This is how you get people interested in something they aren’t automatically interested in — tell a good story.

It’s a half hour talk, but Kyle Machulis does a really good job of telling a story that will engage you with insights into this crazy community of hackers.


“Tell a good story.” That’s the main piece of advice I have for everyone these days when they ask me the standard question of, “How can we get people interested in what we do.” Here’s a good example of it.

I have no innate interest in computer hacking, even when related to video gaming. But over the weekend I met some extremely cool people involved with it and one of them sent me this half hour video.

So … a half hour is already about 29 minutes longer than my usual attention span for a video — especially when it’s only a video of some guy giving a talk — just one camera in the corner of the room. But here it is, and it’s very good. Not incredibly good — that would take much higher production value. But definitely good enough that he kept me in there, listening to stuff that I had no interest in, and all because of one reason — he was telling a good story.

And I do mean a REALLY good story — about all these crazy, obsessed video game hackers around the world, waiting for the big bad corporation (Microsoft) to introduce their latest invention so they can instantly get one of their new devices, tear it to pieces, learn what they’re doing, then use the knowledge and technology to advance their own ideas. If only the world of environmental science existed at this level of immediacy and intensity.

His story is very cool, full of twists and turns for a while. And I love the part where he compares staring at the pieces of the gadgets, trying to solve the puzzle of how to reassemble them into something new, as being similar to solving a Sudoku puzzle. For those of us who waste countless hours just staring at the dumb Sudoku puzzles, waiting for the pieces to suddenly emerge, I know exactly the feeling he’s talking about.

And guess where else you find that wonderful puzzle-solving experience … when you’re editing a film, and trying to do just what he did … tell a good story.