Apollo Ideas: Conversation with Jeff Brenman

Created: Saturday, May 26, 2007, posted by Geetesh Bajaj at 8:37 am



Jeff Brenman (pictured to the right) is a graduate from Northwestern University where he studied psychology and business. It was pretty early on in his college experience that he became disenchanted with the conventional presentation styles, and started to independently study the theory behind what makes great presentations great. It wasn’t long before he was helping out professors and student leaders on campus with their slide decks, eventually having a position created for himself with the university as a presentation design consultant. He started a design firm called Apollo Ideas, based out of Chicago that specializes in presentation design and consulting.

Geetesh: Tell us more about Apollo Ideas, and the type of presentation related services you provide.

Jeff: Apollo Ideas was created from the collision of a huge demand in the market for innovative communication methods and my personal passion for creating and developing stories and presentations. I first started presentation design consulting while in college, working for professors and lecturers who were speaking at academic conferences and delivering grant proposals. After I graduated, I branched out from the academic market into the business markets, forming Apollo Ideas and building a team of people who share my passion. We’re a storytelling company. Services range from taking an existing slide deck and restyling it (similar to what was done to Karl Fisch’s original presentation for ShiftHappens), to a full consulting process in which we help generate the original content for the slides, working with the client to design the story from the ground up.

Geetesh: How did your prize winning entry in SlideShare’s World’s Best Presentation Contest evolve — and what do you think set it apart from other entries in finally emerging as the winner.

Jeff: I came across Karl Fisch’s “Did You Know” presentation online, and thought the content was fantastic. I had just finished reading The World is Flat by Thomas Friedman, so the globalization themes in Karl’s presentation resonated hard with me. I decided to re-stylize the presentation as a challenge to myself, to re-make it how I’d like to see it. I am glad ShiftHappens has received so much attention through SlideShare because the reality of the 21st century is a subject we all ought to know about.

I think what set ShiftHappens apart from the other entries was its visual style and the power of its content. At over 50 slides the presentation contains a lot of information. It was a challenge creating a visual style that would be bold but still stay visually interesting in a stand-alone presentation with so much content.

Categories: interviews, presentation_samples, powerpoint, slideshare

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