A tree visualises the composition (or decomposition) of a number into a number of factors. They are what I call ponder charts, not to be presented during a TED talk, but rather they are useful for (complex) studying relationships between different factors.
Below are two examples of these analysis trees. The first is a summary profit and loss account for a company. I often use these a tree like this to visualise the business model of a startup by forcing a forecast year 5 P&L of a success scenario into this format. It is impossible to forecast the future accurately, and investors and founders will always disagree on the numbers, but the tree teaches you how to think about this company. What drives its economics? What would you have to believe for the year 5 scenario to be true? A tree always has to add up and multiply, this often leads to insights when it forces you to fill in boxes that you did not originally take into account (i.e., you forecast your sales, you assume market size, and right in the middle sits your implied market share).
A second example is this return on invested capital tree. It explains how (and more importantly, why) company performance is changing over the years. In this version I added miniature line diagrams to make the annual trends clearer. PowerPoint cuts the vertical axes of these graphs automatically, amplifying the trends in the line graph. Normally, I would object to this form of lying with statistics, but in this case with the very small diagrams, it is actually useful.
Both these trees go from left to right, sticking to the McKinsey style of going from big picture to detail.
Clicking the images takes you to store where you can download the finished slides, subscribers can do so free of charge.
Recently, I have started to use the template store myself for the few bespoke design projects I still do for long standing clients (SlideMagic gave me a really attractive rate :-)). My hard drive is filled with 1000s of slides and still it is difficult to find a nice clean layout to use as a basis for slide number 1001.
Up until a few weeks ago, I started every slide pretty much from scratch, I have gotten pretty fast in setting up yet another 4x5 table grid. But even I can't beat search the store for "table" and re-download that slide again and hit the ground running.
I am continue to monitor which slides people decide to buy, and which slides are downloaded by subscribers. Many subscribers download a lot of slides right after they made the purchase, and then don't return for a couple of weeks. Initial downloads include slides that you can only use in very specific situations, like these sheep. They hardly ever download the same slide 2x. There could be 2 possible explanations:
Less likely: after that $99 annual subscription, you better make sure you get what you paid for, maybe the store will stop running somehow before the 12 months are up.
More likely: we have built up the habit of mining through old decks, and recycling slides into a new presentation.
As a designer who now uses its own store, I would encourage you to think Netflix, iStock, Spotify: your slides will always be there, and search is there to help you find the slide you need at the moment (and nothing else). Change your design process:
From: open your consolidated SlideMagic deck (which took time to assemble from all the individual slides you had to download), pick 20 designs you think you are going to need, see how you can tell your story with these 20 designs
To: scribble your story flow on a piece of paper, create a deck of empty slides with just titles, search the appropriate slide template on SlideMagic
It will take you less time, and you get better presentations. And remember: I am constantly adding new slides so your first burst download will run out of date soon.
Having said that, I am willing to look into a technical solution to combine multiple slide downloads in one deck, my commerce platform cannot handle that (yet).
Unsplash has become a fantastic resource of images: the quality of the photos is better than stock photo sites, and all of them are completely free of charge. I have been seen it growing from a static page with 1 free image a week which took forever to download into what it is today.
My stock photo use has dropped dramatically over the past years: I use fewer images (increasingly preferring simply bold typography), and if I use them, I either select "real" images of an actual product, store, city, or, I use Unsplash.
Stock photo celebrity from the past
I am not the only one who has discovered this, and we now see the same thing happening as with stock photo sites 5 years ago: next to stock photo celebrities (this call centre rep for example), we now get Unsplash celebrities.
The 4 image above are contributed by rawpixel.com, which added many other images as well which are not (yet) as recognisable as these 2 "business people".
Today, I am adding a simple table to the store to show the sensitivity of an analysis. Each cell in the table shows an outcome of an analysis with a slight variation on 2 critical input variables. I used this type of a slide a lot in discounted cash flow valuation models, where assumptions about discount rates and assumed perpetual growth could make a significant impact on the outcome of your analysis.
