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Playing around with Expansive, a cloud based, collaborative, whiteboard app

April 1st, 2015 · Comments Off

Sketchnotes of the Initiafy pitch

I recently tested out a social whiteboarding app called Expansive, creating real-time sketchnotes during pitches by startups. The pitches were delivered at a Digital Irish event, a regular meetup of Irish expatriate tech entrepreneurs in NYC.

Expansive is an iPad app, which is designed for multiple collaborators to contribute at once. In this case I was working on my own. I added a few touches afterward, but most of what you see here was done as the speakers presented. I projected my iPad screen as I worked, so people could see the notes develop as I created them. Expansive is very easy to use, and a lot of fun. I enjoyed testing out Expansive—if you want to learn more, visit for a free download.

Sketchnotes from Cool in Your Code pitch

Sketchnotes from Jon Axelrod introductory remarks

Sketchnotes from Pocket Anatomy

MatchPad pitch–sketchnotes. This one got away from me a little bit. Expansive lets you zoom in and out as you work, and it has a (theoretically) infinite canvas size. I lost track of my layout in the sketchnotes above in the course of moving around. Next time I might put in a few marks ahead of time to give myself some spacial reference points.

Sketchnotes from Jobbio pitch.

Thanks to Digital Irish for hosting me

Comments OffTags: creativity · entrepreneurship · graphic faciliation · graphic recording · Public Speaking · visual facilitation

Visualizing contentment with Contentment Toons, a new project.

July 17th, 2014 · Comments Off

(Contentment, as simple as flying a kite?)

Like a lot of people, I am often on the lookout for ways to be more content. I cast about me for clues from my own experience. And I pay attention to others’ experiences that I can learn from and apply to my own life to lead a life where I am content. I also read books related to the topic, and try to apply what I learn to my own life. Lately, there has been a lot of research on happiness and related areas. The more I learn, the more interested in the topic I get. Being who I am, I want to turn the concepts I learn about into cartoons, and who knows, maybe into a bigger project. For now, my working title is “Contentment Toons.” Cartoons which attempt to distill and communicate aspects of research about what makes for a contented life. I’ll be posting my rough sketches, observations, and links as I go. Here are a few visuals for now—not finished work, just notes, sketches, thoughts in process. Enjoy! And if you have a good name for this project, let me know. Contentment Toons is just a working title for now.

Many disciplines from Economics to Sociology to Psychology to Anthropology are looking at contentedness. Contentment Toons will try to distill out the key insights and communicate them visually.

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David Pogue and Jonny Goldstein Visualize Photoshop

July 8th, 2014 · Comments Off

David Pogue, the Yahoo Tech commentator, PBS NOVA host, and prolific tech author, brought me in to whiteboard his review of the latest version of Photoshop for a video on Yahoo Tech.

We had a great time making this. Hope you enjoy it!

And for those curious about David, he’s great to work with. Funny, relaxed, but focused on doing great work. Thanks to David and his awesome Yahoo Tech video team for tapping me for this project!

Read the whole article here.

Comments OffTags: building a better talkshow · creativity · drawings · graphic recording · jonny in the media · People Who Rock · video

Come say Hi at (re)Present Yourself: Mastering Visual Communication & Presentations

January 14th, 2014 · Comments Off

(Visual notes from a workshop on using stories for business communication)

Want to learn more about the ins and outs of putting together solid presentations and the importance of visual communication to branding? Or just want to say hi? Register for this free event: (re)Present Yourself: Mastering Visual Communication & Presentations at the Center for Social Innovation in New York City. I will be fielding questions along with Martha Denton. The events Features Nate Cooper of Simple Labs and Richard Burst-Lazarus as moderators. And of course we’ll open it up to your questions. Free beverages and plenty of time for informal mingling as well.

When: Tuesday, January 21, 2014 from 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM (EST)

Info and signup

Comments OffTags: biz · building a better talkshow · entrepreneurship · marketing · Public Speaking · Uncategorized

Nate Cooper of Simple Labs Interviews Me on “How To Use Your Creativity to Make Sense of a Varied Career “

November 21st, 2013 · Comments Off

From Dash Shaped to T-Shaped

Nice interview of me by Nate Cooper of Simple Labs on how I use my visual communication skills to turn my varied career into something coherent, where my varied interests and experiences become an asset to myself and to clients. Read it here: Jonny Goldstein on why it’s OK to be dash-shaped and figure out what you want to do after the fact.

