TEDxSanDiego 2016 – The Age of Wonder

I recently  had the pleasure of attending TEDxSanDiego. This year's theme was The Age of Magic, a celebration of those things in life that fill us with a sense of wonder and awe.

Each talk is less than 10 minutes but each speaker works with a presentation coach to help them hone in on their story and presentation.

Spoken word artist Gill Sotu shared about the things in life that create ordinary magic.

Janelle Ayres, assistant professor at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, proposes that we have been approaching infectious diseases from the wrong perspective. She asks: how can we survive the infection, not just fight it.

Thomas Albright, Professor and Director, Vision Center Laboratory at the Salk Institute, lists three reasons why eyewitnesses fail: uncertainty, bias, and confidence. 

Dawn Barry, Vice President, Applied Genomics at Illumina reminded us that our DNA is not our destiny.

Natalie Kaczorowski, aka Comic Connie, asked what if being a super hero was normal.

Lex Gillette, 4-time paralympic world champion and world-record holder in the long jump, says there is no need for sight when you have a vision.

Justin Brooks, founder of  the California Innocence Project, once walked 712 miles from San Diego to Sacramento to convince the Governor to use this power to free 12 innocent people.

Scott Klemmer, co-founder and co-director of the Design Lab at UCSD, said prototyping was like a time machine to the future.

Regina Bernal, Entrepreneurship Manager, University of San Diego School of Business looked at the collaboration between Tijuana and San Diego as an example for the rest of the world.

Navrina Singh, Head of Qualcomm ImpaQt, encouraged us to think of oursleves like a SmartPhone: every day is a chance for a new version of yourself! 

Productivity expert Ellen Goodwin has made a study of the dive bars of San Diego—and the people that frequent them.

Kelly Mellos is an artist who encouraged Israeli and Palestinian teens paint portraits of each other and in the process everyone gained more empathy.

The rise and complete domination of live video.

Last month I had the pleasure of attending Social Media Marketing World here in San Diego. The big takeaway: live video is here.
Facebook Live gives you the ability to broadcast live to your friends, your business page or to a group. This creates an easy way to share live events or broadcast to your following. Facebook thinks so much of live video that they are giving Facebook Live top priority in their algorithm. Yep, if you want attention: go live on video.

Other interesting developments: Blab.im looks like a fantastic alternative to Google hangouts and lets you talk with up to four people on screen and integrates text comments.

  • YouTube Connect is coming
  • Instagram increased the length of videos to 60 seconds
  • 39% of 18 to 32 year-olds are on Snapchat


Are you ready for a noisier stream?

When it comes to making a human connection, nothing beats video. You can give behind the scenes looks at what's going on. Having a commanding presence on live video will become an even more important business and social skill.

But just think how much longer it takes to watch a 30 second video than it takes to glance at a shot on Instagram. A lot of people just like to hear themselves talk. I see an even increasing need for filters. It will be interesting to watch the balance of authenticity and media overwhelm play out.


Yeah, I'm on Snapchat: @annemccoll

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All the #smmw16 sketchnotes:



What Luke Skywalker taught me about the big idea.

Why is Episode 4: A New Hope the most popular Star Wars movie. (Other than the fact that it was the first one?)

It has a strong storyline. Sure Episodes 1, 2 and 3 have bright shiny technology, but they lack story. Let's take a side-by-side look at Episode 1: The Phantom Menace and Episode 4: A New Hope. Comparing the storylines of the two movies got me thinking about the importance of the big idea when telling a story. (Whether you should begin with the prequels or original trilogy is a whole other blog post.)

The original Star Wars, A New Hope, is a classic story of good vs evil. We follow the quest of young Luke as he grows as a young man.  The end of the movie is an adrenaline rush as we watch Luke and the other pilots make the assault on the Death Star and blow it up.

Contrast this with the ending of Episode 1 The Phantom Menace. Who are we rooting for?

  • The froggish Jar Jar Binks leading the Gungans into battle against the Trade Federation battle droids.
  • Then we have Princess Amidalaleading the capture of the palace.
  • Anakin ends up in the sky and blows up the control ship thus disabling all the droids.
  • And finally, Qui-gon Jinn and Obi-wan Kenobi battle Darth Maul.

Did you get that? Now imagine if this was a marketing campaign. With A New Hope, you can name who the hero is – Luke Skywalker.

Now quick, who's the hero of the Phantom Menace?

If you stuff too many details in your messaging people end up remembering nothing.

May the Fourth be with you.

When online and offline collide: Sharing your Instagram shots IRL.

With 300 million users uploading 21.9 billion photos on Instagram last year, we’re taking and sharing more photos than ever before. But the funny thing is, we’re printing fewer and fewer of them. Instagram may have the highest engagement of any social network, but you can also engage people by printing out your Instagram shots. The intersection of online and offline is my favorite place to hang. Here are a couple creative ways to share your favorite photos.

An Instagram business card.

Sue B. Zimmerman is The Instagram Expert, a high-energy entrepreneur who helps growing businesses find and connect with their audiences on Instagram. Is it any surprise that her business card is an Instagram shot of her in an Instagram frame? Sue's contact information is printed on the back. These are Mini Squares printed by Social Print Studio, a fun online studio that prints your Instagram shots. (I am not an employee, I simply love their products.) And yes, several months after meeting Sue again at #smmw15, I still have her business card pinned up on my bulletin board. How's that for brand engagement?

Cards Against Banality.

Branding expert Liz Goodgold is a speaker and author of How to Speak Gooder: Brand-New Rules for Public Speaking in a Digitally Distracted World.

