pjhstudios blog

A Dream Speech Deconstructed


Nancy Duarte breaks down Marin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream Speech,” showing why it worked that day and still remains powerful today.

Martin Luther King Jr.’s speech analyzed by Nancy Duarte from Duarte Design on Vimeo.

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Five months


Dan Provost and Tom Gerhardt went from a simple idea–a tripod mount for an iPhone 4–to an actual, physical product, called the Gliph, in five months.

This turnaround, from idea to market in five months by two guys with no retail or manufacturing experience, signifies a shift in the way products are made and sold — a shift only made possible in the last couple years.

Provost details the whole process. What they did when, why, how, who they had to contact. It helped that they understood design, so they could relate to the people who would make their product real. Amazing stuff.

The Art of Non-Conformity


The Art of Non-Conformity: Set Your Own Rules, Live the Life You Want, and Change the World by Chris Guillebeau tells of how you can live the creative, purposeful life you want. His advice is pretty simple: get over your fear of failure, your fear of others’ expectations, and if you want it enough, you can find a way to make it work. Perhaps Nike said it best: Just do it.

Guillebeau has some cool stories to provide insight, both personal and of those he’s met. The most important thing he believes is doing things and learning by experiences. Education and reading can provide ideas and insight, but they’re informational tools. You won’t know what works unless you do it.

Making ideas happen


Making Ideas Happen: Overcoming the Obstacles Between Vision and Reality, written by Scott Belsky, keeps the principle that an idea and the belief in that a central, well conceived idea is the core of making things happen. The book is broken down into three sections with practical tips and anecdotes to organizing and executing, connecting with others (he calls it building a community) and leadership. The tone is confident and some times cerebral, but grounded with enough stories to visualize what he’s talking about. Those stories can apply to individuals, teams in a corporate environment or non-corporate environment.

Organization and Execution
In the first section, Belsky suggests that when you have an idea, keep focused on it and create actionable steps to build momentum and confidence. Prioritization and identifying what’s essential is key in the beginning. It’s easy to keep adding to the idea, but you’ve got to be critical and keep to what matters.

Don’t be afraid to partner with others. Know yourself, particularly if you’re a Dreamer (someone who can think up ideas), a Doer (someone who can execute) or an Incrementalist (someone who can do both–these are rare, he says, and he compares them to polymaths). Share ideas with others to get feedback and refine the idea. Let people in to build something bigger than just an executed plan.

Know what really motivates people when it comes to doing things–play and recognition. If someone is doing something that doesn’t feel like work, that the task or project engages someone enough, they’ll do amazing work. Recognition for hard work also motivates people. Be sure to know what skills compliment each other, and know when to have a devil’s advocate to restrain a project from overreaching.

Rock Gods – Forty Years of Rock Photography


Rock Gods: Forty Years of Rock Photography by Robert M. Knight is a diverse collection of photos that span his entire career. He’s taken pictures of Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, Rolling Stones, Jeff Beck and many more.

He focuses on lead guitarists, and his body of work shows that, especially with his live concert shots. Knight excels at the live concert photography. He says his approach is like a journalist or someone doing a documentary, where looking at the photos afterward they come to life in a more visceral way.

In Rock Gods, he tells stories about some of his memorable shoots. Greeting Led Zeppelin in Hawaii as they walk off they plane carrying the master reels to Led Zeppelin II. Meeting Jeff Beck for the first time, after years of trying. And as he’s known for, being the last photographer to shoot Stevie Ray Vaughn.

After paging through the book, I wanted more. More of his old concert shots, more of his more recent work. For photographers, viewing Knight’s work can tell a lot about composition and lighting–what worked, what moment created that visceral feeling you get from a concert photo.

Digital Masters by Nancy Brown


Digital Masters: People Photography: Capturing Lifestyle for Art & Stock (A Lark Photography Book) by Nancy Brown is perfect for the Mom With A Camera crowd, who own a digital SLR and want to get into the portrait business. The tone of the book isn’t overly technical, and what technical aspects are mentioned are basic so that one can have a working understanding of equipment. Her tip of having a reflector for outdoor, sunny portraits will help a lot of people. For the most part, she focuses on the process and how to approach the shoots. The sample shots look like stock photos (which is one area she specializes in) of children or people in their 50s, 60s or 70s.



Catfisha movie about the Facebook age and tells a story about identity, truth, love, art and perhaps mental illness. It’s shot in a documentary style and works best if you know nothing of the plot. The suspense builds, peaking on a horse farm in Michigan, and then the twist arrives, bringing a cautionary and emotional denouement too soon. Too soon because, depending on your point of view, it’s either a pitiful story or cynical fable or plain stupid hoax.

A Day in the Future


As I rise and stretch, I notice I’m sore. Not from tending the fields though. I have no fields. Some unseen person does all the field-tending for me. Sometimes I forget that there’s any field-tending going on at all.

Lyrically written.

Curation is the new search


Google has been much maligned of late, due to its increasingly spammy and gamed results. Paul Kedrosky makes a point that curation of web content will be on the rise.

The answer, of course, is that we won’t — do them all by hand, that is. Instead, the re-rise of curation is partly about crowd curation — not one people, but lots of people, whether consciously (lists, etc.) or unconsciously (tweets, etc) — and partly about hand curation (JetSetter, etc.).

Risk Everything


A user, riskeverything, on Reddit, responded to a thread, entitled “What small decision did you make that altered the entire course of your life?” with the story of his handle.  It spans three continents and involves London’s Big Ben clock tower.

I go to London and on first day I went to big ben. I want to get the standard tourist shot – me and BB (cheezy but I am an australian and it is the other side of the world!). Was about to ask this guy to take my photo and he lay down on the grass and shut his eyes.

I turned to the nearest person. It was a girl reading a paper and asked her to take my photo.

That was the easy part.