The argumentative Andy episode

Paul Boag

This week on the Boagworld Show we look at the challenges of presenting, super powering Sketch app and tracking the success of your blog posts.

Skip to the discussion or this week’s links.

This weeks show is sponsored by Proposify and Teacup Analytics.

Andy: Hello and welcome to the Boagworld show. My name is Andy Clarke and this week I am joined by Sam Barnes, hi Sam.

Sam: Hello.

Andy: Ryan Carver, no, Ryan, what?!

Paul: Carver? (Laughter)

Andy: Carver? Where did I get that from? Ryan Taylor.

Ryan: Hello.

Andy: Sorry, I got your name wrong. How unprofessional, can we start this again?

Paul: No, you can’t. That’s it.

Andy: Edit that out.

Paul: No, I’m not editing it out. If you insist on taking over my show then if you screw up the names you’ve got to live with that mate.

Andy: Okay, fair enough. And Marcus Lillington. Good morning Marcus.

Marcus: Good morning Andy, I edit the show so you can promise me anything you like and I will do whatever you want!

Andy: And there’s Paul Boag. So, Marcus? (Laughter) No, no, no I can’t do this forever because, it’s Paul’s show and I know that he gets incredibly protective over everything to do with this so, no, I shall go back into my shell.

Paul: No, you can’t. You can’t start these things and then walk away. You’re doing the rest of the show.

Andy: No, you see I’m no good at broadcasting, as you well know.

Marcus: So why are you doing this Andy?

Andy: I’m doing this because I was so rudely treated last week, rudely.

Marcus: So you’re getting more airtime? This week?

Andy: Yes, I’ve decided that I’m going to take over the show, although I’m obviously not very good at it Ryan… Carlos, Carson, carver…

Ryan: Sounded like some kind of weird wine. (Laughter)

Paul: Well I was thinking about a carvery. I thought he fancied a Sunday roast.

Andy: Yes, that was it.

Ryan: Stick it to the big belly Ryan. Oh yes.

Andy: That’s it, yes Ryan Toby Grill. That’s the one I was thinking of. Right, Ryan Beefeater.

Ryan: The insults begin, not even speaking to you for hundred and 20 seconds yet and already!

Paul: But you see this is the thing, Andy “Oh, I’m such a diva, I get missed off the show.” We’ve missed everybody off the show at some point except you. You didn’t see Sam complaining did you? Because Sam’s nice.

Sam: You just don’t know me that well.

Paul: I just don’t know him that well. Yeah, he’s probably bitching behind my back that’s what was happening. “Gore, that Paul is a dick” (laughter) So, Andy because of you I thought… You said, I think it was last week, we were talking about Supergirl and I said “Why the hell do you watch it?” and you said “Why not.” So I thought why not let’s give it a go, I’ll give it a fair run. But what a pile of steaming shit! (Laughter)

Ryan: Paul, if you really want to experience the shit you’ve got to watch Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl, and Legends of Tomorrow.

Paul: I do, I do.

Ryan: Because they all intertwine.

Andy: Legends of Tomorrow is possibly the worst out of all of these. I can just about tolerate the Arrow but Legends of Tomorrow. Apart from the hot blonde girl that was in Mad Men.

Paul: You just sound like a dirty old men. Do you know what my wife said when she was transcribing you talking about Supergirl? She said that you sounded creepy. That was her words.

Andy:Oh well.

Marcus: Did you do the deep breathing Andy as well?

Andy: It’s been said before.

Paul: So, yeah, no, no, no. In order, because I do, I watch… I haven’t got to Legends of Tomorrow yet because I’m not that far through them because I can only stomach them in small doses. But Arrow is the best. Followed by Flash. In Flash I love that line “To the world I am just a ordinary forensic scientist” like there’s anything ordinary about that. That just makes me laugh. So it’s Arrow, Flash and somewhere kind of at the bottom after you know, the Little Princess and Dungeons & Dragons films comes Super girl.

Andy: No, you are wrong.

Marcus: I can’t believe were having this conversation. You lot got your pocket money stolen off the bully boys when you were younger didn’t you?

Paul: Might have.

Andy: Possibly.

Paul: But there such a what I don’t get.

Ryan: I did too and I was bigger than everyone else.

Paul: What I don’t get is there is such good sci-fi, you know, even superhero stuff, what about all the Netflix. I presume… Do you watch Jessica Jones, do you watch daredevil?

Andy: I’ve watched daredevil.

Paul: But you’ve not watched Jessica Jones and you’ve not watched Luke Cage?

Andy: No, but I have Luke Cage on hard drive somewhere, waiting for a plane journey.

Paul: Right, what you do is you take Supergirl you set fire to her, right, destroy all copies of her and watch Jessica Jones instead. Far, far superior.

Andy: I’m getting a bit bored with superheroes in general. In the Flash and Supergirl all of a sudden everybody’s got superpowers. It’s like the bloke that comes in and cleans up Star Labs, all of a sudden got caught up in the particle accelerator explosion and now has these amazing superpowers. Why? It’s just getting too much. The other thing I think is that there’s so much, so many amazing stories from comic books, why is it always just about Marvel and DC? I mean why don’t we have a Grendel series. I mean that would be fantastic.

Paul: Hang on, walking Dead.

Andy: Walking dead is a great example, yeah.

Paul: There are… I’m sure there are more as well. They’ve just gone out of my head.

Andy: Even Judge Dredd, Gore, can you imagine a Judge Dredd TV show, they could do that.

Paul: Yeah, but nobody seems to be able to get Judge Dredd right. But it would probably work better as a TV show than as a film.

Andy: Yeah, no, I think it probably would because it was always best as those… You had the great big long multipart stories but it always did work well when there was just a killer car or a killer hotel or killer washing machine.

