Jon Udell at Yahoo

We call our speaker series at Yahoo that has featured Arnold Schwarzenegger, Suze Orman, Tom Brokaw and, tomorrow, Tom Cruise, the Influentals. I am still trying to figure out how Tom Cruise falls into that group, but I digress. While these people are probably influential, I don’t know if they have the same day to day impact as some of our speakers in our TechDev Speaker Series.

I recently found out about the TechDev Speaker Series by accident when I heard that Guy Kawasaki came to Yahoo to speak. Chad Dickerson hosts the TechDev Speaker Series and really does a wonderful job with them. In the past we have also, apparently, had Chris Heuer, Jeff Barr, John Batelle, & Mark Hosler amongst others. I really wish that we did a better job of promoting these events as there are a ton of people that would want to see some of these speakers that have no idea about this series. Again, I digress.

Your probably asking yourself, why the hell would a sales guy want to go to any of these events? The answer is pretty simple, IMO, these people are the true influentials. These are the people are are influencing commerce, search, music, business. The people that actually come to our Influentials series are simply copy cats. Plus, I always enjoy learning something, even if most of it goes well over my tiny little sales head.

Jon Udell, from O’Reilly, was the speaker on Friday. His presentation was the same one that he gave at ETech, but since I didn’t go to that, I wanted to see his explanation on Attention Focusing Strategies. While I knew that it would be a bit techy, I thought that there were some things that I could carry over into a sales pitch.

Jon gave a cool overview of which I’ve now spent a bit more time trying to understand the value. Right now, to me at least, it is still pretty much of a tech only site as everyone is trying to make a land grab for the tech tagging sites (, digg, MyWeb, BlinkList, Reddit, etc.). I see how this will be valuable to the user, but I am at a total loss as to how some of these smaller companies will make money. How on earth is Reddit going to be in business in 12 months?

Jon also talked about his concept of screencasting, which to me seems no different then a typical Flash movie that has been done for years. I am trying to see the value in that, but am coming up a bit short. I do want to learn Flash so that I can start developing some screencasting apps for our clients. It doesn’t seem that challenging, I just need the motivation and perhaps a quick Flash lesson from Justin.

I do think that my headlines are the worst. Jon offered some suggestions on how to build better headlines and by lines, but I’ve never been a headless body found in topless bar type of writer, so you’re stuck with Jon Udell at Yahoo.


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