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Why I don't put my slides online (coffeeonthekeyboard.com)
29 points by jamessocol on June 21, 2012 | hide | past | favorite | 16 comments

I'm a big fan of Zack Holloman's approach:

Something I’ve been doing recently is making a screen recording of my talks using QuickTime on my Mac. It’ll record both my voice and my slides as I flip through them. It’s a much better experience than just posting contextless slides.


.... except that it's much faster to digest a talk + speaker notes than an endless video. (I'm not saying post notes instead. Ideally, post both)

This is the ideal solution. All the better if the presenter makes the online version more concise than the in-person presentation.

I recently tried this with something I talk about often, which is The Overview Effect and why I think it's important to think about in relation to data visualization. Using a tool that was more visual than a blog post, but not clickclickclick like slides + speaker notes was really helpful.


That is an awesome idea, I had missed that post of Zach's--which I count as a personal failure.

I agree that slides should not be the whole story. Whats the point of having slides if the speaker is basically reading them? Whats the point of the speaker if the slides contain everything that is being said?

On the other hand, I do love when slides act as a brief summary of the talk because I often don't want to spend 45 minutes to listen to a talk when all I want is a summary or if I don't yet know if the talk is interesting to me, or if I can't watch a video right now for whatever reason and want to know if I should bookmark it for later. But thats not the real reason I like slides to be made available.

The biggest reason of all for you to put your slides online is that I have seen countless videos of talks where the slides are unreadable (too small, too blurry, too low resolution - whatever) or the camera focused completely on the speaker and never showed the slides at all. Not all videos make the slides available (eg if its on vimeo or youtube, rather than something like infoq) - in these cases, often the video is worthless unless the speaker makes the slides available on their website.

That's totally fair. With the types of slides I try to make, they're usually legible on the video, but if they aren't, and there is video to accompany them, I'd be happy to share.

The point is just getting the whole story, together. And, personally, I prefer something like a blog post because I can read faster than I can listen to the whole talk. Even if I miss out on some of the funny or other moments.

As long as the slides are legible, then thats perfectly fine. My concern there is really the same as yours: to get the whole story together.

Ack, that still doesn't prevent slides from going online. Just include your speaker notes. Problem solved. More work of course, but problem solved. Here's a fantastic example.


I love posting speaker notes too. I did it for this one a bit ago; I think the notes helped people who were reading it. http://brenocon.com/IE%20lecture.pdf

Speaker notes are definitely one option (as is the video mentioned in other comments) but I feel like they're a lazy/weak way of telling the story, compared to actually writing a blog post about the same topic.

I strongly disagree. Presentations are often almost an hour long and may contain over 100 slides + images. That format does not translate particularly well to a blog post.

Did you look at the link I posted? It's a far more enjoyable, engrossing, and informative format than the equivalent multi-post blog series.

If your slides are like this, sure, it'd need to be a multi-post series or an ebook (though, ebook might not be a bad option) or something like how Seth Godin presented his iconic "Really Bad Powerpoint": http://www.sethgodin.com/freeprize/reallybad-1.pdf

..edit: I like Markdown too much.

I am amazed the OP is never asked for their slides, even though they are not useful by themselves. I once gave an hour-long talk using no slides at all (I basically talked over a demo of live screens) and I still got asked for my slides at at the end.

I added that in because I thought about it and realized it was true, and it kind of surprised me, too. I get asked for the URL at the end sometimes, or to put that back up or email it out, but never the slides.

Which I personally take as evidence that I'm either a) writing slides the way I want to, or b) writing really bad slides.

I think if you want to make something for the web, put up a video of the talk, or write and article as well.

I hate slides being put up, it makes people put stupid crap that doesn't belong in slides, in slides.

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