Paul: Yeah, I like the fat people with wheels.

Andy: I love… Do you know what? I want to belly wheel. I’ve decided now, I do want somebody to invent the belly wheel.

Paul: Well Ryan could do with one apparently.

Andy: He could, yeah. He’s a fat git.

Ryan: That’s nice isn’t it!

Paul: So I bet… It interesting that everybody’s gone quiet except for you and me Andy. I don’t feel that other people are quite so enthusiastic about…

Ryan: I’m actually mad on comic books. Comic books and all these… I watched all the DC and Marvel. I’m a big Marvel fan and everything else. I like Marvel: Agents of shield.

Paul: Yeah, they reckon that’s going to get cancelled mind. I was reading last night.

Ryan: To be fair they said that every season since season one.

Paul: Oh, have they?

Ryan: Yeah.

Paul: What about you Sam. You started to say something.

Sam: No, it’s just I have got no idea what any of you are talking about. I must have missed this whole comic bit. All I know is Superman, Spider-Man, specifically the superman with Richard Pryor in. That’s why I wanted to work with computers. That’s what got me started! I wanted to change the weather with my spectrum. I tried it to! Failed!

Paul: Talking of superheroes there is something that looks quite interesting. I haven’t watched it yet it’s called “Powerless” have you seen this?

Andy: No.

Paul: So Powerless is a superhero film, TV show about… It’s comedy about those people that don’t have superpowers. So they just happen to live in a city where Superman and all these other superheroes are fighting super villains the whole time. So they spend their whole life trying to avoid falling buildings and you know…

Sam: Can they not move? (Laughter)

Paul: You just take the joy out of everything don’t you. It’s like you’re this big joy sponge that just sucks…

Sam: Getting to know me now, this is much more accurate than nice! (Laughter)

Andy: Well, we should be on a mission. So if we need to convince the Mr Sam Barnes to read some comic books what comic books are we going to suggest that he starts with Paul?

Paul: Ooo, that’s a good one. I think because Sam is such a negative, depressing person I would tend to go with Judge Dredd: Apocalypse war.

Sam: You say that, I saw the… I don’t know when it was, the Judge Dredd movie. Not the Sly Stallone one. The other one and I thought that was quite good actually. It was a bit darker than I expected it to be.

Paul: Oh, no, Judge Dredd is very dark.

Sam: I liked it, so maybe… Any other negative dark comics, they are my type.

Ryan: Have any of you read Fables?

Paul: No

Andy: No

Ryan: So this is a take on, you know, all the fairytale characters like the big bad Wolf and Snow White and Red Rose and all those.

Paul: Oh Yeah.

Ryan: It’s a take on all them. It’s kind of like an adult version of… They’ve all escaped from their world and they are living in a downtown suburb of New York and trying to stay incognito amongst humans. In the big bad Wolf is… He changes into a wolf but he is a man and he is kind of the law enforcer. He is going around solving fable crimes. It’s quite interesting actually.

Paul: That sounds very similar to the TV show called Grimm. Have you seen that?

Ryan: Yeah, probably.

Paul: That’s terrible as well. It’s not as bad as Supergirl but it’s pretty bad.

Ryan: This is really good, they just finished it this year, I think they did 150 issues. They actually made a tell-tale game… made “The Wolf among us” which is based on the comic. I started reading the comic on the back of playing that game because it was really interesting.

Paul: Ahh.

Andy: I’m going to suggest that Sam goes to his nearest comic book shop or Amazon depending on…

Sam: Okay, Amazon!

Paul: … How lazy you are. (Laughter) Sam doesn’t leave the house.

Sam: Exactly, of all the places i’d want to go first, a comic shop! A comic shop in Slough? I mean, it’s just not going to go well is it.

Andy: And I suggest that you pick up to graphic novels, one V for Vendetta. If you like the whole kind of like a great story and like something dark I think V for Vendetta would be a good start.

Sam: Well I love that film.

Andy: You would actually really like the book better than the film and I’m gonna say “Watchman.”

Sam: Okay. I think I watch that too and enjoyed it. You see, I’ve watched a few of them and to me who wasn’t into it has no kind of nostalgia to it so therefore I’m kind of seeing it as, just a film and I’m looking at it as any other. And to me they seem very, you know, the same old thing. But actually Watchman and Judge Dredd and V for Vendetta. Maybe you’re onto something there, they were quite good.

Marcus: You see, I’ve never been into comic at all but one of my favourite authors Neil Gaiman who I’m reading a kind of his speeches and intros to other books at the moment, apparently he wrote loads of comics and that’s how he started off. So maybe I should start getting into it. His famous novels are American gods and Neverwhere.

Paul: You know that they are making a TV show of American gods do you?

Marcus: I do know that yes. But I think he… I’m trying to remember what it’s called. He did a famous series of comics. Sandman is it?

Paul: Yes, that’s right.

Marcus: So I need to find that because I really love his writing.

Paul: Well, do you know, I’m almost ashamed to admit this because I know the entire world disagrees with me but I found American gods really boring. I’ve got like three quarters of the way through it and I’ve just lost the will to live.

Marcus: Read Neverwhere it’s much better. And I think his best story by miles the most Gaiman-esque that of all the books he’s ever written is one called Stardust. It’s a bit like a children’s novel but it’s not. It’s just wonderful. Neverwhere and Stardust are for me the best. American gods just goes on too long.

Paul: Yeah, it’s just not got any momentum to it.

Marcus: Yeah, I’ve read a couple of short stories that involves Shadow since and they are much better.

