The mesmerized audience

I’ve sat in tons of audiences at tons of conferences this year. I’ve noticed a trend that I first noticed at Gnomedex: more and more people are sitting on their computers or Blackberries. Some people have decried this as the inattention of an audience that should be paying attention on stage.

I say that’s hogwash. If you want us to pay attention do something worthy of paying attention to.

Yesterday I watched as an audience of several hundred put down their Blackberries, turned off Twitter, and became transfixed on what they were hearing. It was so quiet you could hear a pin drop almost the entire time.

It was magical. It was an experience I LOVED as an audience member. I didn’t feel like talking back. The only thing I wanted to do was tell everyone else about it.

What was the talk? By photographer Franz Lanting. He’s worked for the National Geographic for years, among other projects.

I can’t do it justice in 10,000 words. You’ve simply got to watch it. It was part of Microsoft’s Pro Photo Summit that’s going on now (I filmed most of the first day on my channel).

Franz is a master story teller. There are very few in the world who are at this level. I’m simply in awe, even 24 hours later. It’s unfortunate that I didn’t have my HD cameras to film this, but since Franz lives a few miles away from me we’ll definitely go and film him again soon.