TEDx Singapore Talk: The Princess, the Witch, and the PowerPoint

Posted in all posts, design, events, powerpoint, presentation by coleman yee on October 17, 2010

The talk I gave during TEDx Singapore 8 months ago is now online!

(YouTube link – The Princess, the Witch, and the PowerPoint)

The talk, entitled The Princess, the Witch, and the PowerPoint is a fairy tale illustrating some bad PowerPoint design practices. It’s really a minor revision of the version I gave 3 years ago.

Enjoy 🙂


A huge thank you to the TEDx Singapore folks, especially those who put in an incredible amount of effort producing and editing the video.

And all who attended my talk, who added their laughter and made it so much more fun for me to present it.

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The Psychology of Eating

Posted in all posts, books, presentation, psychology by coleman yee on October 9, 2010

The amount of food we eat is influenced by many things around us, and we don’t even know it.

If we use a bigger plate for instance, we’ll put more food on the plate (and end up eating more). Or if we were presented with more variety, we’ll also end up eating more. Or if you eat with more people (vs eating alone), you’ll also end up eating more (unless you’re already a heavy eater, then you’d end up eating less).

The great thing about all this is that this can also help you lose weight effortlessly, without needing much willpower. You can tweak your environment so that you’ll end up eating less, such as by using smaller plates or having less variety. And because the stomach is really a bad judge of how much we’ve eaten, if you just eat 20% less using these tricks, your stomach can’t even tell. You won’t feel deprived.

And over time, you’ll slowly but surely lose weight. Just by drinking one less can of Coke everyday for instance would make you 6kg lighter in a year. Just one less can of Coke.

That, in a gist was what my talk today at BarCamp Singapore 6 was about. I don’t intend to share my slides, partly because they’re in a mess, but more because the research findings I talked about is mostly from the book Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think by Dr Brian Wansink (Amazon affiliate link), and you should buy or borrow it for yourself.

Mindless Eating is one of those rare non-fiction books combine sound and accurate information with fascinating insights and are entertaining and easy to read. I first read it from a library, but it was so good that I had to own one for myself.

It’s filled with numerous experiments that give insight into things that affect how much we eat, and how we can manipulate our environment so we will cut down the amount we eat.

One last tip. If you’re eating stuff like chicken wings or other foods that leave behind some ‘residue’ (like bones or shells or sticks etc.), don’t let the waiter clear it – you’ll end up eating less with the ‘residue’ in sight.

Thanks to all who attended my talk!

*** Update ***

Designer/illustrator Bernadette Quah drew a lovely visualization of my key points while attending my talk:

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The Open Web

Posted in all posts, events, internet, presentation, web by coleman yee on December 20, 2009

I gave this presentation for the Mozilla Drumbeat Challenge at Neoteny Singapore Camp 1 about a week ago.

The presentation was for this:

Category 2. The Ultimate Open Web Presentation
We’re looking for the ultimate presentation that explains the open web and why it matters. You’ve got 5 minutes — describe the open web in a way that will excite and illuminate.

My presentation lasted less than 5 minutes, but it took me many hours to prepare – coming up with different ideas, weighing the different ideas, testing out ideas with different people, and finally sitting down and working on the slides.

I decided to take a somewhat poetic approach (someone called it an “ode”) to resonate with the emotions more than the intellect. It was a risk, since I would be presenting to a primarily geek audience. But I took it anyway.

And it paid off, since the judges liked it, and declared mine the “best presentation”.

Lucian Teo also did a really nice presentation on the Open Web.

The other category of talks (for concrete project ideas to make the web better) was won by Preetam Rai, who presented on a Hat-Tip System for Free Content.

A big thank you to those who gave me feedback on my ideas before they were fully formed, including Lucian and Preetam! Bernard Leong too, for encouraging me to present, and Mark Surman for organizing this. And finally my colleagues at Digital Boomerang for their support, including letting me present to them so I could record the audio for the slideshare presentation.

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Design Thinking and finding True Love

Posted in all posts, design, presentation by coleman yee on November 21, 2009

My second presentation at Barcamp today was entitled “Design Thinking and finding True Love”.

It was really just an introduction to Design Thinking, but I added the “finding true love” part just to make things a little more fun.

Here are the slides:

My slides don’t give very much information, so I hope to add in more explanation to this post another time. If there’s enough demand 😉

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For smart geeks: How to explain difficult concepts to lesser beings

Posted in all posts, education, learning, presentation, usability by coleman yee on November 21, 2009

I did a talk at Barcamp this morning entitled “For smart geeks: How to explain difficult concepts to lesser beings”.

It was quite well-received, and here are the promised slides.

As with my usual presentations, my slides don’t say very much, but if I get the time, I’ll add in more details to this post.