Paul: Oh, okay. That’s interesting no doubt it will get rolled into the TV series when they do that. Talking of Neil Gaiman I’ve got to say I really enjoyed the Doctor Who episode that he did. Did you see that one?

Marcus: Nope

Paul: Oh no. You don’t watch Doctor Who do you?

Marcus: I don’t watch Doctor Who no.

Paul: So is very good. You know the premise of Doctor Who?

Marcus: I do.

Paul: He did a great episode where the Tardis became a real person and actually became this… The mind of the Tardis ended up in a person. It was this really weird episode where there was almost a kind of love affair between the Doctor and the Tardis. And it was really lovely, it was a really well written episode. So yeah.

Ryan: One of the best lines in that episode is when it said “You didn’t steal a Tardis I stole a doctor.”

Paul: Yes!

Ryan: I stole a Time-lord. Which I thought… Yeah.

Paul: Yeah, it kind of gave you a completely different perspective on everything they had been through together didn’t it. It was good. Right, so are we done with our random nonsense? Any other comics that people need to recommend? No? We’ll move on to a sponsor then.

Andy: Ooo, who is our sponsor this week Paul?

Paul: Well we’ve got a new one this week. And you know, this is a guy I know personally and it’s a kind of little start-up thing that he set up so I’m really quite thrilled that he’s decided to support the show. So I also therefore feel a huge obligation that he actually does really well out of this. So it’s called Teacup Analytics. It solves a very, I think, a very important problem and I’m actually really enthusiastic about this and he keeps promising to give me a licence so that I can have a play because obviously I’m too tight to pay! I really want to pay shouldn’t I! That’s really bad of me. So what it is is the fact that Google analytics confuses people, okay. And it’s true, even as a digital professional when I go into Google analytics I struggle to get really good data out of it. You go into it with a question and then you go through menus and sub menus and all of this kind of stuff and it’s just a little bit overwhelming. So if we find it overwhelming then we give it to our clients and say, they say “Oh we want some analytics.” So you install Google analytics on it and kind of walk away. And then it inevitably a lot of clients come back and go “Can you do us automated reports, can you send us a report every month? Giving us the key metrics?” So what Teacup Analytics does is it sits on top of Google analytics and it extracts actually useful information from it and then it creates these kind of beautiful automated reports that get sent to your clients or your clients can access and essentially then it saves you lots of time and yet you can still charge the client for it. So it’s a nice additional revenue stream because you set up Teacup Analytics, you charge the client whatever for the reports and then Teacup Analytics creates those reports for you. So it helps you create these reports for the clients which obviously the other thing that it does is that it highlights the impact of the work that you do. So they can tangibly see the difference what you do makes and also it makes suggestions in terms of what can be improved on the site based on your analytics. Which again leads to repeat business. So, the reason it came about was they did this kind of joint survey with Go Daddy where they found that 80% of digital professionals offer reporting to their clients. But actually only 60% feel that reporting adds value to the client relationship because generating these reports, you know, it takes time and all of the rest of it. So essentially Teacup Analytics is solving the problem of creating these reports, enabling you to get more value out of them and that kind of stuff. So definitely worth checking out. In my opinion it is underpriced for what it is but, that’s a conversation I’m having with him! So get it while you can before I persuade him to increase his prices! You can get it at It’s a great way of getting quality reports out of Google analytics.

Round Table Discussion

Paul: I suppose Andy I should let you go first.

Andy: What? Oh really?

Paul: Reluctantly.

Andy: Reluctantly. Okay,

Paul: hmmm hmmm, your stuff is so boring. I mean “Oh, here’s some arty-farty book that has no relevance to my life.” Who gives the shit! (Laughter)

Andy: I love this podcast. I’ve been talking a lot recently.

Paul: Bollocks

Andy: I do!

Paul: You’ve been talking a lot of bollocks.

Andy: I have, I have been talking a lot of bollocks recently about how to design beautiful and inspiring style guides. Because let’s face it some people won’t agree, those are the boring people, that most style guides they look ugly enough to have been designed by somebody who really enjoys configuring a router. (Laughter) Jeremy Keith won’t agree but, because I’ve been doing a little talk about all of this stuff and I’ll put a link to my talk slides and my transcript in the show notes. {Transcriber notes: No links given} But there’s been this massive kind of, I don’t know, I suppose you call it a resurgence in interest in style guides. It is like the hip thing to do now. And one of the more interesting results of this has been that there are reproductions of some classic corporate design manuals that have become really, really popular.

Paul: Have they? Have they really become really, really popular or…

Andy: Yes, they’ve become really, really popular among people who know what they are talking about Paul.

Paul: Ah, okay.

Andy: The discerning folk.

Paul: That’s why I’ve never heard of them.

Andy: Your listeners will… They’ll be right on with what I’m talking about. They’ll know exactly… Everybody here knows just what we are talking about.

Paul: So it’s just me

Andy: Except you Paul, yeah. Clueless.

Marcus: I do actually know what you are talking about Andy on this. Certainly some of them. So there you go, ner Paul.

Paul: I know because Andy sent me a list of links before the show. Does that count?

Marcus: Sure, your informed.

Andy: Yeah actually, I’m fed up of you complaining that I never send you my links before so I actually sent them to you, I think it was on Friday.

Paul: You did, you were very efficient.

Andy: Anyway, back to the plug. So there’s a few of these things that I’ve been buying and I really really like them. There’s the NASA graphic standards manual which is brilliant. It basically describes the design of everything from the NASA business cards to the branding that they put on a booster rocket. Somebody gets that job! Somebody gets the job of putting signage on a rocket.

Paul: I know who… That’s really interesting, when I was at Awwwards in London there was a speaker there who was a calligrapher and letterer and he was interviewed by some magazine in America and they said to him “What’s your ideal job?” And he said “To create the branding that goes on the side of a rocket.” It got published and then two weeks later he got contacted by NASA.

Andy: Oooh, brilliant!

Paul: And he got to do it. How cool is that!

Andy: Really Cool. So as well as the NASA standards manual there is the New York City transit authority graphics standards manual.

Paul: Gore, that sounds exciting!

Paul: But actually it really is. And if your typeface nerd it’s got them most complete examples of how to use Helvetica that you will ever see. Literally. It goes a little bit too far but there is literally full pages that just contain letters, like every single letter of the alphabet, every single number, pretty much every single character of Helvetica just really, really big. From a typography point of view I think it is important that, you know, if you are using a typeface thats got distinctive letterforms, well, make something out of them. You know, blow them up big in your style guide. Anyway, that’s another one. And then finally there’s the, this is a long one, The official symbol of the American Revolution Bicentennial graphics standards manual.

Paul: There you go.

Andy: Which is basically…

Paul: Snappy title

Andy: It is. Basically it not only explains how this symbol should be used but most importantly, I think, how it was actually created. This is a really important point, I want to come back to that in a minute. But you can buy all these books from There will be a link in the show notes. And also there’s another one which I found which is a beautiful reproduction of British Rail corporate identity stuff. And it’s collected all of the original sheets from 1965 into one big kind of… I think there’s kind of 370 odd pages and that is available from You can actually get a load of the pages in PDF format online for free as well. It’s at You’ll find it on there. And I just really like these books and I like kind of geeking out with them and you know that silly Helvetica example does make you think about the fact that when most people are making style guides for the web and they’re putting all the typography stuff in there, you know, generally speaking it’s just like, you know, what is it, “the fox jumps over the lazy dog” or whatever the thing is. Or a, b, c, d, e and you know, not only are they not really showing the context of the typography but they are also not zooming in on some really interesting letterforms that might kind of present the personality of the brand. And you get ideas for doing that kind of stuff out of books like this. So that’s my recommendation for this week which is basically, you know, have a look at some of these standards manuals, graphic design manuals because there’s a lot of inspiration for how to make our style guides better that we can find in these kind of things.

Paul: Very cool

Andy: And the other thing which I just wanted to touch on which is kind of like a discussion point rather than just a plug of the books. One of the things I’ve been thinking of, and it was sparked by a conversation, I think something that Marcus said a week or two ago, because he says all the intelligence stuff on this program!

Marcus: Always.

Andy: Always, well apart from Sam. He is a bit more intelligent.

Marcus: Yeah, all right. Fair enough.

Paul: I love the way… Ryan! Why do me and Ryan get left out?

Ryan: Because we are the smartest Paul. We work at higher level you see, we don’t rise to the bait you see.

Paul: He doesn’t get us does he?

Ryan: No, exactly, we are unfathomable.

Paul: Yeah, zen masters.

Ryan: Yeah.

Andy: Well Marcus was intelligently talking about case studies and client case studies and portfolios and something else in the conversation that we had. And I’m thinking, do you know, the most thinking… all of the thinking that goes into making a design, particularly something that is so multifaceted like a website, it never ever kind of gets documented. I mean you get this highly polished or veneered rendition of a design story when you put it in your portfolio. You gloss over all the things you did wrong and just put in the final result. But actually the really interesting history of the design never really gets told and I think that’s really important in a style guide because it’s important to actually explain how you arrived at a decision not just what the rules are. Because otherwise people are going to go “Ooo, well I think I’m going to try something else.” And you might have already done that. So my question is, where do we actually start to document the history of a web design? And is a style guide the right place to put it?

Paul: Well, a style guide traditionally has what you shouldn’t do with the design doesn’t it. You know, so you have a logo and its on a coloured background or whatever which it’s not meant to be so they kind of demonstrate already why you shouldn’t do it in a particular way so perhaps thats the point where you need to click through and explain why.

Andy: I don’t know. What do you think Marcus?

Marcus: I’m struggling a bit with this one actually because the time that you should basically log the process of where you started with the design getting to what was agreed, potentially the only other people who are going to be interested in that are other designers. So it’s kind of… You might want to log it to be able to present it at a conference or something like that but I don’t think your clients are necessary that interested in that. And neither are other clients, possibly. That’s the tough one, that’s one struggling with. We have… I’m just thinking of the top of my head if you are going to put a case study on your site that showed kind of like from birth to, you know, a completed design. I don’t expect your client is going to want people to see that. I guess that’s what I’m struggling with a bit.

Paul: I’m more interested in its use internally within an organisation. So it’s this thing… Because this is… The whole point of designing a style guide in my view is to sell the brand internally. It is to convince people that “Yeah, our brand identity is great, yeah, it represents who we are it’s worth sticking to”. Because what people do, the biggest thing you see is some agency creates a lovely style guide which is handed around inside the organisation and then everyone ignores it, does what the hell they want because they don’t have the right font on their machine or they can’t be bothered to look up the right colour. Then you have brand police that goes around telling everybody off and everybody hates the brand police. Which is obviously a fundamentally flawed system so what you really need to do is educate and convince people that brand guidelines are there for a reason and they are good and they are compelling. Now part of that is making the brand guidelines attractive. Which is what Andy has been endlessly banging on about for weeks now. But he is right in that. But the other part of it is to say “Look, we did try using whatever boring font you have got on your machine and this is why we didn’t think it works”

Andy: Exactly.

Paul: So in my opinion it probably does need rolling in in some way. I’m just not quite sure how.

