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Count On Us When Countdown Begins (VIDEO)


His title might say president, Pittsburgh Foundation, but in his heart Grant Oliphant, a former chair of the Communications Network, is still every bit of a communicator (and a damn fine storyteller.)

A case in point: late last year, Oliphant was a featured presenter at Tedx Pittsburgh.  His talk was a meditation on “countdown,” a word which  didn’t appear in the English language until 1952.  Back then, it referred to the process popularized by NASA of counting backwards from 10 to a rocket launch.  Today, though, the world usually means marking progress toward “a particular moment in time…a countdown to war…a countdown to summer.”

To Oliphant, the word countdown should have a different meaning to those of us in the business of building a better world. He thinks we would be better served to regard countdown as a reminder that we don’t have unlimited time to accomplish our work.

I agree. In fact, I’d argue that his talk should remind all of  us in communications that words not only matter, but more so in the context they’re used. Also, who better than people who work in communications to help their organizations amplify the message that the work they do and causes they support are extremely urgent and there’s much yet to be done before the clock runs out.

When the countdown begins, count us in.

–Bruce Trachtenberg

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