How To Focus On What’s Important

How To Focus On What’s Important

A family member spent the day yesterday with a friend in palative care. The patient had a cheery outlook and encouraged us to live each day to the fullest. I know for me, each day is a gift and each day is an opportunity to create something that can inspire others. I wrote the song “Ride OF Your Life” for the Canadian Cancer Society however, the lyrics are challenge to everyone to take each hill and valley of your journey and realize how they will make you stronger.

If you haven’t heard it lately, click the play button above.

What would you do … if you knew you only had:

30 years
10 years
1 year
1 month
1 week
1 day
1 hour
1 minute … to live?

What do your answers tell you about what you should be doing today?

What are YOU going to do today?

Thanks to my friend Bobb Biehl for his wisdom. Get his newsletter at

If you enjoyed the song, consider downloading it from iTunes:
Ride of Your Life - Closer to You

Guy Kawasaki – 10 Slides

Guy Kawasaki – 10 Slides

Colin-GuyKawasakiI am constantly struggling with the number of slides to use in my presentations. Maybe you have the same problem. I like clean, simple, graphically enhanced slides but often my slide deck balloons to over 50 slides! I met Guy Kawasaki at an Ad Tech conference and he gave an entire keynote on preparing your slides for presentation. I quickly did a search and found his blog post, so I’ve included it here.

The 10/20/30 Rule of PowerPoint

by Guy Kawasaki

I suffer from something called Ménière’s disease—don’t worry, you cannot get it from reading my blog. The symptoms of Ménière’s include hearing loss, tinnitus (a constant ringing sound), and vertigo. There are many medical theories about its cause: too much salt, caffeine, or alcohol in one’s diet, too much stress, and allergies. Thus, I’ve worked to limit control all these factors.

However, I have another theory. As a venture capitalist, I have to listen to hundreds of entrepreneurs pitch their companies. Most of these pitches are crap: sixty slides about a “patent pending,” “first mover advantage,” “all we have to do is get 1% of the people in China to buy our product” startup. These pitches are so lousy that I’m losing my hearing, there’s a constant ringing in my ear, and every once in while the world starts spinning.

To prevent an epidemic of Ménière’s in the venture capital community, I am evangelizing the 10/20/30 Rule of PowerPoint. It’s quite simple: a PowerPoint presentation should have ten slides, last no more than twenty minutes, and contain no font smaller than thirty points. While I’m in the venture capital business, this rule is applicable for any presentation to reach agreement: for example, raising capital, making a sale, forming a partnership, etc.

  • Ten slides. Ten is the optimal number of slides in a PowerPoint presentation because a normal human being cannot comprehend more than ten concepts in a meeting—and venture capitalists are very normal. (The only difference between you and venture capitalist is that he is getting paid to gamble with someone else’s money). If you must use more than ten slides to explain your business, you probably don’t have a business. The ten topics that a venture capitalist cares about are:
    1. Problem
    2. Your solution
    3. Business model
    4. Underlying magic/technology
    5. Marketing and sales
    6. Competition
    7. Team
    8. Projections and milestones
    9. Status and timeline
    10. Summary and call to action
  • Twenty minutes. You should give your ten slides in twenty minutes. Sure, you have an hour time slot, but you’re using a Windows laptop, so it will take forty minutes to make it work with the projector. Even if setup goes perfectly, people will arrive late and have to leave early. In a perfect world, you give your pitch in twenty minutes, and you have forty minutes left for discussion.
  • Thirty-point font. The majority of the presentations that I see have text in a ten point font. As much text as possible is jammed into the slide, and then the presenter reads it. However, as soon as the audience figures out that you’re reading the text, it reads ahead of you because it can read faster than you can speak. The result is that you and the audience are out of synch.The reason people use a small font is twofold: first, that they don’t know their material well enough; second, they think that more text is more convincing. Total bozosity. Force yourself to use no font smaller than thirty points. I guarantee it will make your presentations better because it requires you to find the most salient points and to know how to explain them well. If “thirty points,” is too dogmatic, the I offer you an algorithm: find out the age of the oldest person in your audience and divide it by two. That’s your optimal font size.

So please observe the 10/20/30 Rule of PowerPoint. If nothing else, the next time someone in your audience complains of hearing loss, ringing, or vertigo, you’ll know what caused the problem.

Read more:

I’m not sure I can ever get a presentation down to 10 slides but it’s sure worth starting from Guy’s key points. Hope you find this useful. If you would like a copy of one of my slide decks, you can download one from here.

Paul Janz – I Go To Pieces

Paul Janz – I Go To Pieces

Since the Timeline feature was mandatory for Facebook, my social media coach insisted I go and dig around in my history vaults.

I’ve started with some of the key milestones in my life, one of which was helping Paul Janz, put a Canadian band together. I originally met Paul Janz in Europe when he was touring with a band call “Deliverance”.  They had a song on the radio called “Leaving LA” which was very Bee Gees like.  My dad is a singer and he was touring Russia with Paul’s dad. I had to stay behind in Germany and was invited to ride along with the Deliverance entourage as they toured Germany. When Paul eventually moved to Canada he used me as his point of contact to put a band together.

The Go To Pieces video was directed by David Devine and filmed in Toronto. The record company hired a gal to do wardrobe and she bought me a pink shirt and back combed my hair. I looked like a lion.


Steve Drake (The Odds) opted to get wilder with his pink tank top and beads. I’m glad I got wear my favorite black jacket. The video took hours to shoot and we spent the full day (and more) in that fake smoke. I can still smell that acrid, oily mist that made the lights look so cool. I remember my feet were burning like a hockey player’s in overtime. I had these suede boots on with no ankle support and thin soles. The excitement of making a video was enough to overcome  any minor irritations but it’s funny the little things that stick in your mind.

Every Song Tells A Story – Backstage

Every Song Tells A Story
What a wonderful experience to tour “The EverySong Tells A Story” show with Randy Bachman. The DVD is hard to find in stores but I managed to find it on Here is what people are saying:

” Randy’s band is excellent and sounded great. As for Colin, all I say is he is a suitable “stand in” for Burton Cummings and a talented musician. If you can’t have Burton Cummings, Colin is probably the next best thing. That is one huge pair of shoes that is impossible to fill anyway. By and large, Randy and crew successfully captured the distinctive sound of the GUESS WHO and BTO.”

” I for one would quickly purchase a volume 2 of this if it ever were available. His band is also very good, doing great work with each of the songs. I was surprised that Colin Wiebe was able to fill Burton Cummings’ shoes without sounding like an exact replica.”

” Randy put together a tight four piece band and put them into an intimate small theatre. Great sound and camera work. This is as good if not better than any Storytellers that I’ve seen on VH1.”

[dopwgg id=”1″]

The “aha” From a Science Fiction Writer’s Workshop

The “aha” From a Science Fiction Writer’s Workshop

Tonight I attended a writer’s workshop presented by Nina Munteanu. Nina is a noted author and her latest work is a sci-fi novel called Darwin’s Paradox.

I am always curious to learn new tools, techniques to give me any advantage that might help my writing in general. I rarely follow the rules, however Nina presented an overview of “The Hero’s Journey”. This is the basic plot structure for every Hollywood Blockbuster. I am writing a screenplay and I knew much of this structure intuitively (probably from reading too many “airplane” novels while on tour) however in the context that Nina described the Hero’s Journey inspired me to ingest this ancient plot style and commit it to memory. From fairytale myth to a Greek three act play,  every Rocky movie and Indiana Jones film follows this incredible formula. Carl Jung, Joseph Campbell and more recently, Christopher Vogler, have all expounded on this psychological elixir for humans.

“aha” . . . The Plot Thickens . . .

I plan to exploit this magical blueprint in as many devices as I can to practice the craft - even the title of this blog post draws the curious into my tepid plot looking for the “aha” pay off the writer has discovered. Nina recited Ray Bradbury claiming it to be her favourite quote saying, “Every Single Word is Important - Everthing is a METAPHOR”

I am going to post this quote on my wall and “Advertise it to Myself”. (<<< detect hidden meaning:)

My songs, stories, screenplays and yes . . .ahem . . . blog posts, can all benefit from that little chunk of shiny wisdom - Thanks Ray and thank you Nina.