Having presented for Adobe over the past 8 years, I get a little touchy when someone attacks technical presenters. It’s like being a part of a fraternity. Round up the wagons!
Demonstrating software: the collection of skillz are not taught by Toastmasters. Nor most Presentation Trainers. It is a set of unique techniques, that are generally nutured and passed on from master to trainee; generation to generation.
You need to have your eye and ear on the audience; the setup for the next joke is on your mind; you need to be “on message”, the software needs to be working: and most importantly, what you are showing is getting through. In these days of instant blogging, everything you say is public property.
So, Eric’s comments on the Acrobat 8 roadshow in Canberra are interesting. Mark, the Adobe presenter has responded.
Sometimes to communicate a story, words and phrases are used that may be a little too combative. Yeah, I’ve dissed non-Adobe software vendors in presentations: usually to sell a point or get an emotional response from an audience. This style only works with medium sized audiences. My favourite was playfully dissing Microsoft whilst presenting at Microsoft.
Onto the Facts.
- XML does NOT magically equal a smaller file size; in fact the reverse is probably true. In the case of PPT in PDF, the file size benefits of PDF accrue from image compression (including gradients/blends and reused elements). Other benefits are cross-platform packaging (especially typefaces) and security (ensuring people cannot change the presentation)If you were sending a document to people expecting changes, PDF is not the answer.
- Outlook PSTs suck in a cross-platform world. And let’s face it; in the future no matter what platform you are on, everything is a legacy platform.I have 6.5Gb of email locked up in PST files containing 6+ years of email history. Searching these involves launching Outlook, loading the PST and doing a slow search. Thank goodness for Google Desktop search if you are a Windows person. You’re stuffed if you spend most of your time outside the mono-culture. Putting emails into a standard published and open file format, say PDF/A, for future reference is something many people care about.
- Mark covered this Fact in his blog. There is a law of entropy working here. Once data is squeezed out in PDF, getting back a fully working, semantically rich document is going to be difficult. In the case of Office applications, PDF is not an editable exchange format. The getting data back out of a PDF is best a utility; and included in Acrobat 6, 7 and 8.
- Launch Acrobat 6 and compare/contrast the Acrobat 7 and 8 launch times; even the Reader. There is a world of difference even without Windows caching the application in RAM (something you can turn off with a few Registry entries on Windows). Adobe has dramatically improved the launch time from a woeful Acrobat 6 (launch times sucked)
I didn’t attend the Canberra launch; only the morning session of the Sydney Acrobat 8 launch. Splitting the group into two “halves” is a recognition that Acrobat has two large audiences: one creative and the other standard office style users. Canberra has always been a tough demographic to get right audience-wise for Adobe. I agree with Eric: 20 people is not good: the whole tone of the presentation changes with less than 50 people.
Also, in the modern highly connected world – it is my opinion that “Launch” style presentations with too much sales hype are a thing of the past. People need content, and lots of it. Conversations such as blogging post conference are excellent mechanisms of making the content more relevant.