Your Two Minutes of Fame

In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes.

We all know that quote from Andy Warhol. But sorry to disappoint you – you might not get 15 minutes. You might only get two. But it could be two minutes that makes a real difference to your business.

Like a lot of you, I use Dropbox. All my files, instantly accessible wherever I am. One of my friends introduced me to Dropbox and explained what it did and why it was a great idea. But you know how it is. I was driving the car: I was thinking about my next appointment. I didn’t really take it in.

That night I had a look at Dropbox – and I found an introductory video on the site. It was one of the first ones I’d seen, and – after a bit of hunting on the internet – here it is.

I thought the video was brilliant. It instantly explained the concept behind Dropbox. I got it. I signed up – and I’ve been using it ever since.

I also ‘signed up’ to the concept of the introductory video. That’s what I want to see when I go to a website I haven’t used before. Show me a short video; tell me how it works. Do it simply, concisely and with a sprinkling of humour – and do it in less than two minutes. And if you’d like another example, here’s the TAB one on YouTube. (Sorry about the bloke at the bottom of the page…)

Time was when you needed specialist help to produce an animated video: when you needed the services of young men surrounded by Macs, pizza boxes and Coke cans. Not any more. There are now a variety of sites that allow you to produce your own animated video, and very often to do it for free. Here you go:

I really recommend having a look at these sites. I know you’re busy: I know animation isn’t your strongest suit and I know you don’t have the time to write the script – but these days websites have to be more than just brochures. You really need to engage people – and animated video is increasingly becoming a very effective and engaging way to do precisely that.

Which brings me on to my next point…

Why stop at animation?

What better way to introduce your business and tell potential customers that you’re likable – that you’d be a good person to do business with – than a short video? Sit on the corner of your desk; look directly at the camera and chat about your business.

For something like this the average person will talk at around 140 words per minute, so you’ll need a script of roughly 280 words (to give you a comparison, this blog post is 620 words). You’ll also need someone competent behind the camera, and you’ll need to upload it onto your site – which shouldn’t take the average teenager more than two minutes.

Above all, learn your two minute speech – then you can deliver it naturally and confidently. It will bring your website alive, and it’s a great way of ‘meeting’ potential customers before you meet them – of establishing a connection.

Technology is giving us more and more ways to get our message across: increasingly it is costing very little to do it and ‘drag n’ drop’ gives us all the chance to appear competent at most things. So go ahead and give a two minute video a go: a) it’ll benefit your business and b) I’ve a bottle of red wine waiting for the best one I see.

Who knows? You might even impress your children. No, maybe not…


  1. Simon Hudson · January 17, 2014

    OK, now that’s spooky. After seeing Ed yesterday I headed over to the wonderful C4DI digital hub in Hull (City of Culture 2017 – have I mentioned that?) to shoot a 140 second video for our Hadron 8020 product for submission to the SharePoint Conference 2014 – which is a big deal in our industry.

    140 seconds… it doesn’t sound like much.
    But we found that you can get an awful lot of message over in that time if you plan it reasonably carefully (the script took me ten minutes and then was refined during the shoot).
    All the tools we needed were either free or could be used at no cost on a trial basis for 30 days.
    The shoot took about an hour (we used a talking head video rather than animation – that’s the next thing to try) – it’s not perfect but it’s honest and good enough.
    Richard, bless him, probably spent another 6 hours pulling it all together, but that included downloading and learning the software on the fly and uploading the resulting video to the site.

    More importantly, as a busy entrepreneur, I can afford to invest that much time in it. As a business user I can also invest about 3 minutes in watching such a video – after 5 mins my attention is irrevocably diverted elsewhere. I’ll watch several short videos but not one long one.

    We plan to produce more and expect them to get better as we learn.

    I’ll let you know how we get on.

  2. Simon Hudson · January 17, 2014

    And here is the link to the video.

    Maybe 2 minutes of infamy are as good as 2 minutes of fame Or ignominy perhaps!

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