At the Dublin Web Summit, in October 2011, one of the keynote speakers was Danny Moore. His company, Lough Shore Investments, nurture high-potential start-ups and have a stated goal of bringing ten great companies to exit or IPO by 2025. I have corporate clients in that line of business: his company is not one of them.
Whoever edited and posted this video decided that we should join it shortly after the beginning, replacing Moore’s opening with a slide telling us that his talk was entitled, “Entrepreneurship: seven core pillars“. Why? Why did they do this? Was his opening so tedious or garbled that they felt a half-seen slide could do the job better? I don’t know the answer, but I do know that it’s a dismal start to the video. It’s doing no favours at all for Moore nor Lough Shore Investments nor Dublin Web Summit. Whoever stuck this on the web needs his bum kicking.
When we do join him Moore is delivering a very downbeat resume of his education. Would you be able to tell me the name of your school and your hometown without having to look them up? I thought so. Why then did he need to look at the lectern before naming these things? The answer is hump. At the beginning of a presentation like this, when you are assailed by nerves, there’s a temptation to look anywhere but at the audience. He surrendered to the temptation. First impressions are very important, and this first impression is dire.
Which is a pity, because we find that Moore has plenty to say. The trouble is that he has little idea of how to say it.
Many might have trouble with his northern Ireland accent: it is undeniably a robust example. Nevertheless we should remember that his live audience is in Dublin where ears will be easily in tune with it. If I were advising him, and conscious of the wider potential audience from a YouTube posting, I would work with him on clarity of enunciation without losing the essence of his accent. Part of the problem is that Co. Antrim produces not just distinctive vowel sounds, but a style of intonation that to non-Irish ears implies a monotone.
I am unable to read his slides, but I am fairly certain that he is not regurgitating precisely what they say – which is good. On the other hand they are smothered in verbiage – which is dreadful. Does he want his audience to read his slides or listen to him? If he absolutely had to have any slides at all I’d restrict him to showing only the headline sentences. If I were being really assertive I’d kick all the slides into touch, and the pillars too. My problem with the pillars is that he is straying into the realm of those lame book titles, beloved of the mass self-help industry, “The five errors made by most coracle repairers“. His business surely is with bright revolutionary innovation, yet he’s selling it with the aid of the stalest of cheap cliché.
The closing is simply appalling. He runs out of time, weakly mentions a reading list and then falls off the end. This is a keynote speech in a flagship tech conference, for heaven’s sake! What a waste of a fabulous shop-window!
I itch to help.