The 100,000 Homes Campaign

If this extraordinary campaign succeeds, 100,000 homeless people will have homes by July 2013. And if you think that sounds crazy, just watch this video.

Interminable Terms and Conditions

I was trying to buy something on iTunes the other day, and it prompted me to agree to Apple’s new “Terms and Conditions.” On my iTouch, the Terms occupied 62 screens of text. So I emailed the Terms to myself and, in the meantime, clicked “I Agree.”

Turns out the Terms are 16,914 words. (Switch, a normal-sized nonfiction book, is about 73,000 words.) Let’s assume that people can read and comprehend the Terms at a speed of 200 wpm. (That’s the lower end of the “reading for comprehension” speed range cited on Wikipedia, which should be a fair estimate given the quality of the prose, which makes an IRS form seem like a bodice-ripper.) At that rate, it would take about 85 minutes just to read the Terms.

These New Terms, by the way, come on the heels of the Old New Terms (from March 31), which were 15,170 words. With quarterly updates of the Terms, the average iTunes customer would need to spend a full work day annually just reading legalese. (That’s an 8-hour shift minus an hour for lunch and another for Facebook.) By way of comparison, you can rent a car or bungee-jump by agreeing to a one-page contract.

There’s no sense in getting riled up about something so small, but it just makes you ponder this fact: Dozens of Apple executives have studied this situation and concluded that this is a perfectly reasonable thing to expect your customers to do (that is, either sign a contract blindly or spend a day annually reading legalese).

It is possible, by the way, to create non-shameful contracts: Check out Dropbox’s latest Terms, which includes lines like this: “The Services provide features that allow you to share your stuff with others or to make it public. There are many things that users may do with that stuff (for example, copy it, modify it, re-share it). Please consider carefully what you choose to share or make public.”

Middle East geography for dummies

If you’d have trouble finding Iran or Afghanistan on a map, check out this sticky 1-minute Middle East geography lesson (courtesy of Kid Ethnic).

How to get stickier

Communicating with more impact isn’t some kind of mysterious process. It just takes a framework for thinking and a little bit of effort.

I want to share with you some videos that show how quickly the effort can pay off. Backstory: Chip and I partnered with Decker Communications — who’ve taught 100,000+ people over 30 years to communicate better — to create a one-day course around the principles in Made to Stick. We wanted to give people a chance to practice making ideas stick.

Does it work? Check out these two videos on the Decker site. The first is from the beginning of the day at the Decker workshop. It shows an executive giving a pitch for a new product. The second video shows the same pitch at the end of the day. (BTW, I am grateful to the exec, Tamer, for allowing us to post his videos. I’m hoping that other participants will give us permission as well, so we can keep providing these real-world examples.)

What struck me about these videos is that, in both videos, you see an exec who is clearly smart and personable — someone who has no trouble talking spontaneously. But there is a pretty radical difference in the clarity and memorability of the two talks. It just took a little bit of practice.

(Most of the Decker courses are delivered privately to companies & nonprofits — but they’ve actually got two courses scheduled soon that are open to the public: Nov 17 in NYC and Dec 10 in San Fran. Register or see more details here.)

The Girl Effect returns

You’ve probably seen “The Girl Effect” video. When it launched, we raved about it and tried to explain why it’s so effective.

Now there’s a sequel, and it’s just as impressive as the first one. Check it out: