Caricaturing Economists

I was at the?Legg Mason Thought Leader Forum last week, talking about my research over recent years on?prediction markets.? It was good fun, but the real novelty was that as I was speaking – literally, in real time – there was a cartoonist next to the stage, cartooning my talk on a five-foot-wide poster.? I’ve never seen this before, but it was a real hit.

As a speaker, it can be hard to organize your own thoughts even when you know what is coming next.? And as an audience member, it can be harder still to sort out the key points a speaker makes from their conversational asides.? But the artist – Christopher Fuller who works for Sente Corporation– was just amazing.? He not only picked out the important analytic insights, but found an incredibly useful way to represent them, cartooning (or perhaps caricaturing) my message.

I think this is a great idea, and it will serve as a useful reminder to those who heard the talk.? And if you weren’t there, hopefully this cartoon gives you some sense of what I had to say.

Now if only I could get my MBA students to do the same thing, they would all have a wonderfully entertaining set of notes to study in advance of their exams.? I would love to see a study figuring out whether it helps them retain the material.? I bet it would.

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  1. Nikki says:

    Right, just like RSA Animate. Not sure it enhances perception: the speed-drawing process is so fascinating it distracts from the content. Not a big deal when watching the videos since they are a pleasure to replay, but when you can’t rewind the speech, distractions are unwelcome.

    Then again, with someone as charismatic as Professor Wolfers in front of the audience’s eyes, the cartoonist’s efforts likely went unnoticed by many anyway.

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  2. Marc Fuller says:

    I just wanted to say that Christopher Fuller is my brother! He’s living proof that ignoring your teachers and doodling in class pays off in the long run.

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  3. Daniel Rose says:

    I have often had graphic recorders capturing my presentations and I welcome the “distraction” that the recorders provide because it means that the audience is absorbing the content on more than one sensory level. The audience may not have eyes on me the whole time but at the end of the talk they’ve absorbed more information than if the graphic recorder wasn’t there.

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  4. Tish J says:

    I saw a video of a lecture on – interestingly enough – learning styles that had someone do exactly what you describe. What I thought was the most interesting aspect was how engaged I became in the lecture. By adding this visual depiction of the lecture, I listened more and paid more attention to the important points, which the artist captured quite cleverly. I would highly recommend hiring someone like this whenever you have to give an important talk and you want to be sure that the attendees really “get it”!

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