Presentation Consulting

Recently I have started a new side project, Presentation Consulting. I work with the Tehnopol Start-up Incubator group and I have been coaching some of their start-up CEO’s in how to give better presentations. This involves watching their pitches and then we discuss both the content of their slides and also their general delivery. I have found this fun as it really bridges all my experiences in business and in the arts. I have been giving presentations for years through my IT training work and as a comedy promoter I see many comedians and have to quickly judge why I like them or not.

Part of working on their slides is not only getting the content and message right but then making the slides look pretty. For this I have been working with my designer guy, Kaarel Johannes and he has come out with some great designs, especially considering he has never worked on slides before.

I had a proud moment this morning when Meelis Resev, CEO of Priienergia delivered his investor pitch to us, using the new slides Kaarel had worked on and using the delivery techniques we had worked on. His presentation was very much improved and tomorrow he gets to do a real pitch in front of real investors with (apparently) real money. I think he is in with a good shot.

All Aboard The Sushi Train, Next Stop Tallinn Estonia

I think that you can tell how advanced a city is by the food it serves. If we are looking at dumplings and microwaved burgers from a stand, welcome to Kiev, Ukraine. However if we are looking at the finest Pizza and Pasta, your in Rome, Italy. Wait, so maybe my good food equals advanced society analogy doesn’t hold up but you get the idea.

One of the rungs on the ladder to edible society advancement is the sushi train. Sushi itself is several runs below it. It’s easy to get someone up there rolling maki but sushi train is way more advanced, not only do you need to install the little conveyor to take the tasty morsels to hungry clients, you actually need a certain amount of clients to make it worth while. I was ecstatic, this discovery along with the first kebab store with a real spinning stick of meat heralds a true golden age of Estonian dining!

I LOVE sushi train. It combines two passions of mine, sushi and being delivered food automatically. Instant food and you can eat as much as you want stopping only when you feel like it, for better or worse. Sushi train is culinary power to the people. It is the ultimate in freedom in a new democracy. While the Finns feed their fat holes at the buffet, classy Estonians can have their foreign treats brought to them. The downside of sushi train is your hunger becomes inversely proportional to your wallet thickness. I had a feeling I would be leaving with a particularly thin wallet.

I started to wonder why sushi train had not been in Estonia before. Estonians in general are not good with the trains. Was it a problem that this pint sized express service was the most on-time train service available in the whole country? Maybe it was because trains in Estonia have sort of a bad reputation… from the occupation days. Could it be thought that the chefs were deporting these small tasty sushi pieces to the Sibera of my mouth? Don’t even start with the German speaking guy who joined me as the other only customer.

When I arrived I was greeted by the two ladies working there and I couldn’t believe it, they were genuinely Asian! In Tallinn! How exotic! They seem quite tan so I’m guessing south east Asian and not Japanese but hey progress is progress. I looked at the time and saw it was 10:50 when their opening time was 11:00. It was a cold day and I was very happy they invited me in and didn’t tell me to come back later because “kord on kord”. A new generation of stop assistant who doesn’t know what “kord on kord”* means! Literally. I’m not sure they speak Estonian.

Sushi train isn’t all fantastic however. The store is a bit plain and out of the way. If I know Tallinners, they like their stuff a bit trendy, a bit different, a bit less plain. Who can blame them, after 50 years of Soviet rule where “gray” was technically classed as a flavor you would want the same. It is in this respect that Sushi Cat has the upper hand. Bright lights, endless anime and odd pictures off the staff which makes it seem a bit cultish give it that extra touch of flair over this railroad establishment.

As I took another plate off the conveyor and jammed it down my sushi hole, it occured to me why this will most certainly be a success in Estonia. I have come in, sat down and got my food, all while having to only say 1 word of greeting to the staff. Service where you don’t have to interact with a person? I think we have a winning business model! Maybe the Japanese and Estonian cultures have more in common than we would think. The Soviet era kiosks that still dot Tallinn went half way to automation, they don’t have a robot but an old Russian woman which is quite similar in level of personalty.

The golden age is truly here. Now Tallinn has a way of buying food which will please the locals who don’t want to talk and the scared foreigners who are too stupid to.

 

* “kord on kord” is an Estonian phrase meaning “rules are rules”

Pictures from Last Week

It was another huge week of comedy last week, 4 shows in 4 cities. I am learning to cope with the increasing pace by eating well and not drinking. That’s a bad way of dealing with it.

My Finnish friend Jesse, knows how to knock back a drink

His mouth is on fire in this last shot.

 Josh Howie on stage at “Stand Up Comedy with Louis and Eric” in Tallinn

 

 Chezek enjoyes the massage chair at Giganti

Two gentlemen who clearly know shit about coffee machines. A stop off on the way to Turku for a show.

I got a flower as a gift

In Drink Bar you can wee and look at a picture of me at the same time

Woken By Russians

 

In Tartu and last night we were woken by some Russian guys yelling downstairs. Unfortunately my Russian is limited to 4 words. Dah, Nyt, Speciba and Sooka. The last two words are “thank you” and “bitch”. I swear I didn’t learn these last two words together.

It It has been another big week, 4 shows in 4 days: Tartu, Tallinn, Helsinki and back to Tartu again. Its the 4th day which wears me out, even though Ive managed to limit my alcohol intake to just a few beers each night, in combination with endless moving and not a piece of fruit in sight, it all takes its toll.

November and December are the business months for a comedian because of all the private gigs we get around Christmas. So this wont really let up until the new year. We have a cool private show booked on new years in Tallinn so that will sort of be a symbolic end of the race I think.

I took this photo at the Drink Bar in Tallinn show this week. I really like this one, it shows the crowd all packed in and having a good time. I know most of them are only smiling but that is having a good time for Estonians.