Tiny Talks, Explained

Jon Cooper | September 19th, 2023 (Volume 1)
Tiny Talks is a new live event series in Austin, TX where Austin’s most interesting people share their passions, pursuits and experiences through short, timed presentations. Each event features an entirely new and diverse group of presenters, each sharing their own unique stories and interests with a live audience.


Awesome. Okay, so on a Saturday night in February of 2020, I was sitting in the back of Hotel Vegas with two of my closest friends, and I think I was probably two drinks deep when I decided to move to Austin. So that night was so many others before it that I’ve had in this incredible city. I had conversations with friends of friends and complete strangers on all kinds of things. I remember on different occasions talking about repairing classic cars, about designing the sets for TV shows, about the proper way to photograph space, and even getting recommendations for hiking trails when I moved here. And that’s why I wanted to be in Austin. I wanted to be in a place where I had that increased opportunity to have a conversation that I have never had before.

But I realized at some point that I wanted something a little bit more predictable and reliable than just tapping the shoulders of random strangers at bars, and that’s why I created this event. So this event is meant to be a platform for the people of Austin to share, with all of us, that thing that they are really into.

I also think that Austin is a city that is just full of people with some incredible stories to tell, from all different backgrounds, that are onto all kinds of different things. And that combination of the things that people are into and hearing about the unique stories that they have to tell are two of the only things that have helped me personally with something that I’ve struggled with my entire life, which is finding inspiration in staying inspired. I’ve spent so many days of my life just not super jazzed about what I was doing and about life in general. And I haven’t found a long-term solution to that, but I have noticed that when I get to hear from someone whose eyes light up when they talk about that thing that they are really into, or that thing that they went through, that I feel infected by that energy. And even if it only lasts a day, or an hour, or a week, it’s consistent, it’s real, and it always has a positive impact on my overall excitement for life. So that is what the content of these events are supposed to be about. It’s not TED Talks. It’s something a little bit different.

The next thing about these events is the format. So first things first, it’s in the name, all presentations are under 10 minutes. And that’s just because we’re going to have people talking about all kinds of things and not everything is going to be for everyone. So the good news is if this talk is not for you, you only got to wait five minutes and it’s over.

The second thing is the fact that there are visuals for every single talk. There are slides. And I want to do this because I think it’s easier to follow a story when you have a visual for the scenes in which it takes place. I also think that if you’re hearing about something new for the first time, like if you didn’t know what curling was, it might be helpful to see pictures of people doing that in order to better understand it. So that is the second part.

The third part, and probably the quirkiest part of the format, is the fact that, I don’t know if you noticed, there is no clicker in my hands. There is no hidden signal that I’m giving to Jeremy to move the slides. These are all advancing on a predetermined basis for lengths that I had to set up before getting up on stage. So this slide, for example, is meant to play for 25 seconds. Drum roll please. Three seconds is this slide. One second, one second, one second, and 15 seconds. And this is just to make sure that we all stay on time with the length that we set up beforehand, and also to make sure that stories stay on track. They don’t get stuck on some small detail for three minutes, that’s not important.

So those two things, big picture, the content, and the format. My hope is it will create a combination that creates something super special right here in Austin. So with that said, that is an example of a Tiny Talk.

Jon Cooper
Digital PR consultant and agency owner of ten years, event organizer of two.