Tag Archive: Guy Kawasaki


We have come a long way from squeaky chalk or worse – finger nails screeching – on messy blackboards.

Mercifully, we have come nearly just as far from scribbling on overhead projectors (RIP).

Alas, we have not come far enough from wasting literally hours-upon-hours by means of “brain storming” with markers on white boards. Please put me out of my misery.

Now it’s time – way past time — to say goodbye to PowerPoints consisting of nothing more than black words on white backgrounds.

Bore me to the max! Gag me with the clicker!

And yet these mind-numbing presentations still exist. Simply adding more black words on the very same white background doesn’t make the message better, just more dazed and confused.

The author of Almost DailyBrett has sat through more PowerPoint briefings than he would care to even think about, and still he admires Microsoft for creating the ultimate for linear presentations. Bill Gates et al. deserve everlasting credit for developing an enduring tool for presenting ideas, explaining research and making recommendations.

Having said that, one has to ask why are PowerPoints so boring way too many times? They don’t have to be, and yet candidates for major positions, pitch men and women are still using this incredible tool in the most tired, lethargic and desultory ways possible.

Does the candidate really want the job? Do you really want to make the sale? Do you really want to convey an exciting new idea?

If the answer is affirmative, then why are you scratching the surface in what PowerPoint can do for you … and more importantly for the audience?

The Steve Jobs Cult

During Steve Jobs’ way-too-short presence on the planet, he and his company Apple developed a cult following. MacWorld presentations were akin to a spiritual revival. The audience literally gasped when the high priest of global technology held up the iPhone, iPad, iPod for all to see and admire for the first-time.

It was the Kodak Moment on digital steroids.

Steve’s PowerPoints were anything, but complicated … and that works beautifully in a complex world that yearns for simplicity.

There is the iPhone and the Mac. Can there be a new gadget in between? Well yes, there can be. It’s called the iPad. Simple message, well delivered.

The PowerPoint was not bright white with black words, but a black background with images and well-timed words, and most importantly … not too many words.

Venture Capitalist Guy Kawasaki has heard more business-pitch presentations than any human should have to endure. Sure, he gets paid extremely well. Regardless, he is mortal and every minute spent listening to a boring presentation is a minute lost.

He will always have a soft-spot in the heart of the author of Almost DailyBrett for conceiving the 10-20-30 rule: 10 slides, 20 minutes, 30-point font (or above).

The impressive thinking behind the 10-20-30 rule is straight-forward: If you can’t put forward a robust and well-crafter business plan in 10 slides, you don’t have a workable business plan.

The 20-minute rule takes into account the attention span of the average listener, which may be shrinking as you read this missive. People get restless quickly. They want to check their messages on their smart phone. They want to ask questions. They are wondering when is it ‘my turn’?

The 30-point-font or above recommendation is meant to ensure the poor soul in the back of the room can see the presentation. More important is the “tyranny” of the 30-point font because it forces the presentation developer to reduce the number of words. There is just so much PowerPoint real estate.

A Good Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words

Studies have shown conclusively that we are drawn to pictures, illustrations, pie and bar charts. Who can’t love a bar chart that goes upwards to the right with a CAGR line (Compounded Annual Growth Rate) guiding the way ?

In particular, we can quickly access JPEGs or compressed image files through Google Images to add to our PowerPoints. Every presenter should seriously consider incorporating one image (“Art”) into every slide to maintain audience attention.

An added bonus of a JPEG per page is it forces an economy of words. As Martha would say, “It’s a good thing.”

Our PowerPoint backdrops can be different colors. Almost DailyBrett is a big fan of royal blue and black because the words and images literally explode off these backgrounds.

Maybe we want to incorporate video into our presentations? We can drop the video URL into our presentation, and literally play it from there. Keep in mind for a major presento, you want to ensure your video works the first time, every time.

Let’s see: Incorporating the 10-20-30 Rule. Less words. JPEGs, Dynamic backdrops. Video and absolutely no black words on plain white backdrops. Sounds like a winner to little ole me.

Not everyone can be a Steve Jobs or Elon Musk, but everyone has the potential to hold an audience’s attention for upwards of 20 minutes even in our always-on, digital texting world. We can do all of this if we think of ourselves more like Michelangelo painting the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel and less Albert Einstein at the chalk board.

https://office.live.com/start/PowerPoint.aspx

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ndnmtz8-S5I

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2013/10/30/the-wisdom-of-the-10-20-30-rule/

https://guykawasaki.com/guy-kawasaki/

http://whatis.techtarget.com/fileformat/JPG-JPEG-bitmap

 

 

 

We gotta flip the script on what a gangsta is – if you ain’t a gardener, you ain’t gangsta.” – South Central Los Angeles community gardener/TED Talk sensation Ron Finleyfinley

Everyone still talks about Steve Jobs.

And why wouldn’t they? He invented the Apple II, Macintosh PC, first modern laptop, iPod, iPhone, iPad and iCloud before the Grim Reaper came-a-calling way too early. Heck, he was born only 18 days before little ole me, but accomplished oh-so-much more in his lifetime … kind of humbling.

