Tag Archives: tools

Lists and Waves

The fact that Twitter,  Twitter Lists and Google Wave exist warms my heart.  They are tools that generate their own innovation buzz eco-system and drive what this blog is all about: Future Business.  Foundational tools like these, along with open source projects, are the essence of the web2.0 innovation renaissance.  Think about how fast tools and processes can iterate today to match widescale and niche user needs compared to where we were 10 years ago.

At the moment it is the wild west for these innovation eco-systems.  Everyone thinks they have a good idea and they are running full-speed either with a little bit of money or completely bootstrapped.  Over time, we will start to settle on some valuable use cases and the real money will head in that direction.

As an innovator interested in new ways that business can operate, both tools’ potential fascinates me.  While Twitter lists is pretty much what I expected it would be, Wave did not live up to my initial expectations.  I’ll give both a fair shake over a period of time because, like Twitter itself, there is likely a path of use evolution.  The truly valuable use cases might not show themselves until 3rd party apps have been written that run on top.

For Twitter Lists I am starting to see

  • Lists that you are in can be a crowd-sourced social descriptor of what you tweet about
  • Curating a popular list gives you credibility as a networker in the space that list covers

For Wave I think we are going to need tools and agreed conventions which

  • Help us collectively “garden” (manage) waves.  Waves have structure and are objects intended to grow over time.  Because they become more complex over time, they need constant management in order that they are accessible to newcomers and previous visitors/contributors alike.
  • Help us find portions of waves that are relevant to our needs and re-use those elements in our own content spaces: other waves, blogs, etc…

Long live the companies that are thinking about how to start the next innovation eco-system.

Prezi Presentation Tool

At first I thought I had finally found presentation nirvana.  Prezi is a relatively new entrant to the presentation tools market.  Their interface is revolutionary.  Rather than create my own elevator overview, here is one from Jay Ball,

In a nutshell, Prezi is a Flash-based presentation system that allows users to create incredibly dynamic presentations. Presentations where you can zoom in and out across a large area (no slides), create motion paths, embed images and video and do things that previously needed a pretty competent Flash developer and a whole chunk of time. It kicks traditional slideware way into touch.

I like to play with tools a bit before I lock in my initial opinion so play I did.  It was fairly quick to figure out how to use the completely novel admin interface.

Up to this weekend, I spent my whole career working out ways to present ideas in a clear linear fashion with sections, slides, pictures, bullets, and sub-bullets, tieing together my ideas, questions, and calls to action.  Now with Prezi, all of a sudden I am faced with a completely blank canvas and some tools to populate and navigate that canvas.  Of course, I could put up a series of slides, but that would defeat the purpose.  I was hungry for the full experience.

I used my December MPI online column as a test subject for building a presentation and learned a great deal about both the tool and myself in the process. (Note: can’t include prezi draft here because I am contractually bound to release my columns on MPI before they are shown elsewhere.  Once it is published, I will embed the prezi here).

The Good:

  • Forces you to think about the relationship between the ideas you intend to present
  • Very flexible in what/how you can present.  Good with both pre-planned paths, on-the-fly path changes, and even a combination of both
  • End product presentation is sure to have WAY more of an impact than powerpoint or keynote

The Bad:

  • Challenging learning curve to think differently
  • New interface takes a little while to learn and even longer to become proficient
  • Limited functionality
    • very little text manipulation: no fonts, no colors
    • line tools are very limited
    • no shape tools
  • Takes a LONG time to get presentation set-up exactly the way you want it.
  • Admin frames that help with zooming are displayed to the end user and so confuse the interface

The Bottom Line:

  • Just practicing with Prezi will improve the way you use your current presentation tool
  • Best for presentations where
    • spending significantly more time is a good trade-off in return for more impact
    • you are going to continuously re-use the same presentation with minor changes
  • Needs a bit more work in order to have a good chance at mainstream adoption

Have you tried it?  What do you think?