43 Folders

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Merlin’s weekly podcast with Dan Benjamin. We talk about creativity, independence, and making things you love.

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”What’s 43 Folders?”
43Folders.com is Merlin Mann’s website about finding the time and attention to do your best creative work.


Fake Rocks, Salami Commanders, and Just Enough to Start

MaxFunCon: Merlin Mann on Doing Creative Work (via TSoYA)

Here’s the audio from a short talk I presented a few weeks ago at Jesse Thorn’s awesome1 MaxFunCon in Lake Arrowhead, CA. The talk is subtitled, “With All Due Respect to the Seduction Community2, and it contains my typically NSFW use of, well, words, I guess.

It’s about how to get started—just started—with any project that really matters to you.

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Video: Merlin's Talk, "Toward Patterns for Creativity"

Merlin Mann - "Toward Patterns for Creativity" - Macworld PULSE

Here's a video of my presentation, "Toward Patterns for Creativity," from earlier this month at Macworld, here in SF.

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Time & Attention Presentation: "Who Moved My Brain?"

Who Moved My Brain? Revaluing Time & Attention (slideshare.net)

a brain in a jarThanks to my pals, Dara and Shawn, I've been preparing for a return visit with the folks at GoDaddy to deliver a couple talks on Inbox Zero and Time and Attention.

As I've been going over my slides for the Time & Attention talk, I realized I hadn't shared how the material has evolved since it premiered at Macworld in January. Which is to say, "Kind of a lot." So, I've posted the updated deck.

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InformationWeek story on Merlin's Macworld '08 presentation

macworld 08 talk

How To Take Back Your Time And Attention -- Merlin Mann -- InformationWeek

Wow. Mitch Wagner did an ass-kickingly thorough job of summarizing my talk at Macworld about wrangling your time and attention. Really nice work, Mitch -- thanks, man.

"When the value of your times is set too low, or not at all, it leads to waste and abuse," Mann said.

This is a particular problem for knowledge workers. (How do you identify knowledge workers? "Look for someone with girlie smooth hands who can go to lunch whenever they want," Mann explained.) Knowledge workers have huge amounts of freedom in how they work, they aren't micromanaged, they just have goals to achieve. That freedom is dangerous. "You can find yourself at two in the morning staring at Wikipedia covered in pizza crusts," Mann said.

Up top is a snap of the slides from my talk, which I'll try to get up on Slideshare when I get a chance to tidy them up.

[Pimp: here's information on my speaking gigs and how to bring me in to speak with your organization]

update 2008-01-21 12:39:42: Okay, she's up. As ever, I'm not sure these'll make much sense without me standing there, yammering, but here's a clickable version of my slides:

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Grids, The Rule of Thirds, and Rethinking Slide Presentations

'Presentation Zen' by Garr Reynolds

Presentation Zen
by Garr Reynolds

I received my contributor copy of Garr Reynolds's Presentation Zen book last week and proceeded to devour it over the weekend. A fuller review is coming to this space soon, because this is the book about presentations that's needed to be written for years, and it's just fantastic. Best of all it's not another recipe book about "how to make slides" -- this is about re-imagining how your entire presentation will work together as a persuasive and integrated show, from conception through delivery. Awesome.

Anyhow, with my inaugural Macworld talk looming on the horizon (T-minus 16 days, thanks), I've been inspired by Garr's book (and the top-notch site on which it's based) to, among other things, try revamping the approach to how slides fit in to my overall show. As I said on the Twitter, that starts with shit-canning the PowerPoint-y Keynote templates I've previously torn up and pasted together for stuff like Inbox Zero (here's the slides for that one, which Garr was kind enough to feature in his book).

But, now, rather than strictly trying to reinvent the wheel, I have a quest. A quest for a crazy-simple, design-centric Keynote template that's more about composition than gradients and 3-D bullet points. Ever heard of The Rule of Thirds?

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How I Made My Presentations a Little Better

Since my Google Tech Talk (previously) caught fire last month (it's gotten over 100,000 views so far), I've been receiving a lot of really nice email, comments, and questions about how I put my presentations together. I'm happy to oblige.

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An Oblique Strategy:
Honor thy error as a hidden intention


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Merlin used to crank. He’s not cranking any more.

This is an essay about family, priorities, and Shakey’s Pizza, and it’s probably the best thing he’s written. »

Scared Shitless

Merlin’s scared. You’re scared. Everybody is scared.

This is the video of Merlin’s keynote at Webstock 2011. The one where he cried. You should watch it. »