It’s nice to be here. To see you again.
I hope you had a good Christmas. Remember Christmas? It was alright wasn’t it? With the winter months gently edging towards the nearest exit, early signs of spring are showing (daffs in the window box have shot up some green) and there are clearer - crisper and blue - skies ahead.
You can feel it can’t you?
It’s not far off now.
How are you? (that’s an actual ask, btw - not a tosh newslettery over-familiar copy style, legit: reply and tell me)
Having recently cleared my inbox (well, as clear as having 2,126 unread emails can be) I believe I am behind with my correspondence. So those… two people I think who need replies will get them then everyone else.
This intro always descends into admin, doesn’t it?
Let’s move on. It’s been a little under four months since we last spoke. A lot has happened. A lot hasn’t happened. It’s just A LOT.
One thing that I’m particularly happy with, over on the Whatley side of the fence at least, is I’ve gone full-tilt-boogie on getting fit (at least: not fat). I ended the year a little too close to the heaviest I’ve ever been and since Jan 4th (because dry Jan doesn’t actually start until you go back to work) i’ve been clean living and doing stuff to keep me mentally and physically fit.
The former (and a bit of the latter) is going for a 5k walk every day. EVERY day (whatever the weather). I think I’ve missed maybe two since the start of this? On rest day and one because of the snow. The other thing I did was go and get Ring Fit Adventure for the Nintendo Switch (REKT) - that has been a revelation (if you’ve got an OG Nintendo Switch and want to have a go, I’d definitely recommend it) and then the final thing I’ve been doing is just eating well. A tidy app called Lifesum is what I’ve been using for that (cheers Olly).
Results? Dropped from 88kgs to 84kgs in a month. That’s alright innit? I haven’t felt particularly hungry and I definitely haven’t felt like I’m really pushing myself. If anything, what with the walking and everything, it’s just felt kinda natural. Which is the best way, right?
I might keep going for a bit and see how long I can keep it up. But for now: I’m dead happy with it. Walking is lovely (finally catching up on the podcasts I’ve missed so much of what with having no commute to speak to (current podcast diet is one episode of Sweathead, one episode of Off Menu, then one Episode of Out to Lunch - a good mix of brain food, actual food, and laughter)) and I can strongly recommend it.
45-50mins of outside time?
Right. That’s enough of me (for now at least).
I think it’s time to get TO THE THINGS!
1. THE ‘PRESENTING ON MICROSOFT TEAMS HACK’ YOU NEED IN YOUR LIFE
Work on a Mac?
Use two screens at home?
This is for you.
Here’s the scene:
You’re working from home. You’ve got your laptop wired to a second screen, not only are you about to present but (because you’re a kick ass presenter and you’ve got builds and you know where your beats land and you just want to be sure), you’re also driving the deck. Clients on the call. Maybe other agency partners too. You share your screen, then you switch the PPT into presentation mode and voila: you’ve got one screen, probably your monitor, full screen (the one the attendees can see) and your laptop has gone into presenter mode.
You get slide preview, slide notes, the lot. But what you DON’T get - what you have lost - is the ability to see any real time reactions from those you are presenting to. A crucial part of ANY presentation to ANY people is being able to understand how the work is being received.
So wouldn’t it be great if that didn’t happen?
Let’s fix that right now.
Please note that this method means you lose the presenter mode screen BUT if you know your slides and you know the points you want to land (and seeing your audience facies is more important), then slide preview is just a crutch anyway, amirite?
Right. Let’s do this.
Three steps to presentation bliss.
First thing first: open the deck you want to present on your second screen.
If you’re already in a Teams Call, you can start sharing this PowerPoint right now.
It’s in PRE-presentation mode. Most presentations start like this. With a bit of v/o along the lines of, ‘OK, let me just share my screen… let me know when you can all see that? Yep? OK? Great. Now let me just put it in presentation mode’.
BUT DON’T DO THAT. INSTEAD, DO THIS:
On that second screen, mouse over VIEW and find (and click) READING VIEW. It looks like this:
Once you’re there, head on back up to VIEW again and this time click ENTER FULL SCREEN, like this:
And that’s it!
That’s the steps!
All being well, you should now be sharing a fullscreen PowerPoint presentation on your monitor with the full screen video of your meeting attendees on your laptop.
Absolute bloody witchcraft.
I tell you this for nothing: figuring that out the night before a pitch was an absolute game-changer.
If you’re feeling particularly Machiavellian, you can even say out loud ‘Right, I’m in presentation mode, so I can’t actually see your faces - do please let me know if anyone has any questions or comments - just jump in!’
But I can’t think of anyone reading this who would do such a thing.
You’re all such lovely people, after all…
PS. Thank me by RT-ing/sharing this Substack, thanks x
PPS. On a related note, the lovely David Levin sourced this fantastic ‘Guide to pitching in Lockdown’ last month. Even if you think you know it all, it’s worth a read (there be gold in dem hills).
2. GAMES WERE A LIFELINE IN 2020
The above named article appeared in the FT toward the end of last year and this, this quote, has stayed with me.
“You don’t ask someone, ‘Do you watch movies?’ or ‘Do you listen to music?’ You just ask what kind they like. One day, we will simply ask each other: ‘What kind of games do you play?’” This day now seems closer than ever.”
It’s one of those quotes that I keep coming back to. Like, when people casually bundle ‘gamers’ in as one audience. You may as well go ‘music listeners’ or ‘TV watchers’.
But at last, at least within this generation, that is on the verge of changing.
Given how much my number one passion and hobby has been growing all over the world at such pace and above-the-line cultural interest, I am unsurprised.
But I’m also hella excited.
