Spencer Lambert is a presentation designer by day, and serial business starter by night. He started his career as a rostrum cameraman making slides on film (remember that?). His first PowerPoint job was in 1993, and sadly has been using it pretty much every day since. Along the way he has started a new media production agency (1997), an e-commerce website (2000) and a bar (2004). Some soul searching led him to decide to concentrate on what he was really good at, and at the end of 2009 decided to embark on a project that would evolve into Present.me.
In this conversation, Spencer discusses Present.me
Geetesh: Tell us more about Present.me, and how it evolved?
Spencer: Quite simply, we scratched our itch. Most readers will know that great presentations are made of 3 things, you - the presenter, your story and your slides. When they're put together well, you get a really potent combination - just watch Al Gore’s "An Inconvenient Truth", or any TED presentation to see this in effect.
We used to make synchronized presentations for our clients all the time and they loved them but they also moaned about how much they cost! If you’ve ever tried making your own and putting it on the web, it involves a huge amount of effort and can be a real pain in the neck. Even a short 30 minute presentation can take half a day to get an output, which is why most people don't bother.
There are some desktop applications that make it a bit easier, and some web ones that work too, but they’re all far too complicated for the average user. There had to be a better way!
That was the inspiration for Present.me - a really easy (and cheap) way of recording, synchronizing, and sharing your presentations.
Geetesh: What is the most significant task that a user can do via Present.me, and what are the costs involved in doing so?
Spencer: The most significant task is the ability to do it yourself without any technical knowledge or skill. Our solution is simple: you upload your slides, you then click Record, you present into your webcam clicking your slides as you go, and when you're finished you click Publish and share with the world!
Once we’d built Present.me, we realized 2 things: firstly, if you haven't had any presentation training, you might not feel quite so confident about putting yourself out there -- it's definitely not as anonymous as other presentation sharing sites. Secondly, it's really hard to present into a webcam without making a mistake or feeling under pressure.
To fix these two issues we're building the Academy where two of the founders Richard and Charlie are sharing their knowledge around building and performing great presentations -- I've worked with many presentation coaches over the years, and this stuff is world class. I'm also uploading my library of ready to use graphics that were originally intended for another project so your slides can look great too!
We've also developed the ability to edit on the fly, so if you make a mistake, you can stop the recording, scrub back to a good point before the mistake, and then carry on recording as if nothing had happened -- it sounds like a really simple feature, but to make it work in the cloud was extremely difficult.
There are two basic types of account to start with, Free and Plus. If you're a Free user, you can record up to 15 minutes at a time, all your presentations live in the public domain, and you see banner ads on the site. If you’re a Plus user (only $29/month subscription), you can record for 90 minutes, you have a whole load of privacy options, and no banner ads. We're working on a different slide conversion process for the Plus account where you’ll be able to keep all your animations and builds, but that’s not quite ready yet.
The future? We have lots of new ideas for features and we'll keep rolling them out as and when they’re ready.
Categories: interviews, online_presentations, powerpoint
I'm wondering if you can download the result to store it on one's own computer. This service seems great for training, but most organizations want complete control over their material.
Hi Ellen, at the moment 'no', but we have a desktop player in the pipeline that will sync with your cloud content in the background (a bit like Dropbox) so you'll have the best of both worlds.
April 2003 | May 2003 | December 2003 | January 2004 | February 2004 | March 2004 | April 2004 | May 2004 | June 2004 | July 2004 | August 2004 | September 2004 | October 2004 | November 2004 | December 2004 | January 2005 | February 2005 | March 2005 | April 2005 | May 2005 | June 2005 | July 2005 | August 2005 | September 2005 | October 2005 | November 2005 | December 2005 | January 2006 | February 2006 | March 2006 | April 2006 | May 2006 | June 2006 | July 2006 | August 2006 | September 2006 | October 2006 | November 2006 | December 2006 | January 2007 | February 2007 | March 2007 | April 2007 | May 2007 | June 2007 | July 2007 | August 2007 | September 2007 | October 2007 | November 2007 | December 2007 | January 2008 | February 2008 | March 2008 | April 2008 | May 2008 | June 2008 | July 2008 | August 2008 | September 2008 | October 2008 | November 2008 | December 2008 | January 2009 | February 2009 | March 2009 | April 2009 | May 2009 | June 2009 | July 2009 | August 2009 | September 2009 | October 2009 | November 2009 | December 2009 | January 2010 | February 2010 | March 2010 | April 2010 | May 2010 | June 2010 | July 2010 | August 2010 | September 2010 | October 2010 | November 2010 | December 2010 | January 2011 | February 2011 | March 2011 | April 2011 | May 2011 | June 2011 | July 2011 | August 2011 | September 2011 | October 2011 | November 2011 | December 2011 | January 2012 | February 2012 | March 2012 | April 2012 | May 2012 | June 2012 | July 2012 | August 2012 | September 2012 | October 2012 | November 2012 | December 2012 | January 2013 | February 2013 | March 2013 | April 2013 | May 2013 | June 2013 | July 2013 | August 2013 | September 2013 | October 2013 | November 2013 | December 2013 | January 2014 | February 2014 | March 2014 | April 2014 | May 2014 | June 2014 | July 2014 | August 2014 | September 2014 | October 2014 | November 2014 | December 2014 | January 2015 | February 2015 | March 2015 | April 2015 | May 2015 | June 2015 | July 2015 | August 2015 | September 2015 | October 2015 | November 2015 | December 2015 | January 2016 | February 2016 | March 2016 | April 2016 | May 2016 | June 2016 | July 2016 | August 2016 | September 2016 | October 2016 | November 2016 | December 2016 | January 2017 | February 2017 |
Microsoft and the Office logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries.