, I might have appreciated her even more. As it was, Majora’s presentation brought memories of 10th grade speech class to mind. It is impossible, I submit, for a person not already in love with Majora to give her a pass on the speed of her delivery. “Respects the audience’s time”? By cramming three times as many words into her presentation as would normally be considered effective? Sorry, I don’t buy it.
    “She reads from notes and uses them in places.” Um . . . She’s reading 95%+, and even if there were no video, it would still be obvious she was reading it, because of her monotonous delivery. Yes, she slows a bit at times, and a few lines are delivered well, but the overwhelming majority is read as if she’s reciting financials. “All that counts are the end results.” I agree. The end result of this presentation, for me, is shaking my head at what might have been, had she trimmed her content by two-thirds, memorized it, and spent ten minutes with a speech coach.
    There is much to admire about her presentation, but these two fundamentals are sorely (and obviously) lacking. Believe me, I’m not trying to butter you up when I say that your own presentations are much more effective than this one.

  8. Stephen Fowler July 27, 2006 at 1:03 am - Reply

    Hi Guy I thought that I would let you know that I watched the video of Majora Carter and yes I thought it was excellent too.
    For me although I liked your points, I couldn’t help but feel her presentation was too fast and as such was a shame, because of the fantastic content. Saying that this speed is obviously due to her nervousness and trying to get through all the points in a set time, I assume.
    What she does do for me is with this nervousness and not so perfect presentation, for me makes her more endearing, genuine and shows her passion and belief in her product and for that reason I loved it.

  9. andraz July 27, 2006 at 2:06 am - Reply

    I totaly agree with Stephen Fowler. The magic in her presentation lies in her naturalistic look and handling the event. She behaves like a human, she looks like a human, and she impresses everyone thats a human. And all this contributes to and amplifies the presentation. That is not fake, but its real. And therefore forgiving, emotional and extremely passionate.

  10. John Dodds July 27, 2006 at 2:28 am - Reply

    I don’t think she’s a sensationally good speaker (I had considered that this might be a deliberate ploy but even I am not quite that cynical). However, she has a great story to tell and that passion beats out any presentation trickery any time.
    That’s why I linked to this talk as my definition of remarkable some months ago.

  11. Guillaume Gete July 27, 2006 at 2:32 am - Reply

    I agree with SplashMan : the fact is, she is reading, and it shows. There was a post about her on (, where Garr Reynolds explains why her presentation could have been better. I don’t deny she does not have her moments, but they were too few to be compared to what Steve can do.

  12. Sina July 27, 2006 at 2:46 am - Reply

    I too don’t think Majora deserves quite so many praises. While I appreciated the subject of the talk, and what she has achieved, the delivery was mediocre at best. On the other hand, I thought Sir Ken Robinson’s TED speech was fantastic:

  13. Natti July 27, 2006 at 3:37 am - Reply

    Hello Guy,
    I watched this speech and am not very impressed with it. Some reasons,
    1. She is clearly reading.
    2. She speaks too fast.
    I do see that puts a lot of spirit into her speech but it is mediocre at best. It really is not as hyped up as it projected by you. I am surprised that you have given this such a high rating.

  14. Alvin July 27, 2006 at 3:43 am - Reply

    I watched her presentation, and while I thought she took a while to warm up and could have benefitted from not reading a script, her heartfelt passion blew me away.
    You get a sense of authencity and humanity from her that is so immediate and real that you not just feel for her, but makes you want to be on her side.
    I’d say that at the end of the day, the technical bits of a presentation aren’t as important as the feeling you leave your audience with.

  15. hipstyl July 27, 2006 at 5:51 am - Reply

    Excellent visual presentation – very poor presenter. An excellent presentation is always ruined by a crap presenter. I found key points lost in her monotonous reading tone which was too rushed and garbled at times. If Jobs read from a script, too fast and in monotone as she does, he’d never be held in such high esteme. If she had said less this would have been so much more powerful. Very odd that you would big this up so much Guy, very odd. Jobs and her are not even in the same sport – never mind ball-park!

  16. BIG SWINGING July 27, 2006 at 6:30 am - Reply

    “How can you not like a person who has the ovaries to do this?”

  17. Jill July 27, 2006 at 6:44 am - Reply

    What it proved to me is that she is as good as Steve Jobs at getting a point across. She may not be slick (Jobs), aggressively intense (Tony Robbins) or very ‘media’ (too many to mention). Whether she is reading from a script, or stumbling, or trying to cram too much in; a couple of hours later, I can still explain what the presentation is about to another person. I agree, that makes her a good speaker.