Andy: No, but I’m thinking… Were not very good at this online in terms of the web industry stuff. I mean if you go back at… Do you remember Dave Shea The zen of CSS design book, I think was from about 2005. You know, I had a flick through that the other day for the first time in about a decade and I was thinking gosh, our kind of design sensibilities were so different then. And the stuff that we were making. And that didn’t just go for silly Zen garden designs. It went for everything that was going on in the industry. But where does that stuff get documented, where are we telling the history of web design. Not just on individual projects but on, you know, in the wider sense. Because otherwise all of this goes away. It goes into the ether.

Paul: This is where I think video is quite good. Who is it who did… Somebody did a documentary relatively recently on the history of…

Sam: Matt Griffin was it?

Paul: Yeah, Matt Griffin, thank you Sam. Did a great documentary on the kind of history of the web, or web standards really. Which was absolutely brilliant and really good but you could almost do that alongside a style guide just put together a 10 minute little video about the process of creating this brand. I think that might work quite well.

Sam: I’ve done that before and it does work really well because you get the person who, you know, who was integral part of the solution explaining why. And that comes across as we all know, way better in video than any print or on the web in my experience.

Marcus: I actually think it could be, that could be rolled into a case study if you did it sensitively because explaining why you are doing stuff is potentially the best way to sell yourself. So yeah, that’s quite intriguing.

Paul: I think… Yeah, absolutely because with a case study it is as much about talking about how you did something, what your process is because that is… Those of the reusable bits. You know, if you just show here’s a pretty picture of a website that we have designed.…

Marcus: We did this, we did that, then we did that and it’s like “Oh, okay”. But if you explain why along the way then it’s worth a lot more.

Paul: Anyway, let’s move on. Because we’ve got quite a lot to get through. Sam, you wanted to talk about presenting. I’m quite interested in this.

Sam: Yes, I’m currently writing a talk for groundcontrolconf, which is Little plug there, I think you’re going to be there as well Paul?

Paul: I am.

Sam: So I just thought as I’m doing it, it is something, as you know, I struggle with. It’s not something that comes natural to me but it’s not just the presenting that goes into creating a talk. I’ve got no idea what other people do and I think I go against the grain in many instances but I know why I do it and I just thought now that there’s a chance to speak to a wider audience I would just sort of say a few little handy apps, resources and just some general advice really from my experience. So, I will kind of zip through these if I can. So in terms of apps the first thing I always go to is called Simplenote. And any note taking app will do but the reason I have one that is cross-platform, cross device is simply because I always note down anything, any idea that pops into my head. And the reason I want it to be cross-platform because I want on my phone, I want it everywhere because you never know when something is going to pop into your head. Sometimes something will happen at work, that’s an easy one to log but you never know, sometimes when you’re sitting on a train you have a thought, you can always dump it later. So the first one is simplenote. Put all these links to all these in the show notes. The second one, little app, is for when you’re actually presenting. It’s called caffeine and essentially what this does is that it disables your screensaver to say when you sleep just make sure that your machine stays on. You know, I’ve been at many a talk where someone’s screensaver has kicked in or some notifications or anything, something that is not going to look too great on the stage. It’s nice and simple, it just sits in your menu bar and it’s on and off. I think you can change the time. I think there is a Windows version as well if you don’t use a Mac called caffeinated and if you want something with a lot more features, I don’t but some people might, there’s something called amphetamine, keeping on the drugs theme for this season. And again it keeps everything awake. I think that’s for Windows as well but it has an awful lot more options like keeping your Mac awake while only specific apps are running or only active when you are connected to specific Wi-Fi networks. I can’t think of a reason for that but I’m sure there is one. I just haven’t come across it. So the next tool is actually a site, it is called Script time. I’m sure there are lots of different alternatives out there. Now this is where I go against the grain so one of the most well-known pieces of advice about public speaking is don’t script it. Don’t read a script because it won’t sound natural, it will sound robotic and so on and so on. But actually I always do and it’s the only way I can do it. I think it’s because I’m not very good at winging it. But what I found is you can write a script in a way that does sound natural. If you write it the way that you speak and practice it kind of just morphs into one. Also, as you know, Paul from speaking to you in the past I find talking really traumatic and there are times on stage where that script has atctually saved me. So for just those few people out there who kinda think that they shouldn’t do that and they are struggling to do that with bullet points, you don’t have to. You can write a script as long as you practice how it sounds. But script timer, this is where it gets really interesting, tis wasn’t planned, this is what I found out retrospectively, is that… I’ve done a few sort of long talks, half an hour, 45 minutes, and kept having to create new ones. I always had terrible trouble judging it when I’m initially writing my content. Sometimes I would go through it for the first time and it was bloody two hours, it’s ridiculous, you know! So it only dawned on me after about two or three that I’ve got some prepared… Because I’ve got a script, and I know that script is specifically half an hour, 45 minutes, an hour even, I can then plug it in… I can paste the script into this website, adjust the little toggles, the little speed toggles, and what not so it’s matching the time that I took and suddenly I got a word count. So next time I come to create a talk I pretty much have a good guide. In fact the last time I did I followed this technique and the first run through was about 43 minutes for a 45 minute talk. So, it’s a bit scientific, a lot of effort compared to other people but this is kind of the only way that I am able to get on that stage and get the message across which is really why I do it. So moving onto some advice or some resources really. There’s just a couple of things here. One website and one book. One website is called The reason I mention this is because it’s just the most practical, realistic advice that I have seen on a site. And it’s a bit more than one article. It encapsulates everything it’s much more about the logistics of the day and it covers nightmare scenarios as a speaker whether you are doing it for work, for a pitch or a Keynote for 500 people. The classic one where they want to have your slides on a machine at the back and… You know! And it covers all these things but when you haven’t done speaking, and I hadn’t only sort of four or five years ago, you don’t think about that. So this is just a way to cover all the bases if you’re quite scared about it. You can kind of close up all the unknowns and it kind of just takes some of the nerves away. And the other one is a book that I haven’t read but I have read an expert. Because it is on “A book apart” I think it is always quality on there and it’s by Lara Hogan who is the engineering director at Etsy and it is called Demystifying public speaking. And just from the little bits that I have read it seems practical but also almost quite psychological. So I think with those two you’re going to get pretty decent rounded view of what you can expect of your speaking. And finally, just a couple, well four or five tips. These are just random things, no real priority of order. So when you’re actually doing a presentation, and I include… Not when you’re just doing it at conference. I appreciate that when you’re doing in front of people at work or pitching and all that kind of stuff it is just as scary, and takes just as much prep in many cases. So obviously first thing is to turn everything off. So, your Wi-Fi and your sounds specifically and your notifications. As I said before things like caffeine can help that but these things that pop up in the middle of your presentation can be distracting. The second thing is to have your Keynote or PowerPoint as stand-alone files. I’ve seen a few instances where people are sort of clearly running their slides from dropbox or from something that syncs and for whatever reason something has gone wrong on stage and, nightmare, they can’t get it back. So to just really cover myself I kind of always, once I’m about to do my talk I put it on the desktop and it’s just there a standalone file, no syncing involved. Another one that I use, which I don’t know if anybody else does. I’ve not heard it but I’m sure people do. It is using duplicate slides for presenter notes. So this is because I heavily rely on speaker notes, just occasionally, you only get a certain amount of space on the screen when you’ve got the present notes. You are on the stage and what I find is that people make as many bullets as they can and they will either make them tiny so they can’t actually read them on stage they will just make a few and hope that they can wing it. What I tend to do is rather than this, I will actually create two, three, four duplicates of the same slide, click through, the audience don’t know but I’ve got a new set of speaker notes on the stage.

