Over the last few years, many people have asked if there is a place online where they can watch one of my “weird lectures.”
The simple answer is, “No.”
I very rarely allow my lectures to be filmed. Sometimes people will film them and post them but I will politely ask for them to be removed.
It has much to do with the ever-changing and fluid nature of the ideas that are discussed during one of my talks. The concepts and ideas I deal with and that so many find fascinating are at the very least ethereal. But, it also has to do with my respect and caring for the people who attend one of my lectures.
If you have ever seen me speak you know that in the beginning I say,
“I know how this lecture starts and I know how it ends, but the middle is going to be brand new.”
This is because, I feel, people who take the time out of their lives to come and see me speak deserve something more than a stock PowerPoint presentation. People who want to come and help me build new ideas deserve to hear something no other crowd has ever heard before. Are some of the same ideas presented? Of course but those ideas are able to be removed and replaced at any time. Were I to stand in front of every crowd and mouth the same words, show the same photos, play the same recordings over and over again, I would expect no one to show up and I might as well just record the video of that lecture, post it, and never do a lecture again.
Most of the time I don’t use a microphone or a podium; I like to wander about the audience and be close to everyone. It’s important to me that we actually see and hear each other. I let people interrupt me, correct me, question me and together we construct ideas that perhaps we couldn’t have done if we were alone. If I were dependent on PowerPoint or note cards, or if the projector was working, or not, I feel that I would be shackled and that my words were simply a script. I believe people deserve more than that from me. This is just how I am. I understand other people have various ways in which they present to audiences. But, on more than one occasion I have seen well-known persons in many fields stumble through their presentations because a laptop crashed or notes were forgotten and I can’t help but think to myself, “can’t they talk openly, honestly, and informatively without notes?”
I understand if someone is presenting huge amounts of data, numbers, etc.and they want to “show the work” but barring any equipment malfunction they should be able to engage with a crowd sans notecards or slides.
Only time will tell
I’m sure over time my memory will start to fail and long awkward pauses will find their way into my “lectures,” but when that happens I will be all too happy to stop, sit down in the crowd, and let someone else do the talking.
I just hope it isn’t something I’ve heard before.