The base case scenario is put very prominently in the centre of the table, it is the anchor for the viewer from which to start studying the other scenarios. I prefer making these type of charts manually, and not via a blanket copy-paste out of an Excel sheet. In that way, you have to think about whether each cell in the table is meaningful, and you can make sure that the data is formatted and rounded in the best way.
The application deadline for the next YCombinator is coming up and the incubator posted a suggested seed-stage investor pitch deck template. I quickly ran the template through a make over process using templates available in my store. The resulting pitch deck template can be downloaded free of charge.
This is a seed stage pitch deck for an investor which has very specific opinions/requirements about sourcing investments: early stage, seed stage businesses are extremely fluid and change/pivot so many times that there is little point in long-winded elaborations, given the volatility of these extremely early stage businesses, the team is the biggest indicator whether there is a chance that the company will be successful.
YCombinator is proud that they can see through fancy-looking decks, you probably even get points for not wasting time on PowerPoint slides, and instead focusing your efforts on the company (pretty much the philosophy behind SlideMagic). This might not work with all investors (hence the slide upgrade in look & feel in my remake).
The big selling point in this deck is obviously the placeholder for traction and growth, not many early stage companies will be able to produce the numbers for that "hockey stick" (yet).
All in all, these are good guidelines for crafting a pitch deck for a highly knowledgeable investor. I would up the graphical finish just a notch to make it look more pleasing, without overdoing it. That's what my template tried to do.
Sometimes I work on presentations that border on legal or regulatory disputes. Two parties need to convince some independent party or regulator that they are right, often with the help of independent experts.
The briefing presentation at the start of a project usually is a left over of the original project presentation, it makes the case for the project in general but buries the actual smaller issue that is being discussed now, for example environmental impact.
What follows is a verbal discussion with the old slides as a background: then we did this, then we hired her, then we installed this technology, then they disputed the data, then we did a test (but changed it a bit), they came up with these counter arguments, that do not really apply to this situation. To the outsider who has not been part of the process it is completely impossible to understand the arguments.
In a situation like this:
Start from scratch and build a presentation in which 95% of the time is spent on the issue at hand
Make sure that your flow of logic is clear
Separate the arguments that are undisputed, from more contentious issues
If the other party has a major counter argument, there is no point in hiding it, you might as well put it in your presentation prominently, and with your solid argument why it is not a valid point
Pick your battles, if the other side has a point that is pretty much true and hard to disprove, don't spend energy trying to make an impossible case against it. You will loose credibility when making other points that really count
I am continuing to tick off the standard presentation frameworks in the store, yesterday I added a PowerPoint template for a risk matrix. The matrix has 2 axes: one for the probability that a disaster happens, the other one how severe it would be if it were to happen.
The matrix is designed in true SlideMagic style: not very fancy, but highly symmetrical, usable, and adaptable to your everyday presentations. You can download the slide here, subscribers can do so free of charge. Feel free to adjust the axis titles, labels, or dim the bright traffic light style colours to your taste and needs.
It is very hard to tell eCommerce platforms, Google shopping, tax authority and other sites that digital downloads do not require shipping of physical stuff. Deep down in the bowels of my system $20 shipping charges were still present for some countries. I think I cleaned everything up now. Let me know if you see any other irregularities. If it looks wrong to you, it probably is wrong.
I have used the prism visual metaphor a few times in my client's presentations to show how rich, intricate, subtle components are present in a service or product that might not be apparent from the outside. Below is an attempt at a minimalist pyramid in PowerPoint (roughly modelled based on the cover of that Pink Floyd album).
I simplified the laws of physics here and there, the tricky bit was to get the blue shape inside the triangle right. I added the slide to the template store yesterday, you can find it ready for download here, and subscribers can do so free of charge.
The chart below is an attempt to create a comparison matrix that can deal with 4 dimensions. Two dimensions get consolidated into another one, which are put on another matrix. The results is mathematically correct, but does it work as a slide? Maybe it is pushing things too far.