Now on Twitter—and praise for Anne-Marie Concepción, the Vin Scully of lynda.com

Automated Workflows now has a company account on Twitter: @scriptsmatter

It's my first venture into Twitter-dom, and I owe many thanks to Anne-Marie Concepción. Her excellent Twitter for Business course at lynda.com was very helpful. I’ve viewed several of Anne-Marie’s courses over the years, and they were all outstanding.

Anyone who has followed Anne-Marie’s career at Seneca Design, InDesignSecrets and elsewhere knows that she is extremely knowledgeable about the publishing world and covers some other fields as well. I’ve seen her give conference presentations on InDesign and would rank her among the best.

Confession: I have a very critical nature. Show me an Apple keynote and I’ll list 20 things which could have been done better. I’m so critical that when I’m leading a seminar I think, “Please, please don’t let there be anyone in the audience like me.” I don’t want to see that person's feedback form.

Still, there are many top-notch presenters and trainers deserving of praise. Among lynda.com authors, Anne-Marie is the best. What makes her so special?

Then I realized…Anne-Marie as the Vin Scully of lynda.com. Yes, I love baseball. And although I’m not a fan of the Los Angeles Dodgers, frequently I will tune into a Dodgers broadcast just to listen to Scully call the game. He’s simply remarkable, broadcasting the entire game solo as opposed to the two- or three-person crews covering most other teams. The rest of the announcers have conversations with each other throughout the game. Somehow Scully manages to have a conversation with the viewer.

That’s what Anne-Marie does at lynda.com: she has a conversation with the viewer. There are some very good lynda.com authors, but it is obvious many are reading from a script. Not so with Anne-Marie. She comes across as having something to share with you—the viewer—and she wants you to know it because it is important, as if she were talking with you at a coffee shop. That's very challenging to do when it is just you and a computer in a recording room.

In general, I find lynda.com a great resource, well worth the monthly fee my business pays. Imagine all the various Mac programs which people ask me to automate. Knowing a program well is just as important as knowing a scripting language. How can I keep track of the ever-changing features?

I could turn to documentation, books and web searches, but the written word often goes to torturous lengths to describe an interface, with long descriptions and screenshots spread across multiple pages. Videos are so much better for this type of learning. What about free videos on YouTube and elsewhere? A few can help, but the lynda.com courses are far more consistent in quality, and the interface has some very helpful features, such as the complete written transcript (love it) and the new ability to save notes.

With all that being said, not everything at lynda.com is great. I can’t recommend the AppleScript course, even as an intro. And the most common problem is authors talking way too fast. As in I've-got-so-much-to-tell-you-but-want-to-keep-this-section-under-x-minutes-so-I-will-cram-in-so-much-that-you-will-retain-almost-nothing. Critical me.

Back to Anne-Marie. I've received nothing but positive feedback when I’ve recommend her courses to others. Don't think she does this well just because she is a natural. A lot of hard work goes into each video course, to say the least. At last count, she appears to have done 22 videos on social media and Adobe products. In my mind, that’s the equivalent of writing 22 technical books. Wow.

I don’t know the inner workings of lynda.com, but I would hope there is some type of internal course for first-time video authors—something every presenter must view before developing a course. If there is such an internal video, by all means it should be done by the best: Anne-Marie Concepción.

Full disclosure: I’ve met Anne-Marie three times at events, and about 10 years ago she was kind enough to make a home-cooked dinner for me and a travel-weary Australian in the land of Chicago. A memorable meal.

-Ray Robertson
ray@automatedworkflows.com