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Keynote: A Whole New Mind

This was a keynote by best-selling author Daniel Pink, who wrote ‘A Whole New Mind’ and ‘The Adventures of Johnny Bunko’.

When we arrived to the Keynote Ballroom, each seat had a Meridia Audience Response System device.
They polled us on our age group, size of our company and some other generic information on training. When Dan Pink starts his keynote, he tells us he has actually prepared 2 different keynotes and he would allow for us to vote on which one we would like to hear. The first dealt with the ‘A Whole New Mind’ book and the second was about his latest book, the first business novel written completely in Manga, a popular comic book format from Japan. 52% of the crowd of 411 people attending the keynote wanted to hear the keynote on the Manga book. He was surprised about this; he had assumed the professional crowd would have like to listen to the keynote based on the 300 page best-seller. He changed his slides and started speaking about how Manga is becoming the world’s hottest medium.

Manga is a type of Japanese comic style. But comics in Japan are seen differently than comics here in the US. Generally, we think comics are for geeks and freaks. But in Japan, comics are a mass media. 22% of written media in Japan is in comic format. There is Manga Shakespeare and Manga Statistics. Manga cafes are popping up all over the world; including the streets of Paris. Manga sales keep rising as book sales keep declining.

Why are book sales declining? Because the information is printed and then starts to go stale. As soon as it goes on a page, it goes stale. It sits on a bookshelf and it keeps getting stale. You can’t search it. And it’s not free. Books are no longer valuable vessels for transferring and disseminating information. BUT, paper books do some things better than online books – books are better at providing Strategic, big picture information.

That’s why Dan Pink wrote the 160 page graphic novel. It tells the story of Johny Bunko and a mentor named Diana who is 1-part Cameron Diaz/1-part Barbara Eden. Johny Bunko is bored of his job and this book shows 6 career lessons to improve your professional life.

Why is the Japanese comic format a wise choice? He presents 3 arguments why it is: 1-it’s demystifying, 2-it’s international, 3-it’s participatory. When Google released it’s new browser, Chrome, instead of issuing a huge technical manual they issued a comic by Scott McCloud instead of a manual. All manuals can be made better by making it pictorial and animated.

It’s international because the medium translates very well and very easily. The pictures carry the narrative freight. If you use the method, you can bring all the information to many different countries and language.

Manga is participatory because Manga lends itself to customization. Dojinshi is amateur Manga creations. People customize it, re-purpose it and make it their own. Manga is great because right now, nobody is doing it. It’s the perfect kind of experiment.

Almost every great innovation was made during a down time in the recession. Apple released the iPod only 6 weeks after September 11, 2001.

Questions from the audience: -Where do you get the artwork done? Tens of thousands of young Manga artists. DeviantArt.com and other website of Manga artists. Many colleges have Manage programs.

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