  18. Mike Johnston July 27, 2006 at 7:19 am - Reply

    This was a very interesting presentation. She certainly gets her point across- reading or not.
    I’m surprised at all the negative comments here about the presentation actually. Guy, perhaps you should ask these individuals to post links to the presentations that they have delivered in front of Al Gore? It sounds as if they are a thousand times better perhaps (sarcasm)? Those who live in glass houses should not cast stones.

  19. Daniel Ebneter July 27, 2006 at 7:30 am - Reply

    I must agree with some of the other comments.
    Majora Carter sounds like a person with a limited amount of talent and experience reading a brilliant speech – written by someone else.
    So it seems your judgment is indeed very subjective: it’s OK to praise your fifth grader for playing that Mozart piano sonata, but that doesn’t make it the perfect performance.
    BTW: Has Steve Jobs expressed his opinion on the comparison?

  20. hipstyl July 27, 2006 at 7:55 am - Reply

    Mike Johnston – you miss the point. Guy held her up as a speaker “as good as Steve Jobs”. Now you are not honestly trying to suggest that just because she may be better than the commenters that means she is as good as Steve Jobs? Maybe some of the commenters are poor. Maybe some are OK. Maybe some are truely excellent. Steve Jobs is *one of* (one of) the best presenters around at the moment. She was a poor presenter in the clip shown. Period.

  21. faq July 27, 2006 at 8:27 am - Reply

    Great content and story, but she is simply not even close to being in the same league as Steve Jobs in terms of presentation skills and message delivery. Just like Steve Jobs isn’t in the same league as her when it comes to compassion and sense of justice. They are each great in their own way.

  22. Harold Thompson July 27, 2006 at 9:09 am - Reply

    The point is, at the end of the talk you cared about what she cared about and therein lies her success. Who will forget that Green is the New Black.

  23. James Harris July 27, 2006 at 9:21 am - Reply

    You are so right. She is a good as Steve Jobs. For those that disagree consider the following:
    1) Steve has at least 20 years on this lady. With a little coaching she could be even more amazing.
    2) She has true passion for the subject matter. It’s her life. She is living this stuff. Do you think that Steve lives every new product? Every new processor, every software update to GarageBand? Come on. The reason it take Steve days to prepare for his presentations is that he has to get into character; he has to practice his lines so that he does not have to “Read” notes.
    3) The flip side of point 2 is that Steve has context. He has $100 million dollar ad campaigns and teams of PR hype masters to prep the world for his speech. Majora’s only props/support were her boyfriend and a T-Shirt that read, “Green the Hood”! I dare Steve to wear a shirt that says, “Zune Sucks!”
    4) You are comparing one speech with dozens of Steve’s. And in this single speech she calls out the former Vice President, talks about the murder of her brother and brings the crowd to a standing ovation. Nice! If you are still not convinced, give the sister some time to prove Guy and I right.

  24. Rimantas July 27, 2006 at 9:45 am - Reply

    +1 to Splashman

  25. Joe Buhler July 27, 2006 at 12:46 pm - Reply

    Guy, thanks for bringing this lady to our attention. I’m impressed by the style, but much more by the substance of her presentation. She, and her cause, deserve the widest possible coverage. Strong and memorable stuff. And yes, I agree with a previous post, with more experience she can rival the great Steve J.

  26. Blog July 27, 2006 at 12:53 pm - Reply

    As Good As Steve Jobs

    Guy Kawasaki wrote to tell me about his post on this fantastic speech given at Ted Talks. This woman is dynamite. When you go over to read the full post, be sure to look at the comments. The comments only support her point that so many people (even Al …

  27. Service Untitled - Douglas July 27, 2006 at 2:26 pm - Reply

    I agree she does go too fast, but I think besides that, her presentation was very good. Steve Jobs never seems rushed and a bit calmer, but maybe it’s just that he has more experience or is more confident in himself? She did a good job and I think, gave a good presentation.

  28. Decio July 27, 2006 at 3:07 pm - Reply

    Wow. It felt like drinking a 18′ tequila shot. She is so vibrating; she break into tears on stage, but you know her eyes were dry during rehearsal.
    And call me chauvinist: Steve is charismatic, but Majora is charismatic and gorgeous.
    Compare them and you will fall definitely in the same order of magnitude.