Comments OffTags: creativity · drawings · entrepreneurship · jonny in the media · personal meanderings · self-portraits · Uncategorized

When I Walk: Inspiring Film From Jason DaSilva

September 18th, 2013 · Comments Off

I met Jason Da Silva in 2005 when I was the director of a technology education after school program in the Bronx. He was an award winning film maker, trotting the globe making documentaries. Soon after he was diagnosed with MS. Life isn’t easy for anyone, especially as we get older and realize our own mortality and limits. But most of us are lucky enough to get through our first several decades without an MS diagnoses. Jason, being who he is, decided to make a documentary about his experiences with MS, and through it all has kept living, even as his body betrays him. The movie is getting ready for its first screening now at the Vancouver International Film Festival and it looks so beautiful, painful, and inspiring. To learn more about the film, check out

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What’s next?

July 16th, 2013 · Comments Off


This paper fortuneteller created by a chap who took advantage of the “Drawsome Awesome” station I ran at the 2013 Interaction Design and Children Conference.

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More fun with iPad and Paper App

February 6th, 2013 · Comments Off

Another drawing. Again, created with the Paper app.

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Messing around with Paper App

February 6th, 2013 · Comments Off

Guanajuato, Mexico

Playing around with my new iPad. Used the Paper app, which is my fave so far.

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Ready to Rock the Whiteboard? Workshop, Mon, Nov 19, in Philly.

November 9th, 2012 · Comments Off


Want to Rock the Whiteboard? Listen to what other people have to say about how I helped them rock.

“Very helpful. During the session we found creative solutions to the challenges posed by the path we chose. It was great!”

Carlos Guestrin, Co-founder, Flashgroup

Armed with a shared visual vocabulary, we were able to practice conceptualizing and communicating complex problems. Thanks, Jonny!

Colleen Wheeler, Web Strategist, Wheaton College

I plan to apply what I learned for an upcoming presentation. I would recommend this to anybody who needs to sharpen their communication skills.”

Kathee Kuvee, Technical Writer–Gem Group

“Helped me to “feel” how different it is–more collaborative, more fluid, more generative, less argumentative–to draw as you’re working together to plan or conceptualize a project as opposed to just using words.”

David Wedaman,Director for Outreach, Brandeis University

“Having your coworker draw out the situation will allow you to reflect upon it in a new and more objective way. Take turns and see what you come up with. The reason why this technique works is because it boils down issues to their core parts, forcing you to stay focused. ”

Cat Robinson, Graphic Design Fellow—GovDelivery


Chances are, you are surrounded by whiteboards wherever you work, but do you use them to their fullest potential? Do you ROCK the whiteboard? I can get you rocking with my 1-day workshop.

Who this is for:

This is for anyone who wants to use the power of visualization to:

collaborate better
communicate better

…And think better, using that simple yet powerful tool, the whiteboard.

Why is a whiteboard such a powerful tool?

The humble whiteboard is amazing thing. Using a whiteboard  helps you and your team harness power of images to solve problems and communicate ideas. A couple of things make a whiteboard a particularly fearsome tool for collaboration:

1. It is a shared display. That means a group can look at it at the same time and build a shared understanding.

2. It is as easy to edit, erase, add marks, highlight. That ability to easily modify the contents of the whiteboard invites participation. Your visuals can evolve as your group’s understanding evolves.

3. To quote brain scientist John Medina “You get 3x better recall for visual information than for oral. And you’ll get 6x better recall for information that is simultaneously oral and visual.” A whiteboard lets you present your visual information while you talk, giving whoever you are presenting to that 6x advantage in remembering what you said.
But, but, but…I can’t draw!
I hear this a lot. And the truth is, our culture and educational system does a lousy job building peoples’ drawing skills, and maybe you did not get the coaching you needed to become confident at drawing. Just answer two questions for me: Do you have a hand that is capable of holding a marker? Can you look both ways before crossing the street and then walk across it without getting run over? If you answered yes to these two questions, I can get you over the drawing hump no problem. Using simple shapes and marks, we will be able to whiteboard just about anything by the end of the workshop. This is not about “art.” This is about thinking and communicating.

How is this going to work

The Workshop

1. This is project based. Bring a project you are passionate about and we will apply the power of the whiteboard to help you work on your project.

