Slide design: signal vs. noise (redux)
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Slideshare announces cool slide contest

Slide Earlier this week announced their "World's Best Presentation Contest." They are offering some pretty cool prizes such as a laptop computer for the 1st prize, some Xboxes, and some iPods. People can vote on their favorite slide decks; the top vote getters will receive iPods. The "World's Best Presentation" winners will be decided by Slideshare and the four judges, Guy Kawasaki, Bert Decker, Jerry Weisman, and myself. Context is obviously important so take note of this section in the upload instructions:

While uploading the presentation file, you should tell us something about it in the description section. This will give the voters and judges some context as to your presentation. Specifically, tell us which of the below options describes how your presentation was or is meant to be used. "PowerPoint Deck as Leave Behind" OR "In Person Presentation Support" OR "Both" OR "Other".

I think "other" could mean the slideshare viewer itself. That is, you could rework your slides so that they are as clear and meaningful as possible on their own for online viewing and also take advantage of the slideshare features. I've talked a lot about slideumentation and the problem of trying to make visuals that are also meant to be handouts, this usually does not work very well. But you are free to be as creative as you can within the limitations of Slideshare, so why not experiment and see how powerful a message you can convey using the limited tools before you. I'm looking forward to seeing something great!




I think it's a good idea for both slideshare and us.

I'm going to join this contest soon.:)


Hi Garr,
I was finding it a little odd - that you were judging the world's best "presentation" contest on Slideshare - when you yourselves had used Slideshare's example to differentiate between slides and presentations. But here you are calling it a "slide contest" :)- The fine print does clears things up a bit. And irrespective - Slideshare is definitely a great product.


I agree with Ashish. without a presenter , a presentation would lack the grace . Maybe there could be an option of having a recorded audio clip uploaded alongwith the ppt.

Garr Reynolds

>>I was finding it a little odd - that you were judging the world's best "presentation" contest on Slideshare<<

Hi Ashish,

Yes, I was mildly critical in this post last December ( ).I stand by my words, but please note that I also said at that time that it was early days and that Slideshare may develop into something quite remarkable over the years. I have a feeling that it will...and I hope it does, even if it isn't there yet. I have a lot of respect for the Slideshare team; they're smart people. I think it says a lot too that they asked me to judge even though they were aware of my earlier comments. I do not have any inside info, but I would bet that many other useful functions will be added in future.

How about if we looked at Slideshare as a kind of "third space." That is, it (your uploaded slides to Slideshare) are not the slides you used in the presentation, they are not the handout you distributed at the presentation, and instead your Slideshare slides try to tell the story in some sort of different way that combines images and text. Perhaps your Slideshare slides are a kind of commercial that draws people in and points them to your book or document (e.g., research paper) or live presentation coming up downtown or posted on Youtube, etc. Anyway, as I said, it's early days so let's see how people use it in future.

BTW, this is my account:

I just uploaded some slides by Kathy Sierra that she made available as a PDF (probably from Keynote). For those who have Keynote and not ppt, the PDF function is very cool.


Hey Garr,

I have to absolutely agree with you that Slideshare has a great team - and in my understanding they are working on addressing the issues you had mentioned earlier.

The third space usage would be interesting - but I wonder how many would go through the effort of redoing their slides (which were supposed to support a talk) - for slide-only internet distribution. In Powerpoint - one can add text notes to each slide. I wonder if Slideshare includes these - that would be the quickest enabler of the third space - or perhaps a note addition feature on Slideshare itself.

Also, I tried uploading a .pdf - one issue is that if it is not a 4:3 aspect ratio (I uploaded a A4 document) it resizes it to fit the 4:3 space - and has no zoom function - (though one can use the Zoom In feature of the Flash player).

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