I’m Ready for Preso 2.0

3.3 Billion Mobile PhonesI spent Thursday and Friday attending WebVisions here in beautiful Portland at the Oregon Convention Center.

I really enjoyed the event; it was a nice change of pace from the massive events I usually attend at Moscone Center in San Francisco. The content was just as good, but it had a more cozy feel. Very Portland, just like we like it.

I attended the following sessions and found them all useful. As with most conferences, the slide from the presentations are available online, and I’ve included links. So, you can review the content if you want.

One really interesting thing I noticed, at least from an enterprise perspective, reinforces what I saw at Web 2.0 Expo. Presentations from Web 2.0 people totally rock.

When I present, I usually have a boatload of content that I’m worried I’ll forget. So, I cram as many bullets into a slide as I can. Then, I proceed to read off the slides. Fail.

I’ve taken the classes, and I know this isn’t the optimal way to present. Still, I’m a lazy guy, and it’s nice to have slides “to talk to”; well, apparently, it’s better to talk to your audience.

The presentations I’ve seen at Web 2.0 Expo and WebVisions are awesome. They’re basically photo slideshows with some minimal captions for emphasis. This makes for a very different experience than a typical bullet-fest like I tend to produce.

Instead of speed-reading the bullets while the presenter talks, trying to absorb both simultaneously, these presentations show you an image with minimalist captions. Personally, I find this very effective. The “picture is worth a thousand words” aphorism combined with the presenter’s words is memorable and visually pleasing.

I’ll use Jason Grigsby as an example here, since he’s one of my Twitter pals. His presentation had some awesome information about the mobile web, e.g. there are 3.3. billion mobile phones on the planet, more than double the number of televisions, more than four times the number of cars, something Puneet has alluded to previously.

I highly recommend reviewing Jason’s preso, embedded below; nice segue into another point about Web 2.0 presenters. They all make their slides available online, most for sharing and embedding.

More importantly, the presentation of the information was interesting and visually stimulating. Plus, this is a great Web 2.0 case study, since many of the images used in these presentations are from Flickr and are available for use under Creative Commons. So, people who took sweet pictures get recognition in forums they never imagined.

On the other hand, most enterprise presentations are less visually interesting. For a hilarious parody of more classic business school presentations, check out Chicken Chicken Chicken by way of Billy Cripe.

From now on, I’m going to try to balance the corporate template with interesting content. I think my audiences will appreciate it; at least they’ll have something interesting to look at while I drone on and on about New Web.

Blah blah blah.




  1. Hi Jake,

    Thanks for the kind words about my presentation. I consciously try to minimize the number of bullet points. But even in this presentation, there was some information that had to be conveyed in bullet points. Sometimes they are unavoidable.

    But the main thing I try to do is make sure my presentations have a story. The slides have to have a narrative arc.

    I also believe passion and enthusiasm are important. If you're passionate about your topic, your audience will become engaged in what you are saying.

    Friday night I got the opportunity to thank Jeffrey Veen for inspiring me with his presentation from five years ago at Web Visions. Since then, I've been trying to be half as good of a presenter as he is. He wrote about his thoughts on presentations here:

    Thank you again for attending the session. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

  2. Thank you for an interesting presentation. The stats floored me; mobile is one of those things I've known about since NTT DoCoMo burst on the scene during the Bubble.

    But since our wireless networks have lagged so much, the promise of mobile web has been like a unicorn. Pictures like this one that Puneet took in India bring the point home.

    We don't have running water, but we have cell service.

    Jensine Larsen's session brought that point home too, i.e. mobile web is everywhere, albeit in a different context.

    Thanks for the presentation tips. Although even with some work, I pity people who choose to torture themselves with my content.

  3. Jake,

    Would you come to my place of work? We use PowerPoint as a database, i.e. all of our metrics are in there and the executive staff spend an inordinate amount of time updating for each meeting. It's kind of funny to see IT people using PP (that's funny) as a database.


  4. Ha, that's funny. I never thought to use PowerPoint as a database. My presos are boring; you should invite guys like Jason to present. They have way better skills.

  5. There's the classic that goes back to the days of photo slide presentations, you have one in upside down to make sure the audience are paying attention and then one of you on a beach, with shorts and shades on – “Oops how did my vacation snap get in there?”. Everyone laughs/groans then back to the charts, tables of numbers and bullets.

    These days I try to put lots of pictures in my presentations and I even did a Google Earth fly over of all the locations where people attending my web conference where located, while I talked global team working. I feel I have to try and keep things interesting, if only to give myself more enthusiasm in the presentations.

  6. You have to be more interesting based on your topics 😉

    Good presentations are hard to do, remembering the content and stringing together an interesting story. I need lots of work beyond just my slides.

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