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What Guy Kawasaki learned from Steve Jobs

December 17, 2011

Guy is is a venture capitalist whose “10-20-30” rule for presentations is one I’ve mentioned before–10 minutes, 20 slides, 30-point font. That was his rule if you wanted to make a funding pitch to him.  He has an interesting blog where he posted an article, What I learned from Steve Jobs.

Photo of guy kawasaki

Guy Kawasaki

His post is worth reading and he made two points that are relevant here and I liked them both:

5. Design counts.

Steve drove people nuts with his design demands—some shades of black weren’t black enough. Mere mortals think that black is black, and that a trash can is a trash can. Steve was such a perfectionist—a perfectionist Beyond: Thunderdome—and lo and behold he was right: some people care about design and many people at least sense it. Maybe not everyone, but the important ones.

6. You can’t go wrong with big graphics and big fonts.

Take a look at Steve’s slides. The font is sixty points. There’s usually one big screenshot or graphic. Look at other tech speaker’s slides—even the ones who have seen Steve in action. The font is eight points, and there are no graphics. So many people say that Steve was the world’s greatest product introduction guy… don’t you wonder why more people don’t copy his style?

Guy Kawasaki, How to change the world

The power of design

image of tablet input with computerOn the first point, I think Guy may be underestimating the power of design a little. I think everyone feels it when the design is right and when it’s seriously wrong. Most of us may not be able to articulate just why, but I think we sense the mediocre middle, too–“it’s okay, but it didn’t grab me”–is one phrase I’ve used, and heard from others, that I think reflects that. And presentations are no different:  like everything they shouldn’t just happen by accident, they should be put together thoughtfully and with a purpose in mind, in other words, they should be designed.

The power of pictures

His second point is both reiterates and reinforces the point in my last post about using pictures in a presentation. Make them big and make them grab the audience. But while that was Steve’s style and it worked for him, that’s not a reason to copy it.  Although Steve didn’t invent that style,  he used it exceptionally well. But the reason to adopt it is simply because it works!  And he knew it.

Anyway, thanks to Guy for an excellent post.

Related posts here:

6 tips for using images in presentations

To succeed as a presenter you must think like a designer

Presentation content checkup: why text is bad

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