Category Archives: education

How to give a commencement address

I don’t remember much about my college commencement address other than that it was really long and it was a cold morning in Pennsylvania and the stupid graduation hat kept popping off of my head. I wasn’t inspired, just cold and annoyed.

I just read the commencement address that David Foster Wallace gave at Kenyon College in 2005 and was floored. You should read the whole thing.


Learning how to think really means learning how to exercise some control over how and what you think. It means being conscious and aware enough to choose what you pay attention to and to choose how you construct meaning from experience. Because if you cannot exercise this kind of choice in adult life, you will be totally hosed… This, like many clich?©s, so lame and unexciting on the surface, actually expresses a great and terrible truth.

Calling all web designers to Cincinnati

In June, AIGA will be holding “In Control 2009,” a conference in Cincinnati for web designers. The two days of workshops will give participants a solid grounding in HTML, CSS, JavaScript, design standards, and user research.

The roster of speakers includes some pretty great names, and I’m honored to be on the list.

(And you can use my discount code, INCMELT, to get $50 off the early bird discount rate!)

How to give a memorably bad presentation

  • Have a slide deck that is too long for your allotted time
  • Use bad fonts with drop shadows
  • Use funny voices and occasionally sing
  • Frantically wave your hands around
  • Be sure to never credit your sources
  • Talk a lot about your credentials
  • Use only really obscure examples of whatever you’re talking about
  • Avoid eye contact with the audience
  • Bring up lots of anecdotes about times when you were smarter than other people
  • Be sure to not leave any time for questions at the end
  • Apologize for your presentation

(Recently compiled by me, Mark, Kevin, and Coley at an In-N-Out Burger in Daly City.)