One of those quotes that you bang up front in a deck about the trend of gaming and what that means for brands.
You know the one.
3. THIS WEEK IN… STUFF ABOUT ME
If you’re new here, THING 3 is basically a ‘This week in…’ round up section covering such broad topics as ‘Facebook’ or ‘Social’ or ‘Gaming’. This week, as we’ve got a fair bit of stuff to catch up on, I’m doing it differently… 😁
Self-absorbed? No. Way.
It’s been a few months since we last spoke and it’s not like I’ve not been doing ANYTHING but play PS5* with my non-work time (I can’t believe I made it this far into the newsletter without talking about how good that machine is already).
So, for those that are interested, here’s a quick-fire list of OTHER STUFF that I’ve produced since October last year.
a) OFF TOPIC
David Greenwood’s website+newsletter that interviews ‘Incredibly Interesting People’ (his words, not mine) was a lovely thing to do. Not only because answering questions about your life/work/working space is fun but also also I got to recommend three other people to go after me, meaning I got to read Dena’s, Sarah’s, and Folarin’s as well (all of them are great - I can’t get Folarin’s working space out of my head).
b) THE DIGITAL DOWNLOAD PODCAST
Before the end of the year, the very charming Paul Sutton asked me if I wouldn’t mind joining him and some other people much smarter than me on a two-part episode of his podcast, Digital Download.
Put me in your ears.
c) GIVING UP THE GRAM
One of my 2019/2020 New Year’s resolutions was to give up the gram for a while and just see how I went. Turns out I lasted the whole year and so of course I wrote about it.
Read it, share it around, improve your mental health.
I’ve finally properly linked my PS5 to my Twitch account so sometimes do a bit of streaming. If that’s your bag, then add/like/follow/subscribe my Twitch channel RIGHT HERE YO.
e) AND FINALLY: POWERPOINT KARAOKE
We’re doing PowerPoint Karaoke again later this month - AKA #KOLLABORAOKE. A bunch of amazing people, writing random slides and chucking them, like the proverbial set of car keys at a swingers night, in a fruit-bowl of randomness for on the spot improve.
Oh, and it’s FOR CHARITY.
Last time we did this we managed to raise just over £900 so maybe this time we can push that over into four figures?
See you on the 17th! :)
*in case you’re wondering what I’ve been playing, so far completed and platinum’d Astro’s Playroom and Spider-Man: Miles Morales. I’m working my way towards the end of Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla as we speak and next? I don’t know actually. What are you playing?
4. LOCKDOWN TELLY
Stuff we’ve watched of late:
TASKMASTER. All of them are on All4 and they’ve been a Godsend. I’ve been crying my eyes out with laughter at every episode. So so so so good.
QUEEN’S GAMBIT. Chess is a big part of my life. I played chess for my school. I taught my brother how to play (and he went on to play for the country), and I first kissed the love of my life over/after a game of chess. But aside from all that, the series is excellent on its own. This interview with Garry Kasparov is great POST-show reading.
We restarted THE CROWN. Season 1, Episode 4 ‘Act of God’ is strikingly prescient. Worth a rewatch.
I finished the new season of STAR TREK: DISCOVERY. It’s fantastic.
We also finally got around to finishing END OF THE F**KING WORLD (Ch4/Netflix). It’s so lovely. Gruesome. Dark. But lovely.
And of course, like everyone else with taste, I am loving WANDAVISION.
I’m sure there’s more but by all means, please, hit that reply button and I’ll pool some replies for a recommendation THING next week/time.
OH, I nearly forgot. Due to my interest in TASKMASTER I also managed to find NO MORE JOCKEYS (you can read about here). Proper pub banter between three mates who just happen to comics - but over zoom.
You can find that on YouTube (stick with it).
I actually love it.
5. REVISITING THE BLOB OPERA
This went nuts right before Christmas and honestly, re-digging it back up again has been A JOY. If you missed out on The Blob Opera experiment from Google Arts & Culture then you’re in for a treat. If you played with it for AGES then I hope this is a nice reminder because as we all know, January lasted for seven hundred and thirty eight days and we need reminding of things sometimes.
THIS IS THE BONUS SECTION. BONUS LINKS THAT BUMP US OVER FIVE THINGS BUT DUE TO TIMING AND SELF-IMPOSED WRITING RESTRICTIONS ARE LIMITED TO PITHY COMMENTARY ONLY.
The EVIL CORP BOARDGAME Kickstarter is FINALLY complete and my edition arrived just last week. I’ve play-tested it and it’s reviewing amazingly. So get your copy here.
The NEW RADICALS played at the Inauguration. Here’s an overview of how the hell that all happened.
Speaking of the Inauguration, you can’t not mention Amanda Gorman. Please use this as an excuse to rewatch her incredible performance.
How to interview an MP is great (and works for any interview).
Hellish things about living in the UK (you’ll either laugh or nod and agree).
And I think that’s it for today. I’m sure there’s more but I’m hungry and it’s my day off.
I’ll save the rest for next time…
YOU ARE REACHING THE END OF THE NEWSLETTER. MIND THE GAP.
It’s been nice to boot this thing up again. A few of you have written to me to ask if everything is OK (you can always check my Twitter for signs of life!) due to lack of newsletteriness. But be assured, I’m alright and the working from home all the time part of my life has meant that my spare time is focused on extracting the most value I can from that time. That means family. I used to draft this thing on my commute and then write it up late at night, or on a Sunday, or whatever. But when you can hear the sound of your children’s laughter in the next room, it’s hard to find the drive to write about culture/life/social/trends/etc.
So for now, thank you for reading, thank you for subscribing, thank you for sharing, and above all, thank you for waiting.
Until next time,
Whatley out x