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Barcamp Singapore 3

Posted in all posts, events, IA, powerpoint, presentation by coleman yee on February 28, 2009

Despite my heavy schedule these few weeks, I had to attend and speak at Barcamp Singapore 3 because it was held at my previous workplace – the Teaching & Learning Centre at Ngee Ann Polytechnic. My presentation was entitled “How to bluff your way through an interview on Information Architecture”, which was really just to introduce what IA is, why it’s important and what kind of value it adds, and a little on how an information architect goes about doing their work. The slides are on slideshare – make sure that you’re viewing the Notes tab below the slides, otherwise it won’t make much sense. Slideshare: How to bluff your way through an interview on Information Architecture Brian Koh liveblogged my session, and had a very nice comment at the end:

That’s it! From the people next to me. “That’s the most educational talk i’ve heard at Barcamp.” “IA is awesome!”

All I hoped for was for more people to know about IA, because I believe it’s important – I never expected anyone to think that IA is awesome. It was also great that quite a number of people came up to me to thank me after the presentation. These were all really nice. Later on towards the evening, I decided to do another presentation, since there was a free slot. It was an old presentation I used to do on the use of Powerpoint, entitled “The Princess, the Witch, and the Powerpoint“. That one never fails to entertain. Updates: Chin Yong has a great summary of my session. He also mentioned:

The presentation style of Coleman was entertaining and educational. I give him a two thumbs up. And of course, he already given himself 2 thumbs up pointing at himself everytime he mention “Good Information Architect”

The pointing at myself part was just me trying to be funny. At sgentrepreneurs, Ian Timothy had some very generous comments:

This was, perhaps, the most educational session I ever experienced at any of such events. Coleman isn’t just knowledgeable, he is charming and a great presenter with the right amount of humor. If there was a way to attach an affiliate link to the polar bear book and for the audience to purchase the book on the spot, Coleman would have cleared a fair amount of commission that day. Yes, he was that good.

Like I said, he was very generous. Just in case you can’t find the notes on slideshare. The notes start from slide 2.

Make sure you view the notes!

Make sure you view the notes!

Just starting my IA presentation – my first slide (photo by sgentrepreneurs):

IA presentation

Me showing a content inventory during the IA presentation (photo by Claudia Lim):

During my IA presentation - showing a content inventory

IA presentation

My audience at my IA presentation (photo by Lagoona Loire):

The people at my IA presentation

 IA presentation audience

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A different PowerPoint format

Posted in all posts, events, powerpoint, presentation, teaching by coleman yee on November 12, 2008

In my last post “Blogging, Podcasting, or Youtube? Choosing the right medium” – Podcamp Singapore, I talked about my experience as a speaker at Podcamp Singapore. For a long time, I wanted to try out a different way of using PowerPoint – using both the whiteboard and PowerPoint concurrently without having to move the projection screen up and down – and Podcamp was a great opportunity to do that.

Coleman presenting at Podcamp

Presenting at Podcamp

Notice that I was only using the top third of the screen for the PowerPoint slide. Which meant that I could use both the whiteboard and my PowerPoint slides at the same time.

How I did it

I used a black background on my PowerPoint slide, so that the projection wouldn’t interfere with the whiteboard. The text (in white) occupied only the top quarter of the slide. I could have used a lighter background for the top part of the slide, but black was easiest. My original plan was to pull the projection screen a third down, but the technology was too smart – the screen could only go all the way up (and the projector would turn off automatically), or all the way down. Thankfully I could slide the projection screen behind the whiteboard, resulting in a sloping screen, but it turned out fine. Here’s a shot of another slide.

Presenting at Podcamp - another slide

Presenting at Podcamp - another slide

Thanks to the Podcamp Singapore organisers for these shots.

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The Princess, the Witch, and the PowerPoint

Posted in all posts, powerpoint, presentation by coleman yee on October 16, 2007

Once upon a time, there was a beautiful princess…

The lecture room was pretty rowdy before I began, but the 17-year olds were soon absorbed my this fairy tale that I concocted to teach them the things to avoid and a few design principles when creating a PowerPoint presentation.

This story started some years ago, when I was still teaching at Ngee Ann Polytechnic. A few lecturer colleagues who had attended some of my PowerPoint workshops thought that the material would be helpful for their own students, so I agreed to guest lecture for them.

My initial presentation was called “PowerPoint Evils, And How to Avoid Them”.

(The animations and sounds are missing in the above.)

While students generally enjoyed that presentation, I eventually figured that I could do much better, especially since I had done a lot more thinking and learning in the area.

Thus came the idea to revamp that presentation completely, and convey the message using a silly fairytale – “The Princess, the Witch, and the PowerPoint”.

The video was taken when I was invited back to Ngee Ann Polytechnic again some time back to give the lecture to a group of Mass Communication students. Thanks to Kevin Lim for taking the video!