  29. Jeff July 27, 2006 at 5:49 pm - Reply

    “Me, too.” with respect to those other commenters who are baffled by the comparison to Steve Jobs. I just don’t see it, for all the reasons already enumerated and more. Sure, she’s passionate, and she has the makings of a great speaker, but she’s not there yet.
    And to be honest, I’m not sure that Steve Jobs is a great presenter against whom others should be compared. He’s been pitching things for 30+ years. He’s good at the sale. Add to it the fact that he’s captivating, charming and charismatic. But I’ve never been particularly convinced that he actually fully knows the product that he’s demonstrating. He just comes off as too polished. When something doesn’t work, he skips it and moves on.
    Which is why Majora might far exceed his abilities. She knows her material inside and out. She’s actually passionate, not just commercially driven, about her topic. When she fumbled, she paused to “fix” the problem, and covered the ground fully. Once she becomes polished, she’ll shine brighter than most, if not all. But she’s not there yet.

  30. Natti July 27, 2006 at 9:13 pm - Reply

    I personally think Steve Jobs speaks very well. I have seen multiple MAC world presentations, his NEXt Demo etc. However he failed to impress me during his commencement address at Stanford. I was impressed when I read the speech, but when I heard Steve speak, it was well below his standards. He was reading from a piece of paper and pretty much forcing some expressions out. Clearly his other speeches are way better.

  31. Pamela Slim July 27, 2006 at 10:44 pm - Reply

    What I saw in Majora was a “full-contact” presentation. Even watching from a bitty video screen, I could FEEL the blood pumping through her veins and the passion in her heart. Could she have polished up some of her “technical” preso skills like not reading the notes, slowing down and looking out more frequently into the audience like she did a few times to great effect? Of course. But what I took away was that who she was spoke much louder than what she said. Based on where she came from, that moment had to have been cathartic, and nothing short of spiritual. Amidst that, who else would have the ovaries, let alone huevos to chide the Vice President in public?
    I used to teach presentation skills to salespeople in Silicon Valley and would pose the very simple question as a topic to work on during class “I am passionate about …” You would be amazed how many blank stares I got around the room. NONE were passionate about their work, and most had to really dig deep to discover something besides golf that stirred their soul. All the technical coaching in the world could not make these people into great presenters unless they found meaning in their soul. Can you imagine how horrifically boring their sales pitches were? (I am sure you can Guy, as you have sat through many of them)
    Give me a presenter like Majora anytime over a hyper-coached, slick willie. I want to be MOVED as a result of listening to someone speak, and I would much prefer they show their true self rather than execute the technical details perfectly.

  32. Guillaume Gete July 27, 2006 at 11:23 pm - Reply

    I guess the issue here is not if Miss Carter is as good as Steve Jobs or not, but how Guy can see the really good points of her speech but forgets to discuss her visible weak points (reading too much and sometimes too fast). But it does not remove the fact that she has indeed some power when delivering, more because of the message itself than the way she delivers it.
    Did you read this part of the posting?
    “She speaks rapidly—bordering on too rapidly, but she is articulate at all times. And she slows her cadence for her most important points. You can tell that she’s trying to observe her time limit—communicating that she respects the audience’s time.”
    “She uses notes and reads from them in places. Generally, you shouldn’t do this, but all that counts are the end results, so this is a non-issue in her case.”

  33. PaulSweeney July 28, 2006 at 2:19 am - Reply

    The presentation is a call to action, a call for us to find our sense of urgency, to shake us up. She is not “corporate” she is “real”; she is not “profesionally presenting”, she is presenting what “professionalism” has done to her, her family, her community. This is one of the most inspiring presentations I have seen, because her story is inspiring. I never, ever send clips to people. This one I sent.

  34. Brett Astor July 28, 2006 at 7:16 am - Reply

    I’m grateful that you’ve shared Majora’s presentation.
    The point here isn’t the “performance” element of her presentation.
    The point is that as humans we all yearn for authenticity. We yearn to be moved on a level deeper than the business world’s ever-evaluating voice will allow for.
    Majora’s authenticity was moving. Her passion was palpable. She risked vulnerability. she showed her human-ness. These things transcend the cultural values we bow to in business.
    Majora gave a gift to her audience. It’s up to us to be in touch with our humanness enough to receive that gift. If we’re not, the loss is most certainly ours.

