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Have you heard of Toastmasters? Was it something you thought sounded cool and you would try sometimes, but not THIS time, because other things take priority, you don’t feel “ready,” you can’t find anything to talk about or you think that what you have to say won’t interest anyone else..

red apple

I met Tobias while setting up the Erlangen Coworking space. One of his (many) pet projects is hosting/moderating the PechaKucha events in Erlangen. PechaKucha is a dynamic presentation format that was created by two expats living in Japan in 2003. The idea is to present your topic in 20 slides (preferably images and little to no text) and speak exactly 20 seconds to each slide. 20×20. As I witnessed in my first PechaKucha event last night, even the most complex topics can be presented and well received using this format.

And I quote Albert Einstein, “If you can’t explain it simply, then you haven’t understood it well enough.”

red apple


I was put “on the spot” when asked to present when another speaker cancelled. At first, I panicked. And then I internalized. Here I summarize some of the learnings on how to get through a public talk like this without losing your mojo:

  •  Find one guiding idea/symbol that holds all the content together and you can always refer back to. For example, when talking about myself, I like to use the “bridge” symbolic and it helps me to talk about my background as well as professional achievements.
  • Tell a story. Make it a narrative.
  • Be lighthearted. In this I mean: don’t take yourself too seriously.
  • Find a topic you can be passionate about.
  • Have a goal in mind. If all else fails, what do you want to have gotten out of the experience? My friend advised me to present a topic that is difficult for me to present, so that I get practice doing it. So I then I didn’t really mind if I bombed, because it was “practice.”
  • Be yourself. Find your own style and be authentic. People will appreciate you just being you.

I vacillate from one hour to the next on my feelings on the changes that digital technology, specifically the internet, has brought us. I curse, I embrace, I use, and I reject. Here are my thoughts of the day:


1. Maintaining relationships despite leading a life oceans apart from very necessary and cherished people.

2. Learning. From Youtube videos to today’s discovery, I am amazed at the wealth of useful educational resources.

3. Accessibility. Recipes to shopping. It’s all right at the fingertips.

4. Working virtually. I work on projects with colleagues all over the globe.

5. Freedom. Everyone can have a voice. And it has changed governments to companies.


1. Mainting relationships mainly or only via devices. I have to make an effort to actually see people or hear their voices.

2. De-value of interactivity and personal connection. I still prefer face-to-face communication above all other forms.

3. Speed. Things getting “solved” so quickly. Where is the quality if it’s a race to the finish line? I feel pressured to catch up all the time.

4. Refining being “alone.” Is it now time that is spent without any other human presence? Or any presence at all? I can become so absorbed in social web activity that I don’t realize I have been alone.

5. The noise. The distractions from so many “voices” that are now heard, and the work it takes to get to authenticity.

“We are grossly underestimating the impact of the social web.” Gary Vaynerchuk

I wrote the following to myself following a recent workshop. I sent it to so that they could send it back to me on the specific date I requested. Here to share with the world:

I_heavily_serifed work on projects that deepen my knowledge well and connect me with a variety of people in an open, international, and creative setting. I feel that the work I do has a positive impact on others and there is opportunity to affect their growth. This contribution is appreciated and gives me meaning.

I continue my practice of bettering myself daily and hence can better the world around me. I am mindful of the dualities that naturally pull me to one or other side. I have learned how to move and stay in the present through practice (yoga, meditation, connecting with others). I maintain healthy relationships with family, friends, and colleagues. I share my ideas with others and am in touch with friends near and far.

My children are thriving and learning, becoming independent thinkers who are in touch with the world around them. My husband and I partner constructively, supporting and believing in each other. We laugh, travel, and explore new things together. We instill our values in our children. We learn from the generations before us and our own failures/lessons.

I am often in nature taking note of all the small and large wonders of life. I feel physically strong in mind and body. My environment is tolerant and diverse and inspires me to new realizations. There is an appreciation for innovation, creativity, and knowledge.

an end and a beginning in morocco

Fatima, Minerats, Dust, Sunsets, Oranges
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