All posts for “Explanation”

Explanation

Video: Explaining The US Election Process

Posted by: leelefever on October 10, 2012- 12:29pm

Categories: election, Explanation, Explanation, politics, video

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This time of year, politics is everywhere, and so is confusion. Electing the US president is a complex subject with lots of moving parts.   That’s why we chose to explain it with a simple, non-biased video that uses visuals to make it understandable.  It’s one of my favorite videos in our library and I hope it will be helpful to you and people you know. Please feel free to share it. Looking for more videos like this?  Check out our library of video explanations. Or build your own explanation... Continue Reading
A few weeks back I had coffee with Kalid Azad, who runs Better Explained, a blog and book that focuses on the use of intuition to understand “gnarly” subjects like math and programming. His tagline is “Learn right, not rote”. I love that.   Kalid made a point that day that stuck with me. Here it is from a blog post called “Developing Your Intuition for Math”. Our initial exposure to an idea shapes our intuition. And our intuition impacts how much we enjoy a subject. What do I mean?   Suppose... Continue Reading
Bill Clinton's speech at the Democratic National Convention, in my view, was remarkable because of how he chose to explain ideas. Politics aside, it was an great example of explanation at work. Last night we saw more evidence, via an interview with Jon Stewart, that explanation was his specific intent. Here's the video. The Daily Show with Jon Stewart   A few key quotes: "I was determined to get the facts right and to simplify the arguments without being simplistic, I didn't want to talk... Continue Reading

New Video - Big Data Explained by Common Craft

Posted by: leelefever on September 19, 2012- 8:24am

Categories: big data, data, Explanation, New Video, technology, video

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Today we’re announcing a new video explanation: Big Data - Explained by Common Craft   What it Teaches: Incredible amounts of data are produced every day, so much that we can’t use it all.  Big data is a term used to describe the tools and processes that seek to make this data useful and productive.  This video uses the example of traffic data to teach: Where big data comes from and how it’s collected Why special tools are required to use it The three big challenges: Volume, Variability and... Continue Reading

Explaining vs. Storytelling for Startups

Posted by: leelefever on September 18, 2012- 9:31am

Categories: Art of Explanation, business, Explanation, startups, storytelling

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Seattle investor and “startup guy” Chris Devore recently wrote about four categories of effort that will help founders show that their startup is growing and healthy.   There are four important categories of effort that every startup team needs to keep in mind. Too much -- or too little -- weight in any one of these areas can lead to disaster when it comes time to raise the next round: The first three categories are: Product Sales / Distribution  Recruiting All important points, but it’s the... Continue Reading

Bill Clinton Shows Why Explanation is an Art

Posted by: leelefever on September 9, 2012- 1:21pm

Categories: Art of Explanation, empathy, Explanation, packaging, politics, Speaking

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Late last week I got a text message from my politically-conservative brother in North Carolina that said “Has there ever been a better political speaker than Bill Clinton?” Indeed, wherever you stand on the political spectrum, it’s difficult to deny the effectiveness of Bill Clinton as a speaker.  E. J. Dionne published an opinion in the Washington Post where he said:  Bill Clinton is typically described as the empathetic, feel-your-pain guy. But his greatest political skill may be as a... Continue Reading

Why This Bathroom Sign Is a Great Explanation

Posted by: leelefever on September 7, 2012- 10:31am

Categories: Art of Explanation, communication, Explanation, motivation, signs

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I don't often look to bathrooms, much less camping toilets for great communication, but this is an exception.   In many state-maintained campgrounds in Washington State (and elsewhere), there are "vaulted toilets" with no running water.  Like an outhouse, everything ends up in underground pit that must be maintained.  This presents a problem.  Campers sometimes use the toilet as a trash can, which makes for a difficult situation for the people who need to remove the waste. Inside these toilets... Continue Reading

More Than Videos - How Common Craft is Evolving

Posted by: leelefever on September 6, 2012- 10:34am

Categories: business, Common Craft, Explanation, mission, strategy

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Lately you may have noticed a change in the direction of my posts here at the Common Craft Blog, and you probably know we’ve written a book about explanation. I'd like to take a minute to explain how we’re thinking about our future and why this change in direction makes sense.  For a few years now, we’ve been focused on our video explanations and the idea that video is a powerful form of communication.  I assure you, this is still an important focus for us and we’re currently working on more.... Continue Reading
Think for just a minute about the specialists who make a difference in your company or organization. Let's say you're a product manager. An IT specialist may keep your computers and networks up-to-date and working smoothly.  A marketing specialist may help you see opportunities to reach new customers or help to identify features customer want.  A programming specialist may help you discover ways software can make the product more powerful.    Together, these specialists and others become a... Continue Reading

I Was Never Taught Email Skills

Posted by: leelefever on August 27, 2012- 9:46am

Categories: Art of Explanation, communication, email, Explanation, work

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The best I can remember, my formal education in written communication ended in formal letter writing.  We learned where to put the return address and date, how to write a salutation and where to sign it.  While these are still valuable skills, in the past ten years, I have used this knowledge approximately zero times. Yet, I have likely written tens of thousands of emails over the same period.   No one ever taught me how to communicate with a computer or email. It just happened - I got a... Continue Reading

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