Paul: Ahh!

Marcus: That’s clever.

Andy: I do that.

Paul: Oh, do you?

Sam: I mentioned it the other day and I realise not many people do. I just assumed… I think because I am so linked to the speaker notes it was a coping strategy but yes, the same reaction when I tell people that. So it’s just a nice little… Obviously when you, you know, you when you publish the slides you just get rid of those and put it into a PDF and up it goes. But yes, just a little tip. For people that do find speaking incredibly nerve racking, which I do, I can honestly attest to something which I think sounds ridiculous, which is power poses. I mean, I heard of this, I hated the name, I thought it was ridiculous, I watched this TED talk, it’s by Amy Cuddy, again, I will put something in the show notes. But I watched the talk didn’t think much of it and then the first time I was going to do a talk that made me very nervous, that was back in 2012 I think, 2011 I think with Brett Harned in London. We did a workshop and we expected about, I think we charged about £10 just for the sake of people coming and I think we expected about 20 or 30. We ended up with a hundred people, people on the door and people from Saudi Arabia and Australia flying over, crazy for a three-hour workshop in London but, because of all this as people were arriving I suddenly got really scared and started shaking and you know, I was in trouble. To be quite honest. So I think… I don’t know what made me remember these things but when I went away from everybody before the event started and did these power poses and you know what, it worked. It bloody well worked. So there was also another instance where I did my first really big talk in Philadelphia, on the same stage as Jeffrey Zeldman and people like that and I was absolutely bricking it and there is actually a really perfect conference image they took, perfect, like speaker, audience, everything is perfect and then right at the back there’s this baldheaded git standing up with his hands on his hips looking like… Ruining the photo completely! So just want to say power poses, ignore the scepticism and actually watch the video and give it a go it really, really does work. And two more quickly. So when it comes to people saying “err” a lot. I do this I somehow morphed into saying “you know” rather than “err” but whatever! Everybody’s got their space filler when they are talking and I think everyone would like to get rid of it if they can. One technique that I found that does actually seem to work, which is incredibly simple and you could try this just reading something at home if you want, if you hold something in your hands, say it’s a pen or you’ve got a clicker or anything at all, as you are about to say “err” or your filler, in my case “you know,” if you just rub it, I know it sounds strange but if you just touch it, rub it. If you do something conscious for some reason that stops you saying “err” or your filler. I haven’t tried it on stage but I kind of want to. So it has worked. And finally, contingency plans. As a project manager or an ex- project manager this is always something that we think of but I’ve seen so many people fall on their arse on stage when their slides go wrong and they are stuck. So my advice, and this is something I always do and it seems a bit over the top. I haven’t needed them and I hope I never do but if I do it will pay off. When you are going up there onto the stage you take a USB key with your presentation backups in both PowerPoint, Keynote, whatever you use but also PDFs. And also something, a small device, an iPad mini with your presentation notes ready to go. So the theory is that if everything dies I can just pick this device up and just continue. Even if there is no slides I can still continue with my talk. And that’s it really, just a few little things that I’ve been doing, that I have picked up along the way that I think we all take for granted but I’m sure we could do a whole show and it really but yeah, that’s from me.

Paul: Absolutely. I mean there’s so many good things in there and you are right you could easily do a whole show. Because I’m sitting here thinking, you know, ever rely on Wi-Fi, if at all possible don’t connect to a live website. You know, work on the assumption that audio isn’t going to work because that’s another common one that often seems to screw up. What does it say Sam, you know you mentioned that site that had loads of solutions, how does it solve the problem of, you were saying about how they want the blooming… They want to do the slides from the back and you want to be able to see your notes.

