In a word: Education. Our goal in 2009 is to make explanatory videos that have a positive impact. To get there, we plan to focus of video subjects that are educational in nature and help address some of the big problems we face. We plan to introduce new series of videos that diverge from our Web roots and cover subjects that we believe need to be covered. You'll see the first of these starting very soon and continuing into February. We're starting with the basics - big ideas that will be... Continue Reading
We're big fans of Amazon's Kindle. It makes reading easier and we're convinced it could become an iPod-like device in the future in terms of ubiquity. We've been working to make our videos into Kindle books so people have another way to learn, in Plain English. I previously wrote about the Kindle here and here. The basic idea with the Kindle is that you can purchase and download books, magazines, newspapers and articles and have them delivered wirelessly to the Kindle. We see an... Continue Reading
Explainist (yay! they're back) has a new post about Explanatory Filenames and how to think about the person on the other end. Quote: But think about the guy on the other end who receives proposals from 10 different candidates on the deadline day, all with the same filename. The first thing he has to do is rename each of them. If you’re thinking about your audience, you’d save the proposal with your company’s name in the filename — e.g. TomCo-Annihilatrix_Proposal.pdf. I think the key point... Continue Reading
By the time I discovered the blog at Explainist.com, it had gone dark. The authors "Tom" and "Dave" had covered Common Craft , Scott McCloud's work at Google and a host of other explanation-related topics since January of 2007. Now the blog has sat unused since September 4th. I'm writing because I hope Explainist.com will come back. I've tried to find the owner of the site, but the WHOIS lookup only shows the host's name. I even thought Tom and Dave might be the Tom Crawford and Dave... Continue Reading
Over my life as a dental patient, dentists have told me to pay close attention to brushing the back of my bottom front teeth. Unfortunately, this piece of professional advice had a hard time getting into my daily routine. That changed recently - I'm now much more likely to brush these teeth - and it's because a new dentist took an extra 30 seconds to explain something important - why. There I sat, with a small liquid vacuum cleaner hanging off my jaw, waiting for the dentist to check in on the... Continue Reading
Common Craft was hired by Microsoft to help explain the new Windows Live.com. We were so excited to work with a local organization on a project that highlights a new direction for the company. Share this video with this code:
Sachi and I been talking about this and we're curious what you think. What is an explanation? What are the skills required to be a good explainer? What makes a good explanation?
Jay Rosen has written article that I could quote 1000 times. It's called National Explainer: A Job for Journalists on the Demand Side of News. It focuses on the huge success of an episode of "This American Life" called The Giant Pool of Money, which serves to explain the US mortgage crisis. This episode has been downloaded 50,000 times more than any other episide. Why? Because the producers (Ira Glass and Alex Blumberg) focused on explanation instead of information. When we talk about... Continue Reading
Recently I spent some time with Jon Udell for an episode of IT Conversations. Jon posted the interview today. I just listened to it and nothing I said made me cringe, so I thought I'd share it here with you. :) We talked about the evolution of the Common Craft format, different learning styles, off board brains and explanation problems, among other things. Have a listen or download it on the IT Conversations blog post. Thanks a lot for the opportunity Jon! I think it came out really well...
The yin to Common Craft's yang: I wish I knew more about this, the YouTube pages offer little info. Thanks to Paul Ingram and Ryan Turner for the pointers. Updated: Here it says "This is a hoax video produced by Rockwell for a sales meeting. See also: Turboencabulator" Thanks Bill!