Monday, August 31, 2009

How To Give A Lousy Presentation

Carmine Gallo, a communication skills coach and writer for Business Week, outlines the following ways to make a bad impression when delivering a PowerPoint presentation:

1. Misspell words. Failing to check the spelling on your slides shows a complete lack of care. If you don't care enough to proof your presentation, your audience will care less about you and your message. It's the easiest way to look unprofessional.

2. Create distracting color combinations. Blue on green is especially hard to read.

3. Use inconsistent fonts. Professional PowerPoint designers will use no more than two, perhaps three, font styles in an entire presentation. But why stop there? There are thousands of typefaces available. See how many you can incorporate into your slide show.

4. Use a really small font size. If you really want to drive people crazy, say something like this: "I know you can't read this, but if you could, here is what it would say..."

5. Insert improperly sized photos that are stretched to fit the slide. Images used in PowerPoint slides should be at least 900 pixels wide by 720 high. Designers start with larger images and shrink them to fit the slide. If you really want to look bad, however, find much smaller thumbnail images, say 200 x 300 pixels, and simply stretch them to fit the slide. They will look blurry, cheap, and bush-league.

6. Read every word of each slide. Better yet, turn your back to the audience and read your slides word for word.

7. Call attention to your mistakes. If you want to show a complete lack of preparation, say something like "Oops, I have no idea how that slide got in there."

8. Use wild animations. Letting text simply fade into a slide is way too straightforward. Especially when PowerPoint offers you the bounce, the boomerang, and the dreaded "neutron," which makes letters circle wildly. All are effective at giving your audience a headache.

9. Use cartoon clip art. Why spend $3 on high-resolution photos from a stock photography service such as iStockphoto when there are plenty of cheap-looking and free cartoons that will make your presentation look like a sixth-grade project?

10. Use ancient presentation software. PowerPoint 2003 served its purpose (I used it for years). But there's no comparison with PowerPoint 2007, which is simply a better, more robust tool. Says Darla Wigginton, an expert PowerPoint designer and creative director at eVision Design in San Francisco, "When [PowerPoint] 2007 came out, it scared the design world because the average user could now create some impressive-looking work." Why scare professional designers? Stick to older versions of the software and leave the slicker presentations to others.

For the full article, visit:

Friday, August 14, 2009

Unlimited Travel On JetBlue

JetBlue is running a very unique special whereas you can buy an All-You-Can-Jet Pass for just $599. You can travel as much as you want to over 50 cities, between September 8th and October 8th.

The offer is open to everyone - including business travelers. If you don't need to travel that much for business in a month's period, you can combine the offer with some vacation trips.

Unfortunately, the offer doesn't appeal to me very much because JetBlue doesn't fly out of my home airport.

However, if you're in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Boston, and many other cities - you can take advantage of the offer. I think it's a sweet deal!

For more details, visit:

Thursday, August 13, 2009

$1 DVD Rentals Add Up To $389 Million

You've seen them in Wal-mart, McDonald's, 7-Eleven, and tons of other retail, supermarket and convenience store chains. They are commonly referred to as DVD rental vending machines, and they only charge $1 a day.

I have to admit that when I first saw this concept, I thought it would be short-lived - but I was apparently wrong. The company behind this successful business model, RedBox, has over 15,000 machines and generates nearly $400 million in annual revenue.

That means their making more than $1 million dollars a day.

Naturally, such success breeds competition. Blockbuster Video has already launched it's own brand of DVD rental machines. USA Today reports that, by the end of 2009, they are planning to have 3,000 kiosks that rent DVDs for 99 cents a day. Their machines, unlike RedBox's, will also sell DVDs and videos games.

For more information about the industry, visit:

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Lexus Targets Affluent Black Women

Black women consumers spend billions of dollars every year, are very loyal consumers, and are known to be very affluent. recently reported on Lexus' new campaign to market to affluent Black women. In addition to digital and traditional advertising, Lexus has launched a series of high-profile events called "Listening Lounges" - where Black women are invited to mix, mingle and watch special performances by R&B singers like Keri Hilson.

Lexus is also sponsoring concert tours that attract Black women attendees, such as that of Alicia Keys. They even developed an online mini-site at

It's no secret that African American women are powerful consumers. Essence Magazine is successful for this very reason. I could be wrong, but it seems that Black women may be the strongest group of female minority consumers. I've never heard of advertisers taking such interest in reaching Hispanic women, Asian women, etc.

If my theory is true, African American women could easily be the biggest niche within a niche for any demographic.

For more details about the Lexus campaign, visit:

Thursday, August 6, 2009

The Reality of Reality Shows

Believe it or not, but reality shows are very profitable. Despite their lack of substance and moral decency, they have become extremely popular for viewers and thus - advertisers. Nearly every cable channel has it's own reality show, and some channels have up to ten.

It all started with Cops - the oldest known reality show on television. Cops has been airing since 1989, and is still one of my favorites. Then, in the mid-1990's CBS came out with Survivor - which was an instant success, and still airs - making it one of the longest lasting reality shows.

Then there was Being Bobby Brown, Real World, The Simple Life, Flavor of Love, Hogan Knows Best, Newlyweds: Nick and Jessica, Celebrity Fit Club, Desperate Housewives, and many others.

Now, you have Tyra Banks' America's Next Top Model, T.I.'s Road To Redemption, Rev Run's Run's House, Xzibit's Pimp My Ride, Snoop Dogg's Fatherhood, MC Hammer's Hammertime, Ray J's For The Love of Ray J, Donald Trump's The Apprentice, and Keyshia Cole's The Way It Is.

There is also Jon and Kate Plus 8, Tiny and Toya, Daddy's Girls (with Angela and Vanessa Simmons), The Real Housewives of Atlanta, Keeping Up with the Kardashians - and the list goes on.

Even though many of these shows are short-lived, very ignorant, and can be quite degrading, they draw in millions and millions of viewers from many different demographics. Advertisers, hence, haved jumped on this and are spending billions to sponsor these shows. All they care about is eyeballs.

That may not be what people want to hear, but that's the reality.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Is The "Dante Lee" Brand Internationally Respected?

I was recently in Toronto, Ontario, Canada filming the first episode of "The Dante Lee Show". This was literally my very first attempt at video blogging.

Anyhow, I was covering the very popular Caribana Festival, which has celebrated Caribbean culture and tradition for over 40 years. The event attracts more than one million people to the city, pumping an estimated $250 million into their local economy.

I've never attended the event before, and had never even been to Toronto.

Watch the video to see if my brand crosses international borders.

Will The Post Office Disappear?

BusinessWeek reports that the United States Postal Service will be closing and consolidating many locations across the country.

Apparently, they've been struggling with a sharp decline in mail volume as people and businesses switch to e-mail both for personal contact and bill paying. The agency is facing a nearly $7 billion potential loss this fiscal year despite a 2-cent increase in the price of stamps in May, cuts in staff and removal of collection boxes.

Last year, mail volume fell by 9.5 billion pieces to a total of 203 billion pieces. It is expected to fall by another 28 billion pieces this year to a total of 175 billion pieces.

There are currently 32,741 post offices in the United States.

So what does this mean for entrepreneurs and business owners? In my opinion, nothing.

There's really no reason for you to go to the post office anymore. You can print postage online via and, and simply drop it in the mailbox or have them pick it up.

You can also do the same for Fedex and UPS.

If you're not already doing this, now would be a good time to start. It's very easy to do so, and the USPS offers you a slight discount when you print postage online. Plus, you save a lot of valuable time but not waiting in line at the post office.