Brad Feld

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Free Prize Inside – Seth Godin (and More PowerPoint Hints)

Jul 05, 2004
Category Books

Seth Godin is magnificent and his new book – Free Prize Inside: The Next Big Marketing Idea – is a winner.

This book takes you on a romp through the way to help you understand how to make your product or service remarkable. I’ve often been (mis)quoted saying things like “marketing is useless” when in fact what I mean is “the way most people do marketing is useless and a waste of money.” Seth has always approached marketing in a revolutionary way under his thesis that everything we do is part of marketing. If you aren’t a Seth Godin fan, try his blog and his books.

In addition to his rants on marketing, Seth – like me – has strong views on PowerPoint. He’s written an Ebook called Really Bad PowerPoint that you can buy on Amazon or download free if you’ve bought Free Prize Inside (using the honors system).

As your Free Prize Inside this post (and part of my continuing quest to make the world a safer place for venture capitalists), following is an excerpt from Free Prize Inside (with Seth’s permission, of course). It’s called Special Bonus Tactic: Avoid Really Bad PowerPoint.

PowerPoint was developed by engineers as a tool to help them communicate with the marketing department – and vice versa. It’s a remarkable tool because it allows for very dense verbal communication. Yes, you could send a memo, but no one reads anymore. … PowerPoint could be the most powerful tool on your computer. But it’s not. Countless soft innovations fail because their champions use PowerPoint the way Microsoft wants them to, instead of the right way.

Bullets Are for the NRA

Here are the five rules you need to remember to create amazing PowerPoint presentations:

1. No more than six words on a slide. EVER. There is no presentation so complex that this rule needs to be broken.

2. No cheesy images. Use professional stock photo images.

3. No dissolves, spins or other transitions.

4. Sound effects can be used a few times per presentation, but never use the sound effects that are built into the program.

5. Don’t hand out printouts of your slides. They don’t work without you there.

Go ahead – just try to follow rule #1. Thought provoking, isn’t it? Get the book – read it – and make something happen. It’s worth it.