  35. Radio Sage Blog July 28, 2006 at 7:58 am - Reply

    Guy, The Mailbag, and Why Authenticity Rules Radio Advertising, Too

    I want to thank Guy Kawasaki for his July 26th blog post. It was the inspiration for synthesizing some thoughts that I’ve had in my head for some time. === From The Mailbag Oops. We received a piece of your…

  36. Splashman July 28, 2006 at 8:11 am - Reply

    To those who say “stop picking on the details of her performance, it’s the passion/sincerity/content that matters,” I’d like to point out that Guy didn’t limit his effusive praise to Majora’s passion/sincerity/content. If he had, I suspect there would be precious little argument — certainly none from me.
    In the real world, the quality of the presentation matters at least as much as the content, regardless of how much we might wish it to be otherwise. Guy knows this to be true.
    Not sure if “Guy” at 11:23 is Guy Kawasaki (what’s up with “Guillaume Gete”?), but I’d like to point out that in both cited examples, Majora’s flaws are briefly acknowledged, then excused. Again, the real world doesn’t work that way. Certainly, if one is already passionate about a subject (or the presenter), one will make allowances for just about anything. But if one is trying to influence an audience (change their position), it’s naive and misguided to expect the audience to overlook the neglect of fundamental principles of verbal communication.
    To those who say, “of course Majora’s presentation is less polished — Steve’s had more experience, has better support, is a rich white man, etc.”, I must again point out that Guy’s comparison of Majora to Steve is unqualified. That means he didn’t say, “Majora is better in a couple of areas.” He didn’t say, “Majora would be better than Steve if she had the same support and 20 years’ practice.” The title of his post is “As good as Steve Jobs.” And nothing in the body of the post gives the impression that he is qualifying the comparison.
    I think we can all agree that Majora’s presentation could be much better than it already is, if the cited fundamentals were improved.
    If you read the blog, I didn’t say she’s better than Steve at all. I said she’s as good:
    “She is every bit as good as Steve Jobs.”
    The place where I qualified what I said is: “Maybe better when you consider she doesn’t have a dozen minions supporting her.” That is, if you factor in that she doesn’t have an entourage, she might be better.

  37. Stefan Seiz July 28, 2006 at 8:15 am - Reply

    It’s all about passion. And man – is she passionate.

  38. Stefan July 28, 2006 at 8:36 am - Reply

    She’s good, but Steve is better.
    My points: She speaks to fast, it’s like running through her speech, and I dislike her looking at a teleprompter (or the floor?).

  39. Geof Auchinleck July 28, 2006 at 9:50 am - Reply

    Sure, she used a script and talked fast: so what? Did you find it hard to understand her message?
    Simply put: passionate + articulate = compelling.

  40. Morgan July 28, 2006 at 10:23 am - Reply

    I haven’t watched the video yet, but according to the post and the comments, Majora calls the audience to action. If this is her goal, then that’s the variable by which the power of her presentation should be measured. Otherwise, what follows is simply an audience talking about the latest thriller in the box office. That may generate awareness, but awareness is not the same as response.

  41. Inside Rod's Head... July 28, 2006 at 10:42 am - Reply

    Portraits In Leadership: Majora Carter

  42. Rod July 28, 2006 at 10:44 am - Reply

    Thanks for not “wasting” her…

  43. Radio Sage Blog July 28, 2006 at 12:08 pm - Reply

    Guy, The Mailbag, and Why Authenticity Rules Radio Advertising, Too

    I want to thank Guy Kawasaki for his July 26th blog post. It was the inspiration for synthesizing some thoughts that I’ve had in my head for some time. Radio advertising – all advertising – is about influence. === From…

  44. JP Morgan July 28, 2006 at 12:40 pm - Reply

    I think Steve Jobs is far and away a better speaker.
    Majora looks at the floor and speaks way too quickly as if she is reading from a script. Steve connects with the audience by looking them in the eye. Steve also does not rush to see how many words he can get out in each breath.
    Also, as far as content, Majora stretches the truth and passes off assumptions as truth. She also makes environmental wrongs an issue of race. Another example of passing off assumptions as truth is her assumption that obesity among inner city blacks is caused by an environmental problem. Actually, obesity is caused by, among other things, eating too much, not the bus/people ratio.

