When you are giving presentations, abstraction is your enemy. What do I mean by that? When I say abstractions, I just mean concepts, especially ones you can't visualize what happens when I say think of abandoned property? What does that mean to you? I've asked that question to many people in the past and everyone gave a slightly different answer or just I don't know a little decrepit house that people ran away from. It means different things to different people.
Well, back when I was 23 years old, just out of college, I got a job as a press secretary for a Florida politician. He was the Florida controller. It was a statewide elected position. And he regulated the banks, the security firms, but there was also this tiny little division within the organization, that regulated abandoned property. What that meant was if you had a checking account and you died, you didn't take the money out, it's abandoned. You're not there to get it, no one else claimed it, the bank has to hold it, they have to give it back.
They have to make it publicly available to the state to give back to the rightful owner. Same with security deposits for electricity, energy companies, lighting light companies, they're not allowed to keep that money, they have to give it back. Also in banks, their safety deposit boxes. So if it's 20 years have gone by and no one's come to open the safety deposit box. Then the bank has to make some effort to find someone who is an heir or has a right to that. That's abandoned property as regulated by that particular organization I work for now.
Chances are you're halfway asleep right now you're about to click to the next video bear with me. There is payoff here. So the politician I was working for was trying to get publicity to boost his name, ID to run for reelection in Florida where it's expensive to advertise. In the past, the organization and always just bought a full page ad, everyone's name who is owed property is put in all the major newspapers and they would spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on advertising. And you'd have to look through the newspaper to see if your name was there. And maybe it would get one small little story, print story about two sentences long.
Not much of a PR Bonanza. So I thought to myself, how can we get more mileage out of this? How can we make this more exciting? How can we get more media attention? And I thought the problem was, okay, abandoned property. It's too many.
It's everything. You can't visualize money and A bank account from an old check. You can't visualize it for the safety deposit box, if it's just deeds to property, you can't really visualize that. So I asked the person in charge of abandoned property. What do you have because they actually had a safe where it was and I walked in all kinds of junk. But I asked Harry, what's valuable here and he said, TJ, we've got gold coins.
We've got watches. We've got all sorts of things. We've got diamonds, diamond rings, we got a lot of junk jewelry, a lot of safety. We walked all through this and I thought, how can we get some attention here? And that's when I said, Okay, let's hold a press conference. And all we're going to do is show all the diamond ring because there were dozens if not hundreds of them.
So I asked Harry to just bring from the safe, the diamond rings, the diamond drill. And then I put out a press release, saying, state of Florida wants to give you free diamond rings. And guess what? Every single TV reporter in the capital campaign and all the other reporters came, and it was a slow news day, and it got on every single broadcast. politician thought I was a genius. Well, it wasn't genius.
It's just a matter of not being abstract. Coming up with a specific example that someone can see it, taste it, feel it, touch it. Think about it. People like looking at diamonds. They like talking about diamonds. Nobody sits around and talks about abandoned property.
No one says, hey, let's go to an abandoned property store at the mall. Do you like to go to diamond jewelry stores at the mall. Fast forward a month later. I said you know what? Let's do the same thing. Milk it for more only this time.
Gold coins, rare coins. Basically the same Press release, I just substituted diamonds. For rare coins. We found a couple of 1910, silver dimes and a few things that were valuable, but a lot of other coins, gold coins, other currencies, and we stack them all up for the press. Again, TV coverage, print coverage, a lot of coverage. Fast forward the next month, guess what we did Now, watch is every kind of watch grandfather of watch pocket white, you name it more and more attention by focusing on one thing at a time, one visual.
It allowed us to present our ideas to the media in a way that was frankly more interesting, a little more dramatic, something more relatable. So please keep that in mind. abstraction is your enemy. When you're giving a presentation, whether it's to live audiences or the media, it's better to focus on one thing At a time that people can see, taste, touch, feel that to talk about every single thing under a broad umbrella. Okay, so why do I use that story? Again, I'm a little cautious about that because it makes it sound like I think I'm so brilliant.
So I've got to be. I don't use it that often. For that reason. I have to make sure it doesn't make me sound like I'm the hero of the story, because it's frankly not that brilliant an idea, but no one had done it before, and it generated tons and tons of publicity. I just want people to think about if you're presenting an idea to the media, especially what is visual, you can actually see diamonds you can't see money from a checking account.