Monday, June 16, 2008

The Lessig Style

I'm a fan of Stanford professor Larry Lessig. Both his presentations and the way he designs them. I first stumbled across one of his talks at the TED site, How Creativity is being Strangled by the Law. I tried to explain the power of his talks to a friend and the best I could come up with were two words: minimal and compelling.

A physicist, Chris Tunnell, wrote a nice piece about the Lessig Style. The author discusses how using these same methods have made his own presentations more popular. He listed the following keypoints of the Lessig Style.
  • Minimal Text
  • XML Tags
  • Re-using images
  • Knowing your next slide
  • Blank slides
I might add only one item to the list and that is that the presentation is driven by the content. In most cases I feel like Lessig could lose the slides altogether and I would still listen. The slides support him not the other way around. The only thing I don't think I will use in my own presentations are the XML Tags. It works for him. The tags create his "style".

There are lots of Lessig presentations on the web but what I like about the TED presentation I've linked to is that you can see Lessig as he is talking. It's more like what I would expect in a classroom. You don't have to agree with him to appreciate his craftsmanship. Check him out.

[Image captured from TED talk: How Creativity is being Strangled by the Law:]

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