  45. Random Thoughts July 29, 2006 at 1:09 am - Reply

    Inspiring Speech On Urban Renewal

    I just watched the speech that Majora Carter from Sustainable South Bronx gave at this years TED conference. She talks about her commitment to environmental justice and her vision for a renewed South Bronx1 and it is everything tha…

  46. Kempton July 29, 2006 at 9:21 am - Reply

    Thank you so much for bring the video of Majora Carter to our attention and then, may be as importantly, sharing your thoughts of what you learned from her speech in such a detailed manner (love the provided timecode). Majora has some weakness as you pointed out (speaks rapidly, uses notes and reads from them in places) but, like you say, I think she completely got her points across and effectively.
    I honestly thinks the world need more female role models. My personal favorite is Louise Arbour (“Chief Prosecutor of War Crimes” turned “Supreme Court of Canada Justice” turned “UN High Commissioner for Human Rights”)
    With a lady like her, I am so proud to be Canadian.
    As a man, I think this world will be a better place (more integrity, less war, less conflict) If we have more strong and smart females in politics. Witness #14 when Majora dissects Al Gore in her “wonderful, non-threatening way”. (smile)
    P.S. I should thank Sean Wise in encourage this newbie to start exploring this wonderful world of blogging. I somehow wandered to this site from his.

  47. Kal July 29, 2006 at 11:16 am - Reply

    Fascinating. I’m not talking about the presentation but rather the reader reaction to your posting. Given the opinionated comments and the unusually low user rating of your post, it seems that many people take serious issue with you lauding your normally reserved praise on a black female after directly comparing her more favorably to a white male (Steve Jobs). Fascinating…but not surprising.
    One other point:
    -Garr Reynolds, who writes a respected blog on presentation- – had this to say about Majora’s TED presentation: “Ms. Carter did a fantastic job…She connected. Majora delivered the goods. Powerful stuff.”

  48. oh_geez July 29, 2006 at 2:45 pm - Reply

    Hey Kal, how come it’s OK for people like you to bash, oh say, Christians, but it’s not all right for others to give a reasoned critique about a speaker who happens to be a black female? Guy’s post was obviously meant to polarize (hence the title – listen to one of his talks, its one of the points) and he succeeded.
    Then you come along and make it all about race. What a moronic contribution. Of course with your type, it’s “not surprising”.

  49. W.P. Wily July 29, 2006 at 3:54 pm - Reply

    I don’t know that I would use the term moron, but I have to agree with his point. Making this thread all about race instead of speaking technique seems to be some sort of political agenda.
    Interesting point about Guy and polarization, I remember that slide, also.
    Speaking of Guy’s slides, can anyone please explain to me about the hotel that had a laundry on each floor? I didn’t quite understand what Guy was getting at with that one.

  50. A Bob's Life July 30, 2006 at 1:50 am - Reply

    As Good As Steve Jobs?

    Guy Kawasaki posted about a speech at TED by Majora Carter (which you can watch here).  He writes that her speech is as good as one done by Steve Jobs, the CEO of Apple Computer and Pixar.  Her speech is good; more importantly she is discussing a vit…

  51. Bob July 30, 2006 at 2:01 am - Reply

    A great speech, no doubt about it. As good as Jobs? That’s questionable. I think the criticism in the comments isn’t about her speech, its about Guy’s comparison to Jobs. She’ll be in that league with time and practice. And yes, she’ll get it. She got herself a seat at Al Gore’s table! The person who thinks she didn’t write it, though…that’s just plain wrong. If she hadn’t written it, she wouldn’t have had the passion.

  52. TJ July 30, 2006 at 2:51 pm - Reply

    Dreadful speaking style. I had to switch her off. It was that irritating. She damages the casue she’s speaking for – not aids it.

  53. Working Solo July 30, 2006 at 10:01 pm - Reply

    Technology and the Power of Influence

    I want to share with you one of my favourite ways to use technology. I get really excited by technology when it acts as a platform for learning – learning about inspirational people, influential ideas and new trends feeds my

  54. John Koetsier July 31, 2006 at 3:04 pm - Reply

    Are you joking? As good as Steve Jobs?
    I see the same issues that you saw – speed and reading – but I think they’re way more important than apparently you did.
    Say less, communicate more.

