No longer able to protect the crown jewels from the cameras? Time to embrace them

Prince Harry’s Vegas party proves that cameras are everywhere

by Peter Watts

When delivering presentations, our every glance, gesture, and utterance now has the capacity to be filmed. As Prince Harry has discovered, where there’s a person there’s a phone, where there’s a phone there’s a camera, and where there’s a camera there’s the World Wide Web.

Should we therefore ban phones and their little cameras from the theatre?  No we shouldn’t.  As Joe Waters demonstrates in his piece “10 Ways to Use Smartphones in Presentations”, there are great ways to get all those little toys working in your favor.

It’s a new world. Mobile devices in presentations are here to stay.

We can choose to ignore this fact, but if we do then we’ll simply be burying our little ostrich heads into the sand and with all those phones in the room someone is only going to photograph our bottoms and stick them on the web!

I think the interesting question is not the challenge presented by the audience member who uses a phone to distract themselves. The challenge is presented instead by the audience member who uses their phone to pay the closest attention possible and videos all the key bits of our presentation.

In the past that would have made us unhappy about the potential for loss of Intellectual Property. I’ve certainly worked with organizations for whom this would have given their Legal Departments apoplexy.

That however, was in the days when cameras were large beasties mounted on tripods. While today it might still be just about possible to know when someone is taping, tomorrow, it’s going to be almost impossible to detect.

The days of attempting to protect our crown jewels from the camera are just about over.

We need to work under the assumption that our utterances are heading for the internet and our much prized Intellectual Property along with them. Attempts to make it otherwise will be as futile as Royal attempts to ban the Las Vegas pictures from appearing in the UK when they are already all over the net.

In their 2010 book Macrowikinomics, Don Tapscott and Anthony D. Williams argue the advantages of open collaboration in a highly connected world. Whether we like it or not, that openness is now upon us.

Let’s embrace it, let’s collaborate, and by doing so let’s dream up ideas and inspirations that have never been dreamt before.


  1. I recall an interview with a top comedian where they made the comment that it was now very difficult to refine their act. In the past, they would try out new material in small clubs, but if they did it now, the not-ready-for-prime-time jokes would be all over the internet.

    It is a jump from the individual/intellectual property mindset to an open system / global mindset, but I believe that when we get it figured out, there will be huge benefits that we just can’t anticipate or appreciate from our current point of view.

    • You raise a whole new angle Broc: the premature sharing of material not quite finished. That’s one scary thought for any of us that work up on the stage….. Our first performance going broadband!

      There is so much magic that can come about when we share. It would seem we also need to become more trusting not just of others, but of ourselves. To risk making mistakes, and to risk it being public!

      Fire-walk anyone?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: