Andy Zimmerman, VP of Business Development, is responsible for developing and managing strategic partnerships and programs for Brainshark, the leading software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution provider for on-demand presentations. Andy played an integral role in the launch of myBrainshark.com in September 2009 and continues to drive the initiative. Prior to Brainshark, Andy launched SaaS offerings for other software providers including Theikos, a leading Salesforce.com partner (acquired by Astadia) and e-billing provider Edocs (now part of Oracle). Andy earned his BA from Brown University and MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.
In this conversation, Andy talks about myBrainshark.
Geetesh: Tell us about the raison d’être for myBrainshark – how did it evolve?
Andy: Brainshark has experienced substantial commercial success over the years – serving as a critical communication vehicle for more than 1,000 companies across industries. We conceived of myBrainshark as a way to reach out to a much larger audience of business professionals, enabling individuals to tap into the benefits of our product with absolutely no price barriers.
Registration is simple and free – then it’s an easy process to create and share on-demand multimedia presentations. You simply upload a PowerPoint presentation or other content, and dial a Brainshark-provided number to add your voice narration or upload MP3 audio. If you’d like, you can also add in video, survey questions and attachments to enhance your presentation. Then, it’s time to share it You can send out a link to your target audience, embed the presentation in your webpage or blog, or share it through social media tools including LinkedIn and Twitter. myBrainshark’s reporting capabilities also enable you to see when people are viewing your presentation, how often it has been viewed and even from where in the world it’s being viewed.
myBrainshark offers a way for people to communicate on and off the job – delivering far-reaching messages at no cost, but with maximum impact to promote themselves, promote their products/companies, and share expertise. We’ve been pleased with the site’s reception and with the creative ways people are using myBrainshark to showcase content –creating everything from sales and marketing materials to training content to “talking résumés” to real estate listings to holiday greetings and much more.
Geetesh: How is myBrainshark different from Brainshark, and the other slide sharing sites like SlideShare, SlideBoom, authorSTREAM, etc.?
Andy: Among our key differentiators as compared to slide sharing sites is the ability to easily incorporate phone or MP3 audio – which has been one of Brainshark’s hallmarks throughout the last decade – helping users create high-quality, personalized presentations. Also, our service preserves PowerPoint animations, so it’s very easy to time your audio appropriately with those animations to deliver maximum impact.
Additional distinguishing features include our ability to support various media types – going beyond PowerPoint presentations to also include documents, videos, web pages and audio-only podcasts. In addition, myBrainshark enables you to incorporate interactivity – such as survey questions – within presentations, and see how your audience responds. With these analytic capabilities, you can even view dashboards showing how, when and from where people are engaging with your presentation Furthermore, presentation pages are search engine optimized – helping more people find your content.
Here’s another unique feature – through myBrainshark, users who are experts on business or training topics can apply online to become “Learning Providers.” As such, they can price their content if desired, while site visitors can preview and/or buy it. The premium content available on myBrainshark currently spans topics including leadership, selling skills, compliance and more.
Of course, myBrainshark is also backed by the Brainshark brand and proven infrastructure, meaning it’s built by a company with the highest standards of quality, reliability and security, which has been helping businesses succeed with on-demand presentations for more than a decade. In fact, this makes for a good transition into the other part of your question – concerning our commercial offerings and differences from myBrainshark.
Like our commercial offerings, myBrainshark has a powerful feature set that lets users differentiate and extend the reach of their communications. Use of myBrainshark is completely free, and content created on the site is publicly available – letting users easily communicate with a worldwide audience. Brainshark’s paid offerings, meanwhile, are geared toward organizations (versus individuals) that often need to share private or proprietary content with their own target audiences.
Brainshark’s commercial offerings also include other enhanced functionality for businesses. Through Brainshark, organizations can easily manage and organize content created by any number of users and manage their access permissions. The tracking and reporting capabilities available to our enterprise users also provide much more granular reports and viewing details. In addition, our enterprise editions provide numerous optional features such as learning management, marketing campaign management, content approval, content archiving, and offline viewing – as well the ability to integrate with CRM, LMS and other software applications.
With both Brainshark and myBrainshark, we continue to help businesses and individuals create far-reaching, high-impact communications that resonate in a measurable way with their audience.