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When someone says the phrase “public speaking,” most of us feel a pang of anxiety and visualize an expert holding forth from the middle of TED’s red circle.

But public speaking in the 21st century has evolved to be so much more than what we imagine — though no less frightening. And the pandemic’s effect on professional life has only increased its importance.

It’s believed that in the future of work, people will be more independent and “gig-oriented,” bringing the skill of Pitching from the sales floor to every corner of the enterprise. Moreover workers will increasingly need to run

Tempted to raise money on Clubhouse? Don’t Be.

As with all “movements” in Silicon Valley, industry insiders have been leading the long march to Clubhouse — an exclusive, new, audio-only community app. And as with everything in Silicon Valley, it didn’t take much time for venture capitalists and entrepreneurs to start using Clubhouse for fundraising pitches.

I have a simple entreaty for you: don’t — at least not yet. And here’s why.

Getting to No

The biggest warning sign in any fundraising process is when qualified investors start saying No. Venture Capitalists are pack animals, always looking for their next kill. But they don’t like peeling away too far from the…

You can tell I enjoy this speaking thing, can’t you?

I’ve been a paid, public speaker for nearly 20 years, and a frequent get-up-and-talk-it-out kinda guy for as long as I can remember.

n.b. My first grade teacher sent back the following note to my parents on my initial report card (my childhood nickname was Gaby): “Never have I met a more aptly named pupil.” The Gift of the Gab, indeed.

Since beginning my professional career, I’ve also started, invested in and coached hundreds of startups and founders.

Through this process, I’ve learned that most people — unfortunately — are terrible at public speaking, pitching and leading meetings.

This of…

Vaccinations are progressing slowly. Here’s why. Image Rights

US Federal and State governments have mostly screwed up the initial roll out of vaccinations against COVID-19. Millions of vials are sitting in storage waiting to be delivered, while thousands continue to die each day. It is a tragedy that has been playing out in slow motion, and makes it exceedingly obvious that no one in a position of responsibility here has ever studied game theory or computer science. The mistakes are so glaring, and the issue so important, I think we should dig into how such a system ought to be designed.

There is a mathematical systems design and…

Deploying Solutions for Last-Mile Voter Issues.

I build systems of behavior change.

Democrats’ ground game and voting intervention effort has been particularly weak these past few election cycles. Understandably, COVID-19 changed many rules in 2020, but there is an overarching, structural problem with all the campaigns I’ve worked on or observed in 2018 and 2020:

They fail to truly solve (or even acknowledge) “last-mile” voting problems.

We spend a lot of time talking about major reasons why people don’t vote, such as candidate enthusiasm or political engagement or voter suppression. …

Me, just before my Coming to America

I came to the US 25 years ago for my MBA. At the time, I always felt that Canada (and particularly the sleepy hamlet of Toronto that I had grown up in) was too provincial and confining. I wanted to do startup stuff, and get involved in the tech industry, and that meant…America.

But my actual Coming to America was more accidental, and, at least initially, involved much less Sexual Chocolate than the film. I had planned to study a joint business and law degree at a University near my home, and looked forward to climbing the legal ladder, as…

Looks rainy and windy in Belleau on Nov 10, 2018…n’est ce pas? (cc US Gov)

The President has gotten himself into hot water for a report that claims he disparaged dead soldiers after refusing to attend a WWI commemoration ceremony at an American Military Cemetery on Nov 10, 2018. He — of course — denied having said that, and his proxies have been shouting “deep state conspiracy” into the great, yawning void ever since.

Any rational person knows he’s lying. The original Atlantic article was validated and fact checked by the AP and other news outlets. This alone should be sufficient. Then there was the lie he told about “calling Melania at home to say…

Preppy Surprise! It’s not me! image cc

Growing up in Canada, the child of refugees and Holocaust survivors, I never felt like I was part of the majority. This wasn’t entirely because of things others did or said to me, but rather a general feeling of not fully belonging. The white kids (as we’d call them) were rich — and preppy. They had families of British, Irish, German or Scottish origin, with long roots in Canada. …

Rich vs Poor Entrepreneurship. Image cc licensed

I didn’t grow up with much extra money.

My parents, both working-class refugees to Canada, struggled to make ends meet and to give us the best possible opportunities. Canada itself is an excellent place to be an immigrant, and we never wanted for much, really.

My mom was always a striver. Though she had decent-paying jobs with great stability (and some success) she always yearned to start her own thing. And she did, three times over, with a home business selling kitchenwares, and then market stalls and eventually stores selling all kinds of home goods.

This rubbed off on me…

Sadly, the lessons are being ignored

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

I remember, as a teenager, first hearing about AIDS. It’s a foggy memory of a news broadcaster talking about Rock Hudson dying. And I remember not knowing who that was, but my mom was distraught, tears rolling down her face.

“Why are you crying, Mom?”

“Rock Hudson was such an idol of mine. I can’t believe he’s gay and has AIDS.”

It left an indelible welt on me that continued to grow and redden with every passing year, sexual awakening, and HIV scare. My dad (like myself, a gay man) kept his orientation secret from my mom during the early…

Gabe Zichermann

Author and Public Speaker on Gamification, The 4th Industrial Revolution, the Future of Work and Failure. More about me:

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