Sam: Well, I mean, I didn’t learn it from there I learnt it from a course or workshop in Brighton run by Aral Balkan. It was really about talking to the event organisers beforehand, especially when you’re starting out it is a very daunting thing and you kind of just take that approach of “oh, I will take what I’m given.” But it is you on the stage, it is you at the end of the day who is up there. And I think one thing that taught me and the one thing is to just do your talking, communicate with the event organisers, tell them what you would like, find out the setup. At the very worst case, if you can’t affect the setup and you still want to do the event you can at least prep for it. I remember going to Dublin to do a talk for an agency and the situation there was bizarre. I mean, it was understandable because a lot of people can do this. They don’t rely on presenter notes so it’s not a big deal for them but for someone who does it’s a big thing. This was actually in a cinema so we were actually doing the event in the cinema, the big screen, and you were there but the laptop was going to be in the little projectors room, right? So there was no way to connect the screen to your laptop on the lectern. So I did this really weird thing where I had my machine, my laptop on the lectern in front of me with one clicker and had another clicker that would actually go to the one at the back. And I was using two clickers. I did get into a muddle once but no one noticed but the point is that I didn’t know about this before. So you find out the setup, find out things like what ratio your slides should be in. Everything, completely.

Paul: I create… I have speaker agreements now where I get the organisers to sign an agreement between us and that always outlines all this kind of stuff. You know, there will be audio, there will be Wi-Fi, there will be whatever I need for the presentation I will be able to give my notes from the front. I think you just layout out in black-and-white. Don’t make any presumptions. Because I’m amazed at how many people who maybe have run conferences for years and years and years, because they haven’t, they aren’t actually the speakers they don’t necessarily think of all the things that you need as a speaker. Anyway, we really ought to move on we are running out of time. Ryan, you haven’t got a hope this week mate.

Marcus: Let Ryan go next. I don’t mind missing out because I’m not a little child like Andy! (Laughter)

Paul: I shouldn’t let Ryan go next because he’s the only one of you who didn’t come through with a list of things that he was going to cover. So really…

Ryan: I like mine to be a surprise. Plus I’d not decided until about five minutes before I picked up the call.

Paul: All right then Ryan. Go on, Give us yours.

Ryan: Okay, so do any of you guys use sketch?

Paul: Yes

Andy: Hmmm Mmm.

Ryan: So, invisionapp have released a plug-in, I’m not actually sure how long ago it was released but Dan’s been playing around with it and it really cool. It’s called craft

Paul: Is it called craft?

Ryan: Yeah

Paul: That was going to be my choice for this show Ryan.

Ryan: (Laughter). There you go, I’ve stolen it.

Paul: That’s why you let us know beforehand, fortunately we’re not going to get to me but yeah, I love craft. Go ahead, go-ahead.

Ryan: Yeah, so craft is really cool. I’ve not played with it too much, Dan’s been playing with it a bit more but it’s a plug-in that allows you to feed data into your designs. So it has some built in options so you can pull an image from one splash and just if you’ve got repeating elements in your sketch it just uses different images from splash or whatever other services. And you can get generated names, so you’ve got real names in your designs and addresses or various bits and pieces. And as you repeating elements and stuff it just populates it with lots of real data rather than lorem ipsum and random stuff. It just really increases how rapidly you can put together designs and actually make them look more like real world examples of how they are going to look. You can hook it up to your own API’s as well so you can pull content in from your shopify store or any other service that you want to pull data from and actually use that in your designs, real data and hook it all up. It’s really cool, is kind of the developer-ey element pulled into a design system which I quite like. I just wanted to mention that one because we’ve been playing with that recently and it’s really cool.

Paul: It’s got some other great features in it that I like as well. For example you can create reusable styles across a thing. So keeping your colours and typography consistent. You can duplicate elements as well so, you know, if you say you want to create a list of news stories for example you can automatically duplicate those news stories but it can also do something very clever which is you can go to a website and click on… Say if you want to… Let’s use the new stories as an example. So you got a list of news stories and you want to quickly add those news stories into your mockup. So you go to a website which has got that list of news stories in it and you click on the title and it will automatically populate the boxes with the news story titles from the website. You know, all of these kinds of things you can easily add images in from websites and, like Ryan said, you can add live data as well. Well, not live data but dummy data, email addresses, street names, telephone numbers, men’s names, women’s names, you know, animals, anything you want really.

Ryan: Well I think the interesting thing I have found interesting from a developer point of view is that if you build a system that got an API and then your designers are then adding and building new features or something like that then you can use the API from your system to pull data from your system into the designs that they are working with. Which I think is pretty cool. But an extension of this is if you’ve used sketch files on Invision, have you seen the inspector that they’ve now got which is in beta. So you can actually, you upload your sketch designs into Invision and when you preview that there’s an inspector button and when you go to that it gives you, it like generates CSS on different components that you click on which you wouldn’t use in your true production stuff but I found it really useful for just grabbing gradients. Which can be quite complicated in some cases when your percentage points all over and you add your B values. It’s really nice for just that quickly selecting your components, getting the gradient or a drop shadow or a box shadow, you know, just getting those values which don’t take long to get but you’re saving, every time you’re saving like 10 seconds because you can just click on it and copy and paste that through. It just speeds up your process a little bit. So, I quite like what Invision are doing with craft and this kind of integrated process which is making designers a bit more efficient in the way that they are designing things but also making it easy for developers to get what they need when it comes to actually building it as well.