  55. Boss Lady August 3, 2006 at 2:30 pm - Reply

    A Lesson in Speaking from the Heart

    I’m loving Guy Kawasaki’s blog lately. It’s just full of insightful, smart & funny musings on business and other stuff. Recently he has been blogging quite a bit about public speaking, and a few days ago he posted a piece on Majora Carter, the Executiv…

  56. Brazen Careerist August 4, 2006 at 6:52 am - Reply

    Make time for big ideas: You need about twenty minutes

    I interview two or three people a week for the various columns that I write. One thing I have learned from this is that people can tell you the major ideas they have in about twenty minutes. After twenty minutes…

  57. Businomics Blog August 8, 2006 at 11:27 am - Reply

    More on Great Speaking

    After my recent post about CEOs as speakers, I came across a description of a great speech in Guy Kawasaki’s blog (which is very good). Kawasaki is a VC, a former Apple Fellow, and a prolific writer. His first compliment

  58. Morten KH August 9, 2006 at 5:26 am - Reply

    I think the keyword is ‘potential’. She is already a brilliant speaker, and has sooo much potential it makes me cry.
    Is she better than Steve Jobs, as to this moment? My answer is “We could discuss this to Christmas, simply because we got different taste, we react differently on the same situation (and in this case speech) – in other words: it’s about talking to the people you want to have listening to you. If you didn’t like her speech as much as you enjoy a Steve Jobs keynote, maybe you’re not the one she wants to talk to?”.
    I don’t know if the above is true, but one thing is for sure, she has potential to beat Steve Jobs. Lots of it.

  59. mikey August 10, 2006 at 5:31 pm - Reply

    gotta post a comment as I just can’t believe that people can actually sit there & say this woman is damaging her cause!
    she is a wonderfully passionate, committed woman who is putting herself on the line for something she totally believes in.
    once you nay-sayers grow the balls to speak in front of a huge audience (1000 of the best thinkers on planet no less!), when you haven’t be trained to do so, when you’re up against some very big names & experienced speakers
    and to show soooo much heart!
    how can you not be utterly amazed by this presentation & this woman?
    utterly fabulous!
    guy, to restate another comment ‘thanks for not wasting her’
    go majora!!

  60. Patrick August 11, 2006 at 10:55 pm - Reply

    As good as Steve is your question? Can she code? grin
    Majora Carter is the Woman, while Steve Jobs is the Man. They both are passionate about what they believe in and although they are much different, they both desire to take back our country. While one wants to create environmental justice, the other desires entertainment integrated into computers. They both beat a drum that sets a stage that makes listeners into fans. You can’t compare great ones against each other.
    In common is their desire to bring people together, as one wants the streets covered with people and the other wants people covered with digital communication. I think it is their sincerity, compassion, and beliefs that make them share the same frequency.
    If you think about the people that walked the streets 100 years ago and made this Country, it truly was leaders like Majora Carter and Steve Jobs.
    Can you imagine our country today if all politicians shared Majora Carter’s knowledge and passion.

  61. Nishith Prabhakar August 18, 2006 at 5:25 pm - Reply

    TED2006 – Wonderful video on data mining, analysis and presentation

  62. André Hedetoft September 30, 2006 at 2:56 am - Reply

    Damn! She blew me away! So much I want to say but what I think is most important is the fact that she has everything I miss from the politicans in my country. She is down right passionate and honest about her quest. Passion! Honesty! Quest! She makes you care about something I honestly didn’t care much about before I watched her. And that is saying a lot!
    André Hedetoft
    Just created a game where you get to play with my real life over at

  63. smita October 24, 2006 at 8:16 am - Reply

    Dear Sir,
    Your solution
    Business model
    Underlying magic/technology
    Marketing and sales
    Projections and milestones
    Status and timeline
    Summary and call to action
    Since I am new to the topic of powerpoint presentations can one elaborate on the following with examples?