From a communications standpoint, Jobs also pioneered (or was generally given credit for) the speaking style consisting of an iconic black turtleneck, ill-fitting jeans, tennis shoes, a lavaliere microphone, clicker/pointer, absolutely no speaker notes and of course, a professorial PowerPoint presentation.

Advanced Apple class was in session and you were lucky to attend.

Will Jobs go down in history as one of the greatest-ever orators? Probably not.

Were his audiences (e.g., Macworld) almost cult-like in their devotion of everything and anything, Apple? Is Pope Francis, Catholic?

And yet his presentations worked, and they worked big time.jobswithipad

The Steve Jobs-presentation method was a welcome departure from the stale, dry, boring, tried-and-true (usually an) hombre in a Brooks Brothers suit with a white shirt and red tie standing behind a podium and worst of all, reading to an audience. The real question each and every time with this tired approach is whether the listeners stop listening before the speaker stops speaking?

Better take the “under” on that bet.

The author of Almost DailyBrett has little, if no patience with telemarketers calling at precisely the wrong time of the day or night (which would be any time), and most of all reading over the phone with my name inserted into a prescribed point of the marketing pitch. Please, don’t read to me.

Okay reading from a text may be a necessary evil for the State of the Union Address, but keep in mind we are talking about reading from a teleprompter and not gazing down at a text. Think of it this way: Reading from a script is just so 20th Century.

Which brings us to Ron Finley and community gardening or as he so eloquently implores: “Plant some shit.”

Keep It Simple Stupid (KISS)

“If kids grow kale, kids eat kale. It they grow tomatoes, they eat tomatoes.” – Ron Finley February 2013 Long Beach, California TED Talk

Can’t help but show Finley’s 10:45-minute presentation to my public relations and advertising students. Maybe without knowing it, Finley tinkered with venture capitalist Guy Kawasaki’s 10-20-30 rule (e.g., 10 slides, 20 minutes, 30-point font) and made it work for him … and most of all, for his audience. The video of his TED talk went viral with more than 2.35 million page views and counting.

“Gardening is the most therapeutic and defiant act you can do, especially in the inner city … plus you get strawberries.”

The PowerPoint slides are not particularly spiffy, but that really doesn’t matter. The photos of smiling kids beside sun flowers and vegetables tell the story. You are not expecting a polished presentation and in many respects Finley’s talk is better because you instinctively know it is genuine and not designed by a skilled Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) firm.

He weaves humor into his story, but also the chilling reality about how “drive-thrus” are responsible for more deaths in South Central Los Angeles than “drive-bys.” Presumably, he appeals to liberals because he talks about how residents came together to plant community gardens. Conceivably, he draws positive attention from conservatives with his entrepreneurial spirit and his defiance of an unthinking, uncaring overbearing regulatory bureaucracy (e.g., The City of Los Angeles), which issues him a citation and threatens him with an arrest warrant, if he does not pull out his city parkway garden.

“Cool. Bring it. Because this time it (the garden) wasn’t coming up.”

Ron Finley, renegade gardener, on stage at TED2013

Ron Finley, renegade gardener, on stage at TED2013

Finley uses the classic marketing approach to address the issue of dearth of healthy nutrition choices, which is so beautiful in its simplicity: Here is the problem (food deserts) and here is a solution (planting vegetables and fruits along unused median strips in South Central).

“The problem is the solution. Food is the problem. Food is a solution.”

Does Ron Finley have glossophobia or the fear of public speaking? Not a chance. He seemed very comfortable speaking to the TED Talk crowd, which rewarded him with a standing ovation.

Wonder if he would have generated the same response, if he tried to read to the audience? That’s the point: The Jobs presentation method, TED Talks and the Ron Finley approach rely on holding a conversation with the audience with the linear PowerPoint slides mainly serving as prompts.

The net result is a presentation that is natural, conversational, genuine and which invites two-way symmetrical communications.

Sounds so 21st Century to Almost DailyBrett.

http://www.ted.com/talks/ron_finley_a_guerilla_gardener_in_south_central_la?language=en

http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424127887323699704578326840038605324?mg=id-wsj

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/05/fashion/urban-gardening-an-appleseed-with-attitude.html?_r=0

http://ronfinley.com/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FtBpZltfR7o

https://en.wikipedia.org/?title=Steve_Jobs

 

“If you must use more than 10 slides to explain your business, you probably don’t have a business.” – Silicon Valley Author and Venture Capitalist Guy Kawasaki.

“The number of transistors incorporated in a chip will approximately double every 24 months.” –  Moore’s Law.

kawasaki

Guy Kawasaki’s 10-20-30 Rule for PowerPoint presentations may not have the lasting power and global prominence of Intel co-founder Gordon Moore’s “Law” for the expected growth of semiconductor complexity.

Having acknowledged the obvious, Kawasaki’s rule does provide guidance for using presentation graphics to make a persuasive case to critical audiences.

