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The Presentation Evolution

I’m not exactly a longtime industry veteran but I can still go back far enough to remember using a gopher client because I could find more information through it than I could with the first release of Mozilla. Back then, a presentation meant either handwritten notes on transparencies or work with a youthful version of PowerPoint. Lightbulbs are expensive and handwriting can be sloppy so PowerPoint came to dominate.

In the B2B world, the notion of a “presentation” became synonymous with the use of PowerPoint or its Apple companion, Keynote. In fact, the only thing more popular than using these tools to share information was to complain about using these tools to share information. (Tufte fans know what I’m talking about.) All thoughts were massaged into bullet points and savvy data stylists became animation wizards so their information could gracefully glide across the pull-down screen everyone stared at in the dark.

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Grab your favorite search engine and look for “best presentation software”. What you’ll find are primarily attempts to one-up PowerPoint and Keynote. This is a sad state of affairs. Here’s why….

Take a look at the following list. Are these presentations?

  • Curated art exhibit
  • Endless aisle shopping
  • Real estate discovery
  • Tourism recommendations
  • Classroom discussion
  • Television broadcast

Well of course they are. But go back and look at what you found in your search for “best presentation software”. Be honest. Would you use those software options to build anything in my list for in-store, in-classroom, on-the-street, in-the-showroom…..? You get the idea.

And I haven’t even gotten to the whole multi-touch and remote gesture discussion.

This is not PowerPoint’s fault. It was never meant to deliver experiences, just information. The future is about experiences and experiences need to be more than merely slides+.

More about all of this on Friday.

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