Paul: Hmm, good stuff. Do you know what I’m going to squeeze in one more before we go because it’s a nice quick one. I wanted to mention something called So if you’re somebody that does blogging one of the biggest challenges you face is you shove out blog posts on a weekly basis and you’re not really that sure which ones are working well and which ones are not. You know, you see anecdotal evidence on how much they tweeted, whether people comment on them. You look at your analytics and you can see how much traffic has been driven to them but you’ve got no kind of nice summary of how this comes together. And that’s where something called comes in. Were essentially you connect it to your RSS feed from your blog so it pulls in all your blog stories, you connect it to Google analytics so it can bring in the traffic that relates… That hits the individual blog post. But it will also look at how many times it has been tweeted, how many times it has been shared on other networks, how many times people have commented on it, liked it, all of those kinds of things. You get a real picture of how well your different blog posts are performing which is great. And then it has got an added feature where you can put in any one of your competitors. So somebody else’s blog posts and see how well those are performed. So you can see how well you are doing against your competition. Which I think is really useful little thing if you are a writer that does a lot of blogging, or if you are a marketing specialist or if you’re just someone who is running a personal blog, I use it on mine to help me kind of decide what topics to be writing about based on what’s worked well in the past. I thought I would just throw that into the mix. Okay, I think that about wraps up our discussion portions for this week.

I wanted to quickly mention our second sponsor which is Proposify who are continuing to support the season. We really appreciate that they are doing that. So they’ve got some great features on their application to ensure that you are always closing those deals and, you know, getting those proposals signed off in an efficiently and successful way as possible. Especially when it comes to larger sales teams. So Proposify is quite a robust product. It’s not just for freelancers, it’s also for agencies that have got multiple people working on proposals at any one time. So they’ve got things like roles and permissions, workflow and all that kind of stuff. So, first up you can set and manage multiple sales teams and their proposal activities. So each teams proposal progress can be tracked and success can be tracked within those teams and what’s happening within the pipeline. So that’s really good if you’ve got, you know, if you’re running an agency with multiple salespeople. We’ve also got control over how those proposals… To ensure consistency in your proposals, control over your content, the proposals themselves, over the templates. You can set up roles and assign permissions including which team members can access which bits of sections of Proposify, from account settings all the way through to actually sending the proposal. So you can prevent people sending out proposals before they have been probably reviewed. You can manage the resources by attaching reference files for your team. So for example RFP details can be attached to an individual team and you can also have internal comments when you are editing the proposals to make sure that it kind of, you know, that it is being properly peer-reviewed within the organisation before it is being sent out. Then of course you can manage multiple brands as well which can be useful in some organisations. You can add logos, custom addresses, custom domains and even custom emails for each of the different teams. So if you’ve got your agency split down into different sectors for example, which is quite common, you know, you have a sales team specialising in higher education or another one in charities or whatever. All of that can be managed through Proposify and it gives you the ability to effectively manage multiple companies using only one Proposify account. Or at least multiple divisions within a company. So it’s a good solution for larger agencies too. All right, well that’s Proposify. You can find out more about that by going to Marcus do have a joke for us?

Marcus: I’ve got loads of jokes.

Paul: I know, it’s gone mad on the slack channel hasn’t it.

Marcus: It’s mainly Darryl Snow, thank you Darryl, who’s given me loads of jokes over the years but there’s one of my favourites which I have told on the show but it’s probably a long time ago so I’m just going to do this one again because it’s a cracker. What’s the best part about living in Switzerland?

Paul: Go on

Marcus: I’m not sure but the flag is a big plus.

Andy: Oh! It’s subtle that one.

Marcus: It’s good, come on!

Paul: I very vividly remember you telling that before so it was a bit wasted on me I’m afraid.

Marcus: Ah

Andy: No, I like it.

Marcus: But I’ve got loads so hurray!

Paul: Hurray!

Marcus: I’ll do another one. Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies might like a mango.

Paul: (mutters) fruit flies… Time flies

Andy: Oh yeah, of course they do.

Paul: Oh, that’s terrible.

Marcus: I need a quicker audience obviously.

Sam: No, I got it. Don’t get me wrong I understood it!

Paul: Darryl’s jokes are obviously of an appropriate quality let’s put it like that. But if you would like to provide a higher quality of joke for Marcus to bastardised then then if you go to you can join our slack channel. We have actually got loads of different channels now so there’s the general chat obviously, there’s if you’ve got questions because you’re an external agency of how to run an agency that kind of stuff there is a place dedicated to that. There’s a place dedicated for in-house teams, dedicated for resources, you know, cool apps and things that you found that actually would be really good if you put some stuff in there for this show! And also now I’ve just added a jobs board as well so if you’ve got a job available or are looking for a job then you can post stuff in there as well. So it’s quite good, our slack channel is doing well these days.

Sam: You/re going to be inundated with recruiters in there now. You will have to to watch that.

Paul: Oh no, I will just ban them.

Sam: Good.

Paul: That’s the great thing about Slack isn’t it, you’ve got 100% control over it so yeah. I quickly wanted to mention my upcoming workshop, sorry. It’s called sorry apparently?! There you go. Just to say I am running a virtual workshop soon, you can find out more about it at It’s on persuasive design (Snoring) and I would love you to join me. So Marcus, where can people find out more about you?

Marcus: On That’s your best bet.

Paul: Okay, and Ryan where can people find out about you?

Ryan: Our website is and I am on Twitter @Ryanhavoc.

Paul: And Sam?

Sam: Twitter is @theSamBarnes and the site is

Paul: Okay, so thank you very much for listening to this show…

Andy: Woa (laughter)

Paul: You really think I’m going to let you plug something after you just snored through my workshop? Go on then, spit it out.

Andy: You can follow me…

Paul: Blah blah blah blah blah (laughter)

Andy: Oh sod off.

Paul: Blah blah. No, go on seriously. Seriously.

Andy: You can follow me on Twitter @Malarkey or my website

Paul: so that wraps it up for this week’s show. Check out my workshop at! And thank you very much listening will speak again next week goodbye.