Kawasaki recommends 10 slides; 20 minutes; 30-point font or above. There is a beauty in the simplicity of this rule.

One must wonder why so many rebel against this wisdom.

Sitting through more New York and San Francisco investor conference presentations than I care to remember in my Silicon Valley days, there was a War of the PowerPoints.

Companies were dueling each other with dazzling colors, impressive content and how many graphics could be jammed into a 30-minute time slot to extol their respective technology bits, bytes, bells and whistles. In short order, these presentations started to resemble real estate tours with each one-story ranch-style house with vaulted ceilings looking the same as every other one-story ranch-style house with vaulted ceilings.

Eventually these conference-sponsoring, sell-side companies rebelled (e.g., Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan, Morgan Stanley)  against the so-called Death by PowerPoint. No more PowerPoints …replacing them with FDR-style ”Fire Side Chats.”

Instead of curing the problem, the sell-side folks killed the patient. There were no more projected-onto-the-screen facts and figures for the audience to chew on. Instead there was an overpaid analyst quizzing a grossly overcompensated CFO about a myriad of gross margin, operating margin, cap-ex, R&D, SG&A numbers and percentages without any visual aid for the struggling audience.

Was that 15 percent growth or 50 percent growth?

No bueno.

Reflecting back on my trips to Tokyo with the Semiconductor Industry Association and LSI Logic, I was fascinated by how much detail our Japanese colleagues in particular could pack onto each PowerPoint slide.

Some of these slides reminded me about the bewildering grid of the Tokyo subway system regardless of whether it was in Kanji or English. Both, the PowerPoint slide and the Tokyo subway grid, resembled a plate of spaghetti with meat balls, tomato sauce and parmesan to make the picture even more complicated.

tokyosubway

There was a message in these PowerPoints begging to be released, but it was trapped in the barbed wire of complexity.

Fast forwarding to our present information overload society, PR/Marketing/IR pros are even more challenged than ever to break through the competing noise and deliver messages that resonate with low-attention span, easily bored and constantly distracted target audiences.

Is Guy Kawasaki’s 10-20-30 Rule perfect for all situations? Almost DailyBrett will let the reader make that determination.

There is no doubt this rule is far better than what is informally called, PR Agency Disease. What is this contagious malady, and how should avoid this addictive carcinogen?

Let’s say an agency is competing against seven others in responding to a huge multi-billion corporate client’s RFP (Request for Proposal) “cattle call.” The client has generously allotted 80 minutes for an agency presentation.

The agency responds with six speakers … no let’s make that eight speakers … and 60 PowerPoint slides … oops, we need 64 PowerPoint slides. Even someone with zero math acumen knows the number of presenters and the diarrhea of slides does not correspond with the time set aside for the presentation. One of the symptoms of PR Agency Disease is the insistence by the agency types to talk about themselves and not the potential client.

Approximately one week or more after this 64-slide (no typo) orgy with the potential client having virtually zero opportunity to ask questions, the competing agency finds out it was not selected. There is anguish. There are fingers pointed internally. Someone must be held responsible. Here’s the solution:

There were not enough PowerPoint slides. When in doubt: Add more slides to the presentation.

As a venture capitalist, Kawasaki, and his colleagues have sat through more PowerPoint (and conceivably Prezi) presentations than they would care to count. Obviously, some are better than others.

sleepingaudience1

Likewise students have endured PowerPoint-assisted lectures (including my musings), which brings to mind the research by University of Oklahoma Professor L.D. Fink. His findings indicate that approximately 15 minutes into a lecture, 10 percent of the audience is showing signs of inattention, and after 35 minutes everyone is inattentive. Fink concluded that as the length of a lecture increases, the proportion of material remembered by students’ decreases.

When one contemplates Kawasaki’s 10-20-30 Rule, one pictures the ubiquitous service club luncheon. There is the pre-lunch grip-and-grin, followed by the rubber-chicken entrée covered by a mysterious sauce, the 20-minute presentation by the invited speaker, the obligatory Q&A and followed by Rotarians, Optimists, Lions, Tigers and Bears etc. glancing at their watches to get back to the office.

The general rule for PowerPoints is two minutes per-slide with some taking less than that time and some taking more.  This simplistic math translates into 10 slides for 20 minutes.

Keep in mind the poor folks in the back of the room have to be able to read the slide, and that’s where the 30-point font comes into play.

And if you can add a photo, pie or bar chart or caricature to graphic without complicating the message all the better.

moore

Here’s to hoping that Kawasaki’s 10-20-30 Rule matches Moore’s Law in terms of longevity and influence. Maybe, there will even be a museum dedicated to the man who saved the world from Death by PowerPoint.

http://blog.guykawasaki.com/2005/12/the_102030_rule.html

http://sixminutes.dlugan.com/10-20-30-rule-guy-kawasaki-powerpoint/

http://www.guykawasaki.com/about/

http://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/history/museum-gordon-moore-law.html

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2012/09/20/no-more-plugging-chugging-and-forgetting/

http://finkconsutling.info/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microsoft_PowerPoint

 

 

 

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