Here is a sad truth for every working professional out there: meetings are never going to get banned from your daily work day and that means neither are presentations. An average adult, in all probability, has spent days and nights, fretting over certain presentations, stories of which are stuff that nightmares are made of.
The usual way of getting a presentation ready, however, is getting outdated with regular updates to our favorite tools like PowerPoint. There is still some merit in seeking a better way of doing things, making lives easier for an average Joe.
This is where Owen Bossola and Hakim El Hattab come into the picture. These two created a service called Slides, an online service for creating, viewing and collaborating on slideshow presentations. The idea behind creating this service was to bring together all the best elements of discrete presentation management services that already exist, like PowerPoint and SlideShare, and convert it into one hassle free experience.
El Hattab believes that there has always a need for better visual storytelling, and Slides at its core is a tool for exactly that purpose. He adds, “Maybe you get more efficient with Slack, but with sales and marketing and education, there’s all these use cases that require presentation software. People present in a thousand different ways. We just try to tackle all of those.”
El Hattab had developed an open source software technology earlier which was used to create Slides. The due understood the potential of this idea when they realized that developers were using various tools to create presentations but had to code them manually- which was not the most seamless experience. The company continues to contribute to this resource as they go on updating their services with more and more new tools that come in from the community like security and bug fixes. They are aware of the risks involved in building a company on top of an open source software, but they duo remain inspired from various success stories of such applications like Automattic.
Slides is something to be experienced and it is exactly what is expected of it. There are various features and elements that you can use to create a presentation on Slides. You can then share the link to your presentations and watch it play in real time during a meeting. The service also includes a section to add comments but that is still development in progress.
Users of Slides will also be able to embed content from other services into their presentations. Since all these elements of content is played and viewed online, everything is also rendered online. This ensure complex elements are rendered in a hassle free manner without the need for the presenter to download complex, and often extremely heavy, 3D visuals. Additionally, rendering each element online also means that the final product and the presentation can be viewed on various devices. This way, audience can watch the presentation happening in real time from remote locations with an aid of conference calling facilities on their devices such as phones and tablets without having to physically present in one place. The presenter can as usual be swiping his slides on one device, and every audience member in remote locations, will have the same viewing experience.
Since this approach of creating presentations extremely flexible, it is bound to work for Slides as a business proposition. The tools box is actually quite similar to tool boxes on similar presentation creating services although it is made to look quite fresh and exciting. This includes standard features like tools to edit the color schemes, text colors, background formatting and text layouts. The objects on a slide get listed in a grid and hence it becomes easy to import additional content. Users also get access to various in built templates ready for use. These include many that are specially made by the company and others are standard stock slides offered by the company.
The smartphone of the presenter can be used as a combination of a clicker and a note taking application. Additionally the user is also able to advance through the slides and review the notes under each slide.
While the tool sounds like a great application for developers due to its flexibility, it is also targeted towards marketing professionals and any other executive who could need to create presentations on the go. The objective of the service is to make this experience of putting together slides as hassle free as possible for the creator. The frequency at which popular and widely accepted tools like PowerPoint get updates is testament to the size and opportunity of this market. This market also includes a big chunk of consumer segment. Wouldn’t it be great to have this as a tool for giving presentation in schools and colleges as that would mean no need for the user to surf the web for various tools and dealing with license issues like that of PowerPoint. The core of the business for Slides however is going to come from marketing industry, especially in large corporations that are in search of making engaging presentations every day.
No good idea is ever in isolation from competition, and Slides is no different. Companies like Bunkr and Swipe are constant competition. But the Slides team is confident basis their previous experiences that includes a long history of ventures in the content development domain. Bossola was previously working at Thrillist and El Hattab came from a digital company. The aim to succeed by keeping their tools simple, flexible and as widely applicable as possible and win with a scale that is big enough to compete fiercely with and eventually kill PowerPoint.
Slides recently won the Startup Battlefield: Disrupt Cup at Tech Crunch Disrupt SF 2016.