We’ve often stated there is no such thing as the “CloudAve View”, only the views of individual authors, and we encourage debate even within our own team. The one thing we all agree in is that debate is good. In that spirit I offer some counterpoints to Ben’s post:
Please start reading there, as I won’t repeat his key points.
I believe Ben focuses almost exclusively on delivery of the presentation – and yes, I agree, you are well advised to have a Plan B if you’re presenting online at a conference.
But first of all you have to create the presentation, and that’s more often than not a collaborative process. I’m not just throwing in buzzwords: whether you actually create it together, need approvals or just feedback, chances are the process involves a a number of contributors and multiple iterations.
I just had such an experience yesterday – actually it was just an attempt, as my friend’s original could not be successfully converted from Apple’s Keynote into PowerPoint or any format a Windows-slave like yours truly would be able to work on. So we gave up. And it’s not just Mac-to-Win – a year ago I described the conundrum of reviewing a CEO friend’s VC presentation. The process involved multiple conversions back and forth between different releases of the same Microsoft product, PowerPoint:
I reviewed and commented on it, and as an aside noted that the fonts and the text alignment were way off on a page. He did not see the text problem on the version I sent back. Then came a second round of conversions and emails. It became apparent that no matter what we do we always end up seeing different layouts – so much for the MS to MS conversion – so we just focused on content, and I sent back the revised version. It took a while… hm, no wonder, the PPT deck that started it’s life as a 2MB file first became 5, then 7, finally 9 Megabytes. Wow!
It’s simply easier if all contributors work on the one-and-only Master Copy of the presentation. I guess this is what Ben refers to as “digital-asset-management style”, but it’s a lot more than that. Yes, I understand the plateau of the process is the (public) delivery, which takes 10-15 minutes – but hours, days, weeks go into preparation, so don’t underestimate the importance of easy collaboration. In fact for all I care, you can export your online presentation offline, even to PPT, just to be on the safe side. (But then again – click on the image above.)
Talk about which, I actually believe the online tools are no longer rough-and-ready, lighweight ones, you can pretty much create a professional presentation sans the transition effects, animation or music. In other words you can create a Kawasaki-compliant preso online, and for most business situations that should suffice.
Then there are those situations where you just have to dazzle. When you enter the club that can charge $80K for a speech, you do want to dazzle. Although by then you won’t be making your preso’s there will be a pro production team behind you.
For everyone else, here’s a tip to dazzle: try Prezi. Yes, it is online only, but (online and offline, see comments) the Prezi team did to presentations what Google did to email: throw away all pre-existing notions, re-think why and how we use email (presentations) and built something from scratch. That’s how you build something that truly dazzles.
Of course that brings up the question of just how much you want to dazzle: I see Prezi a great tool for superstar freelancers, small groups, but not in the corporate world: too much “undoing”, too steep learning curve. Oh, well…
Enough said… here’s a Cloudy preso for you to enjoy, from CloudAve: