Start with the Purpose and the Rest Will Follow.


Let thy speech be better than silence.

Dionysius of Halicarnassus


He was a retired NBA superstar and took the stage to a huge round of applause.  It was exciting and I was jazzed. I love studying other speakers with the evil intent of stealing as much as possible.  I had my sketch pad ready and we were off to the races, or so I thought. In my notes, I wrote, what is he talking about?  What is the message? I had ten different ideas on what the purpose of the talk was, but even as he ended, I had no idea. It was a classic scatter-shooting, shotgun approach to content.  He had the public speaking chops, but the heart of the message was hidden in fluff. There was no real purpose to the presentation.

In 1974 we sent the first radio wave message into space.  It was called The Arecibo Interstellar Message. Its design and message were INTENTIONAL, PURPOSEFUL and SIMPLE – “we are here.”  Just in case anyone is looking, “we are here.” In a simple visual form it looked like this:



On November 4th of this year, a bunch of smart guys at MIT had a better idea.  If the core of the message is just “we are here” you should use lasers.  “If extraterrestrial life exists (see the Fermi Paradox – ) somewhere in our galaxy, we should use laser technology.  We can create a celestial front porch light.”



They knew what the purpose of the communication was.  They created their projects with a purpose at the core of their design.  The purpose of a message is at the heart of a great presentation.  What is the core message? Define it and embrace the message in a story and you have the fundamental beginnings of a well- crafted presentation.

Stage presentations, like stories, have a definable beginning, middle, and end, but without knowing the real and true message, the actual purpose of your actions, you may as well fire a shotgun and see where the pellets land.

The Primitive Use of Paper

I am quite often amazed, when working with small or large groups, at the number of people that arrive for a learning session with nothing to write on.  They have no tablet, not paper, no pen, no electronic note taking method, they just show up and take a seat.  AMAZING.  Apparently they pre-determined that nothing valuable enough to commit to pen and paper would be offered.

In or latest strategic platform, we examine the idea that developing a simple discipline in committing what you find interesting to some type of visual reference will change the way you develop ideas, look for solutions and view opportunities.

Safety Not Guarenteed 2

Let’s start with a simple fact:

When you write something down, the process creates a link to memory.  In fact, you are 34% more likely to recall a key point when you write it down.  That may not seem like much, 34%, but when you compare it to the 5% ability to remember when you DON’T write it down, 34% is like the Grand Canyon for your memory!

risk management

Next is about how you take notes.  At Creative Ventures we are old school.  We believe the deliberate process of using pen and paper has a distinctly positive impact on your memory.  There is something powerful about the primitive use of paper.



We practice the note style of “sketchnoting” –  the use of shapes, connections and text to visually synthesis information.  By developing a very rudimentary level of sketching, we have discovered what designers have been taught; images expand your attention span, create a completely different way to focus and radically increase comprehension and retention.  By developing a crude method of creating images you become a visual tinkerer.


We teach this style of note taking by beginning with a few simple images.  Try it out and discover if it can fit your style and thinking methods.



If you are really interested and want some additional resources, simply drop us a note and we will get them to you.