  64. Syven March 18, 2007 at 11:14 pm - Reply

    I simply want to hear new voices rather than presentation deliveries. I am sick and tired of presentations but I am not tired of people who make a real difference to their community, a real difference to their families or their workplaces. I invested this time in listening to Mejora Carter and my take away is that she demonstrated pride in her community and she knows how to work with people. I am guessing from the body language that she is fully capable of giving someone like me a good verbal whipping if I demonstrate no idea of street smarts.
    Words like charismatic are meaningless to me, try real. Mejora Carter is as real a person as I have ever witnessed or seen in my life; and the reason I consider her a vocal minority isn’t because of the colour of her skin but the vocal majority who get behind any mike who are as fake and unnatural as any hair color product can be. When she turned around to Al Gore to clear up a point, this moment in the video wasn’t a routine or a sketch or even a rehearsed delivery, for I could see by Al Gore’s look of surprise that this was a genuine moment of exchange and that he had a visible respect for her.
    IMHO to turn any person into a presentation demonstration puts the wheel of judgment in motion and I don’t think that Ms.Carter’s views need to be ratified like some Miss Congeniality beauty contest. The age of treating presentations like a Nadia Comaneci moment of perfection and excellence was great when it was on the TV, when we had nothing better to do than watch life being glorified a series of 10 scores – but today we live in an interactive age, one where we are not supposed to be pasted to our couch, one where we don’t have to escape to a local bar to exchange whatever tidbit of time passing entertainment that will fall into our laps.
    What I saw (and I don’t give a flootin-tootin what anybody else saw, since I don’t write this stuff out as an amusement for others but for myself); is a woman, who, seems to me, has plenty of butt-kicking pride about her community; someone who you can replace the word “holistic” with the words “that gal knows what she is talking about”. I write this, because I can see what she is talking about; and she is a vocal minority that actually serves to make a significant difference in the lives of those people of her village, her people, her world. That is good enough for me, for there are plenty of people who can learn to sell, but that there are far less who have learned to love.
    I chucked inspiration in the river a long time ago when I realized how “quo” the status quo can be. For what have I ever learned from the predictable vocal majority that has served to elevate my sense of a life and transformational value. I can smell authentic nature wherever and whenever it is, for I have a prescriptive nose for that. The most ironic twist of all is that the silent majority who have the most authentic nature in our world are also the most trustful, the most loyal, the most believing, the most incorruptible people on G-d’s earth.
    These are the people who Mejora Carter represents, ordinary folk, decent folk, folk that don’t judge, don’t measure, don’t pontificate (unlike me) but they humbly accept what life throws at them, they do whatever it takes to survive in the worst conditions imaginable, and in so doing have very little thought capital left over to raise imagination to a level of those who have the time to score presentation techniques. Now wonder these environments create the very helplessness that serve to deafens a world of planners, politicians and Pavlovian officials to blueprints of human imprisonment.
    That is what is changing now and that is the true significance for me of this particular video; that we can sit witness to what can being unearthed from the rubble of human experiences. What is the essence of this human experience other than a simple promise, to make life a home not a demolition job.
    So on Earth would I be remotely compelled about how Mejora weighs up against another human beings showmanship; especially when I have never met the lady face to face, when I got no bone with her, when all I can see is another human being trying her best to create a human environment rather than an urban zoo of disconnections, where the word “BEST” still has to be delivered as an acronym. Do I need Mejora’s acronyms or alliterations. No. Do I need to sit back and absorb the value that I am witnessing in a human being that actually talks like a human being. Yes.
    It is this personal value that these fingers of mine are always typing away online to improve; and for the most part all my words above are simply a bath time. For I have read all the comments and these comments don’t represent my life or even remotely close to how I view or see my world. So I pour out these extra paragraphs because they cleanse me of words that do not belong to my life. They also remind me that as I think out aloud, that I had the pleasure of watching a clear video delivered free, witnessing heart not just script, of a fine lady that accompanies me to a worthy nights retirement.
    The closest I have ever come to the world Mejora Carter describes is when I traveled between Penn Station and Newark Airport; and there on that journey is a bit in the middle which represents a part of New Jersey forgotten between premier destinations. I was looking for a word to describe the intuitive sense I have when the train passes through a few of these New Jersey neighborhoods. That word, is the one I found tonight, it is the word “Mejora”.
    I saw a bit of New Jersey in transit that was missing its “Mejora”. The fact that I go to sleep tonight knowing that there is a different part of New York that has “Mejora” in it, means there is an ounce of something special being shone on that place. For I have heard it read “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love” – and so for me to go to sleep after any presentation that even remotely looks like these words, is a worthy moment of self indulgence.
    My takeaway tonight, is that I need to be far less self-indulgent and simply wake up tomorrow morning with the knowledge that “something special” has less hiding places than it ever did in human history; that this something special today is around every corner, every thoughtful observation, every personal choice when we become determined to find it, to realize it, to awaken it – and so I take this gift so given to me tonight and I merely welcome it with a purer heart. I can’t think of a better way for me to go to sleep than that.

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