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Amazon has raised the bar for all of us

For more years than I can care to remember my public talks have always involved projectors and screens, laptops, leads and general faffing around. Getting to the venue early only to discover the nearest 13A socket was two hundred yards away or the black out blinds (they reassured me they had) had last been used in 1953, or the ‘digital’ projector was built by Fisher Price and had the light output of a glowworm. And then there are the digital pointers with their bright red laser dots. More than once in mid-sentence I have swung round to answer a question from the audience and forgotten to switch off the laser. My favourite facepalm experience was being reassured by a client that their conference projector could project films in a 16:9 aspect ratio. So when I turned up with my freshly edited film in hand and walked into an auditorium of 1200 expectant viewers, the projector was too old to handle films in this ratio and all our carefully crafted subtitles disappeared off the bottom of the screen. It did not go down well. Sometimes you just have to take it on the chin.

So, any talk or presentation I have given over the last twenty five years has always been bundled with a lot of technological anxiety. Yesterday I was invited to give my first KEVx talk at the wonderful Coffee and Croissants Business Meet up in Wells and used nothing more than a £4 wooden easel and some A3 laser prints to illustrate my story about the secret behind Amazon’s success. The total cost of creating this presentation was £13. The story of Jeff Bezos and Amazon generated some very thought provoking questions and heated discussion about paying fair taxes, treating employees well and not just customers. As Kate from the hugely successful Partypacks said: ‘Amazon is a game changer, they’ve raised the bar for all of us’.

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Kevin Redpath