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PowerPoint Ninja: Conversation with Brent Dykes

Tuesday, June 16, 2009
posted by Geetesh on 3:56 PM IST





Brent DykesBrent Dykes has used PowerPoint for more than 10 years in various marketing and consulting roles. His presentations have been seen by executives at Fortune 500 companies and various marketing conferences. In 2008, he started the PowerPoint Ninja blog. Brent has an MBA from BYU and is Director, Consulting at Omniture.

In this conversation, Brent discusses his PowerPoint involvement and his blog.

Geetesh: Tell us more about your involvement with PowerPoint.

Brent: I’ve been working with PowerPoint for more than 10 years in a variety of contexts: sales and marketing, business school, business start-ups, consulting, and management.

My first significant exposure to PowerPoint came when I interned at Microsoft for a couple of semesters in the late 1990s in Vancouver, BC. As a sales and marketing intern, I gained access to Microsoft’s vast marketing slide repository so that I could build presentations for various speaking engagements. Seeing what other very skilled users had created with PowerPoint really opened my eyes to what could be done with this presentation software.

After graduating from Simon Fraser University with a BBA in Marketing in 1999, I joined a successful web design agency, Blast Radius (WPP), as a marketing analyst. A core responsibility of my role was to create reusable marketing presentations for our sales and executive teams. I also worked on several sales pitches for Fortune 500 companies.

In 2002, I went back to school for my MBA from Brigham Young University. As an MBA student, I was able to leverage my PowerPoint skills on a weekly basis in my various class projects. I was also able to participate in a couple of business plan competitions where my presentation skills helped my team to place as a semi-finalist in the 2004 BYU competition and second in the 2004 Utah Entrepreneur Challenge. It was great to get exposure to VC pitches.

For the past five years, I’ve been working for Omniture as a web analytics consultant, manager, and director. In that time I have worked extensively with PowerPoint in building various client presentations for Fortune 500 companies, which focused on data analysis and strategy. I’ve also been fortunate to present at several marketing conferences including a 2008 keynote presentation in Japan. For better or for worse, PowerPoint continues to be a big part of my life.

Geetesh: How did PowerPointNinja evolve? What sorts of thoughts do you post?

Brent: Throughout my career I’ve had several co-workers, managers, and clients praise me on my PowerPoint skills. In 2004, I finally decided to purchase a web domain that related to my PowerPoint expertise. I chose “PowerPoint Ninja” because ninjas are skilled, mysterious, and just plain cool.

After a few years of sitting on the domain and telling people that I would eventually create a PowerPoint presentation website, I decided it needed to happen in 2008. Eventually, I’d like to publish a PowerPoint Ninja handbook.

In terms of the types of thoughts I post on my site, I believe I bring a very practical or pragmatic perspective to PowerPoint design and business presentations. As someone who is using PowerPoint in a corporate environment, I can relate with many of the limitations and challenges that business users run into because I’m battling those same issues.

I post tips and tricks on how to use PowerPoint features and how to design effective business presentations. I try to focus on all three phases of PowerPoint presentations: planning, design, and delivery. If you’ve already read some of my articles you’ll also know that I like to have fun with my posts.

Categories: interviews, opinion, powerpoint

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