2. This is social. The real power of the whiteboard is its usefulness as a collaborative tool. You will help other participants visualize their projects and they will help you by visualizing your projects. People working with people=social and social learning=fun + effective.

3. This is hands-on visual listening. The visual part of whiteboarding is one part of the equation, listening is the other part, the hands on creating is another part. When you visually reflect someone’s ideas for them by really listening and then turning that into something on visual the whiteboard, they will love it, and vice versa when they return the favor.

4. We will do a lot of listening, drawing, and presenting

After the workshop:

You will take home my booklet covering the techniques and approaches that we use during the workshop


It takes repetition to really learn something. I am giving you the opportunity (should you choose to take it) to lock in your learning by giving you seven days of homework which I will give you feedback on. Simple 15 minute assignments that you will draw and then post to our…

Online Group:

Enroll in the post-workshop online discussion group where you can post your homework, ask questions, give and get feedback. I will be there chiming in. The group will be active for two weeks after the workshop, just to lock in the learning.

Class size limit: 12 people, max. I want to give you individualized feedback, so I’m keeping the workshop small.

Lunch! Busy brains and bodies gotta eat! Lunch and snacks will be supplied.

Startup Weekend Pittsburgh
(That’s me. Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty. )
And Who the Heck Is Jonny and What Qualifies Him to Teach This?

I am what is called a “Visual Practitioner,” someone who works with people and companies to do things better through harnessing the power of visual thinking. I wear a few hats. For one of my hats, I help turn conferences into powerful learning experiences by drawing huge illustrated notes in real time of the ideas bouncing around the room. Clients from Stockholm to Vegas engage me to help their conference participants have powerful learning experiences.

Another hat I wear is my teacher hat. For the last two years I have been teaching workshops in the Masters of Design (MID) program at University of the Arts called “Hands on Visual Listening” that helps those students use collaborative visualizing to work better with their clients and each other.

One last hat: pitch visualizer for startups. That means I help startups visualize their pitches to funders by interviewing them and whiteboarding our conversation as we talk. That helps them “see” their value proposition and visualize how to communicate that value to potential funders. Clients include InsuranceZebra (which just got $1.5 in funding. High five!) and Alphalab, Pittsburgh’s premiere tech company incubator.

OK, I lied, one more thing: I love fostering learning communities! And I love Co-working! And I love Indy Hall. I was proud to be part of the Indy Hall community before I moved to Pittsburgh, and still make it a point to stop by when I am in town. That’s why I am so excited about doing this workshop at Indy Hall on Nov. 19.

Sounds great! Can we talk numbers here for a second?

Sure. The daylong workshop, lunch, resource booklet, homework assignments, and two weeks of online community sharing is is just $129 for Indy Hall members and $179 for the general public. That is less than half the cost of comparable workshops.

What’s the catch?

So what’s the catch? I want to use this workshop to help me promote future workshops. That means I (or someone I contract with) may be taking photos and possibly video during the workshop with an eye toward using said photos and video to promote future workshops. That means that media of you and your whiteboard work may be shared online, in print, and in other media. Of course some people are happy to get exposure and share this way, so this may be a bonus! So if you are OK with people possibly seeing you and your whiteboard work, and want to take advantage of the learning, then jump on in! And if not, I look forward to catching you at a future event.

My guarantee: I am so confident you will find the workshop useful and valuable, if you take the workshop, do all the homework (these are 7 brief assignments the two weeks after the workshop), and feel like you did not get your money’s worth, I will refund your money, no questions asked.

So, are ready to Rock the Whiteboard?

If so, sign up via the link below.

Yes, I’m ready to ROCK the whiteboard!

Once you have signed up, I will send you a quick questionnaire so I can learn more about you (and your lunchtime dietary preferences) and I’ll see you at 9:30, Monday, November 19 in the workshop room at Indy Hall. Supplies will be provided. Bring a camera (or camera phone) so you can document your work!

When: 9:30AM-4:30PM Monday, Nov 19.

Where: Indy Hall in their new workshop room.

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22 North 3rd St
Philadelphia, PA 19106

Questions? Email me at jonny (at) or give me a call 646-209-7204.

Comments OffTags: biz · coaching · drawings · entrepreneurship · graphic faciliation · indy hall · making the world a better place · People Who Rock · Public Speaking · teaching · Uncategorized · visual facilitation