We have been working on this for a while, and its great to be able to finally share it. We launched the “World’s Best Presentation Contest” on SlideShare today. This contest was thought up by Guy Kawasaki. I have read his blog for a while and had gone to his Art of the Start workshop. Guy suggested the idea of a best presentations contest on SlideShare and helped make it happen.
I looked at my Twitter webpage yesterday and it occurred to me that I was seeing the streams of consciousness for several of my friends mixed together. Its somewhat strange, because a stream of concsiousness is such a personal thing. But inhibitions have droppped sufficiently, and technology has made it sufficiently easy that people post short updates about whatever is happening with them. And I do mean “whatever”. One person might be partying while the other is deciding what to eat and a third person is simply bored. And Twitter presents it as a linear stream organized by time.
Next week, I will be giving a talk at the Information School, UC Berkeley about the design of SlideShare. This will be for Marti Hearst’s UI Design class at the I. The talk is really about a 360 degree view of design that I got as I have moved from academic to consulting to entrepreneurship. The title and abstract is below.
Fast, cheap and somewhat in control: Lessons from the design of SlideShare
In the last five years, Rashmi has approached design as an academic researcher looking for statistical patterns that distinguish successful design, a user experience consultant solving design problems for large companies, a creator of a game-like software for design research. Now, in her current incarnation she balances design among business concerns while leading a small, bootstrapped startup. In this talk, she will share 10 lessons learned from the design of SlideShare, why Web 2.0 companies don’t do user research (or do they), how the Beta launch can be considered a user probe, how personas are not needed when you know your users by name, the importance of technical simplicity and how designers need to avoid thinking too much and start taking risks.