Lloyd Dangle, Strategic Consultant
Cool Tools Show 263: Lloyd Dangle
Our guest this week is Lloyd Dangle. Lloyd is a business strategist who works with senior leaders from major companies to help them design their strategies for the future. He works for Amazon Web Services and has led strategy sessions with leaders from over 150 companies in 69 industries. He’s unusual for a business strategist in that he’s also a professional cartoonist. His comic strip, Troubletown, ran for decades in the alternative press, he designed the original packaging for Airborne health formula, and, most famously, he drew a comic strip for the first issue of Wired Magazine. You can find Lloyd at lloyddangle.com.
Magic Gridboard ($50)
This is an electrostatic dry-erase surface that comes in 25-foot rolls of perforated sheets. It instantly turns any wall into a whiteboard and any room into an innovation lab! In non-pandemic times I use this so I can start drawing at a moment’s notice any time day or night. CEOs are astonished by it. It’s the ultimate tool that is a cross between a post-it and a whiteboard. I can walk around with one of these rolls and go into a meeting and roll it out on the wall in two seconds and I’ve got a whiteboard and it accepts permanent markers as well as dry erase markers. I do this in my strategy work all the time. And in fact, in my team, we will build out a whole room with foam core walls and then we’ll cover the entire room in this stuff, so that the entire place is a whiteboard. And then we lead groups of business leaders through a series of conversations and we capture it all in colorful pictures. So I live with this stuff. I love it. I use it every day.
The best web-based tool for making a font out of your handwriting — or dingbats or anything you might want to make into a font. I like handwritten texts because it feels human and it gives people the idea that they’re able to join in. It’s not as set in stone as typography, but there are times when it’s better to have something that’s a font. You put it into a document or like one time I was asked to hand letter an entire legal disclaimer on a video that I was working on. And I was like, “We should use a font for this because the font will make it a little bit more regular and easier to read as a block of text.” Handwritten lettering doesn’t work so great when you get past a certain number of lines. So having a font that’s made from your handwriting, gives you the best of both worlds. And what’s super cool about this Calligraphr website, is that it allows you to add a certain level of randomization of the characters. So when you look at a paragraph that’s this handwritten font, it has enough variation that it still looks handwritten, even though it’s operating as a font.
Empathy Map Thinking Tool
This is not a physical tool but a thinking tool that I use in my strategy work. I didn’t make this up. This actually comes from a man named Scott Matthews, who has a company called Tremendousness, and it’s quite widely used. And it’s a tool that doesn’t really require anything except paper and a pen. It’s a thinking tool and it’s an exercise and it really is like a magic trick. If you’re working with an individual or working with a group, it will transform their thinking from judgment to empathy. And it takes about 15 minutes to half an hour and super powerful. It uses a visual template and allows a group of people to shift and deepen their perspective on a person, or persons. Here’s a pdf I put together with a template and prompts for how to run an empathy map exercise. Also, the Empathy Map is described on page 65 of one of my favorite books of thinking exercises, Gamestorming, by Dave Gray, Sunni Brown, and James Macanufo.
Fish Spatula ($12)
I love to cook and I love to make fish. And I usually will make a salsa that I put on top of fish and cut up some herbs and stuff and onions and make something nice. And a fish is nice and friendly when it’s raw, it’s rubbery, and you could use any kind of spatula like the spatula that you would use to flip a hamburger, but after it gets cooked, it loses all of it’s structural integrity. So this spatula will allow you to make that maneuver beautifully and it lands on the plate and it keeps everything together and it looks beautiful. And it’s an odd spatula because it’s got more space in it than it does have spatula. It’s like an elongated racket and it’s about 6″ long, the spatula part of it, whereas your normal hamburger flipping spatula is about 4″ long and it allows that delicate, unstructured material to bend and sway a bit with it. And so, it’s really an interesting technology.
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