November 20, 2015

Behind the curtain: The Big Debate Showdown – Speak Up, Speak Out

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‘Speak Up, Speak Out’ is an internal meet-up-style forum for Odecee team members to practice their presentation skills.

Or so its organisers claim. Since my previous exposé on this shady assemblage and their suspiciously superior speech-making, it seems they’ve further ramped up their plans to assume global control. How? Through respectful, regulated debate in a relaxed and supportive environment. Diabolical.

Today, they kicked off their Machiavellian scheme with what many are calling ‘the showdown of the century’. In front of a record-breaking crowd, two Odecee virtuosos of verbosity faced off in a Thunderdome-style debate.

Two men enter, one man leaves feeling smug.

debate poster

The titans on display were our Digital Practice Lead Patrick, and our Head of Delivery Michael. The topic? ‘Life was better before smart phones’. In a room full of mobile experts and tech enthusiasts, this was a subject bound to stir up some strong opinions…

To gauge the ups and downs of the audience as they faced this emotional rollercoaster, Daniel Proud debuted one of our recent Sprout ideas – ACARA, a tool that helps presenters track audience sentiment in real time. Think the election debate ‘worm’ but better, and – ahem – used on a smart phone. Because life was definitely NOT better before ACARA, its introduction gave rise to an awkward feeling in the room that the debate may have already been won before it had begun… Nonetheless, our determined orators forged bravely ahead!

First to step up to the plate was Patrick – a seasoned debater putting his rep on the line. On the side of the affirmative, Pat opened with a statistic: “46% of people think life was better before smart phones”. 38% of people in the room wondered where he got the stat from; 44% were taking selfies at the time and missed the whole thing.

Pat’s arguments were detailed and comprehensive; smart phones make us less patient, less likely to enjoy ‘living the moment’ and less capable of independent thought. They distract us, rob us of life’s unpredictable adventures and mess with our health.

Everyone in the room nodded in furious agreement and immediately picked up their smart phones to share Pat’s points with their Twitter followers. #DUMBphones

For the negative, Michael – a plucky debating newcomer with something to prove – fought back with his own statistic: 89% of people in Australia now have smart phones. In fact, globally, smart phones have been adopted more rapidly than any technology, ever; if they’re making our lives so bad, he asked, why do we all want them so much?

Michael made a strong case, citing convenience, access to information and the rise of disruptive mobile-based business models as reasons why the smart phone is our friend. He pointed out that without smart phones, a significant number of people in the room would be out of a job. Everyone shifted uncomfortably in their seats.

He cited a World Bank study that found foreign aid investment in mobile technology and Internet was three times more likely to break the cycle of generational poverty in developing countries than investment in food and shelter. In a final audacious move, he proposed an update to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs:

The man has some serious Microsoft Paint skills…

The man has some serious Microsoft Paint skills…

Rebuttals were made, recriminations were sidestepped and teeth were gritted. Ultimately, it was up to the people to decide the champion.

The audience voted via a customised online poll; it was a close race, but in the end the majority – seemingly oblivious to the irony of casting their vote via their mobile devices – chose Pat (the positive) for the win. Reputation intact and with feigned humility, the veteran took home the coveted trophy:

Definitely NOT the Odecee 2014 Go-Kart Champion trophy with a hand-written sign stuck over the top of it

Definitely NOT the Odecee 2014 Go-Kart Champion trophy with a hand-written sign stuck over the top of it

Keep an eye out for that kid Michael, though – he’s definitely one to watch.

As for the Speak Up, Speak Out crew – they’re busy training their new army of soldiers specialising in the skill of polite discourse. Already they’ve signed up a gang of Odecee debating recruits. Stay tuned for exclusive coverage of the next Debate Showdown – to defeat them, we must first understand them…

 

(To all the smart phones out there – who are we kidding?! We love you. Let’s never fight again.)

 

Categorised in: About Odecee

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