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Data Storytelling with the ABT framework

Updated: Aug 24, 2022

MindSpeaking Podcast Episode 2 - Randy Olson, Ph.D. Marine Biology at Harvard University



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Introducing Randy Olson


Gilbert Eijkelenboom: Welcome everybody to the MindSpeaking podcast where we speak about the human side of data. My name is Gilbert Eijkelenboom. And I'm excited about this episode because today we have Dr. Randy Olson on the podcast and I'm really excited because I've been reading his book following his work, and why I'm excited this is because he earned a Ph.D. at Harvard University and became a Professor of Marine Biology. But then he got fascinated with communication of science, and therefore, he moved to Hollywood for a second career as a filmmaker, and now he's combining the two, the science, the science background, and the communication by writing successful books like us, then we have a narrative. And he's also giving workshops about the ABT framework. It's a powerful framework and I use it all the time. In my data stories, LinkedIn posts, and in my communications about my business. I'm very excited to welcome today, Randy Olson.


Randy Olson: Wonderful, great to be here, Gilbert Eijkelenboom


Gilbert Eijkelenboom: I'm located in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, a wonderful city. We're very far I'm starting the evening here and you just woke up with a coffee mug you just showed me? Yeah. So good morning. To kick it off.




Who was Randy Olson in Highschool?


Gilbert Eijkelenboom: I actually want to start not in the recent years, but let's take us back to some years back because I'm curious. Can you tell us a bit more about your childhood what type of person was threatened the Olsen in high school?


Randy Olson: God what a bad idea. It was a total waste of human existence. Lead right off. Outer neighborhood. Nobody is one of my buddies likes to say not amounting to much of anything so it really nothing good to remember from childhood and Junior High in high school. years. I think I went off to college with one preoccupation which was to consume as much alcohol as possible. But actually, also a second thing, which was to travel a lot get out there. So from actually from even when I was in high school, I think when I was 15 I was constantly trying to get my friends grew up in Kansas, in the suburbs, Kansas City, trying to get everybody says we got our driver's license. So let's go take some driving trips. And we did a couple of crazy trips down to Texas and Mexico, things like that. So I think there are actually there are things to be learned from my background, which is that I did have this. This preoccupation with experience, which I've come to learn is at the core of effective storytelling and communication, things like that. In fact, that's what we're learning in the training that we're doing now is that it's really hard for young people who don't have the experience yet to be able to use narrative narratives. The most powerful means we have for communication is the narrative structure which comes with age and experience. So we find that much to our surprise. It's the older people, they get this stuff at the deepest level. And then there's an age where younger people start to get it but youngest folks, it blows by them, for the most part. Got to gather age and experience. There's a famous anecdote you know, as you mentioned, I left and went to film school at the University of Southern California. And I will say the punchline to this anecdote was a cleaned-up version so that I don't offend your viewers but famous movie director, John Houston, a legendary director, the 1940s and 50