Liz’s talks are the epitome of  “edutainment” – blending information, education, humor, and real-world examples. She is known for her Words of Lizdom, a collection of wise and punny aphorisms. As a holiday gift I designed a card set of her Words of Lizdom. (Large format Squares from Social Print Studio.) I know Liz got a big kick out of them and appreciated the personalized gift.


The Word Book

In the writing world, November NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writing Month where writers commit to writing the first draft of a novel. While I couldn’t commit to writing 1,600 words a day, I could commit to writing 1 word a day. So every day for a month, I created a word image on mobile devices, using a combo of photo, Over and Brushes and posted the word image on Instagram. At the end of the month I printed a tiny book, My Favorite Words.

I sent My Favorite Words out as a holiday promo to my clients. It was a big hit, many even shared the book on Instagram. Now, over a year later, when I visit their offices, many clients have the tiny book stuck on a filing cabinet. (The back cover contains a magnet! Yep, printed by Social Print Studio.) This is the beauty of print, if you create something precious, people will keep it, providing a lasting branding message.

Do you have any crafty Instagram ideas? Share them on Instagram and tag me: @annemccoll.

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Sketchnotes from Social Media Marketing World #smmw15

I attended Social Media Marketing World once again and sketchnoted every session I attended. With over 100 speakers, there was usually a choice of 10 talks to choose from so I actually covered about 10% of the conference including keynotes. What were the big takeaways?

  • Podcasting is big.
  • Everything is video. (Hasn't every year since 2005 been year of the video?)
  • Niche deep to stand out.











Introducing a new service: The Art of the About Page: Your Story Unfolds.

The Art of The About Page from Anne McColl on Vimeo.

Is your about page something you just threw together?

Your about page for your blog or business is such an important page. This is where your potential audience not only gets to know who you are and what you do, but more importantly, the why behind what you do. It’s also one of the most frequently visited pages on your site. This is your opportunity to shine.

But if you’re like most of us, writing about yourself can be pretty difficult.

You with feel like you’re bragging, or in an effort to sound “professional,” you fall into the trap of using corporate mumble-jumble B.S. (That stands for Business Speak.)

Let’s work together to make your about page rock.

Together, we’ll work on communicating what sets you apart. We’ll tell your story.

Here’s how it works.

  1. You get some homework. This is where your potential audience not only gets to know who you are and what you do, but more importantly, the why behind what you do. I’ll also do my fair share of research and getting familiar with your business.
  2. I’ll channel my inner Katie Couric. I’ll play Katie and you’ll get on the hot seat. We’ll meet by phone or Skype and I will start asking you questions. I’m a good listener. You never know what might inspire a good story. A minor detail that you just casually toss out might be a real kernel upon which to build. (My clients give me credit for writing great copy, really, I just know how to draw it out of them.)
  3. I’ll write a draft, then you’ll review. We’ll do another round or two as needed. But by then we should be pretty darn close.

Check out these samples:

Sketchnotes & Quotes
Green Truck
iGroup Design

Ready to get started?

The About Page $900

A deposit of $450 is requested to hold your place for an about page sessions. Email me at Anne at AnneMcColl dot com so we can see if we’re a good fit for each other—and to get you on my calendar.

2015 Availability:

Now booking for April 2015.

Sketchnotes featured by Social Media Examiner

dh-26-tips-social-media-marketing-480 The sketchnotes I created last year for Social Media Marketing World #smmw14 were featured this week in an article on Social Media Examiner: 26 Tips for Improving Social Media Examiner.

My sketchnotes illustrated a creative use of  Slideshare. Of course, I always want to bring people back to my site but by putting the sketchnotes out on Slideshare, the collection has racked up almost 30,000 views, something that would never have happened had I only posted them on my site.

You can see the article here.


3 easy ways to combat digital distraction and get down to writing.

digital_distraction_anne_mccoll Some people are able to sit at their desk all day with a bowl of M&Ms, welcoming their co-workers with a blast of sweetness.


I am not that person. Put a bowl of M&Ms in front of me and I will eat them all. If I want will power, I have to put the bowl of M&Ms in another room.


The same is true for the shiny lure of social media. I am on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and  Instagram for work. I am on social media for my business, but if I’m not careful, social media can be a great time suck. I have found a few apps that make it easier to limit my time on social media and get down to the business of writing.




This is a beautiful app that lets you turn off the Internet connection to your machine so you can be more productive. (Extremely useful if you are at work or a co-working space and can’t physically turn off the Internet.) You turn Freedom on and specify how long you’d like to focus and you get down to work. If for some reason you do need to get back online before your specified time is up, you can reboot your computer.



Now often, people say, “Wait, I need such and such a site open so I can do my work, or research.” If that’s the case, then you just need a little Self-Control. This handy dandy app lets you specify what web sites to block or to specify the only websites you’re able to access. Again, you can specify up to 24 hours which sites to block. SelfControl ups the ante, you can’t access your blacklisted sites until your time is up—even if you restart your computer.


Do you ever have moments where you go to a coffee shop or an empty conference room in your office and get an amazing amount of work done? Sometimes moving to a new physical location helps with your ability to focus. OmmWriter is like that. It’s a simple text editor with simple backgrounds and soothing sound effects that create a distraction-free environment that helps you focus on your writing at hand in a calm collected manner. OmmWriter isn’t a word processing program so it doesn’t have spell check and other tools. Its primary purpose is to help you get your thoughts down in a first draft. By far, one of the best things to happen in writing.

Happy writing!



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