2009 contest: I’m endorsing Dan Roam

2 September, 2009 (17:23) | book review, presentation | By: jerome

Slideshare 2009 contest is up again, and there’s about 1 week to vote. For the contest, I’m endorsing Dan Roam and counting on everyone to vote for him and support his presentation. Previous winners of the contest include Shift happens or Thirst who got a lot of coverage and views. I think that Dan’s unique presentation style should get more exposure. One way to see the contest entries is by votes, so the ones with the most votes show on top. Dan’s presentation is currently #10, less than 200 votes behind the top spot. But you can only vote once per account. So if you see a presentation you like and give it your vote, it is gone forever.

Dan wrote The Back of the Napkin which is also the name of the blog he maintains. I enjoyed this book, and I think you should too.

The idea: all of the world’s problems can be solved by drawing. And even if you think you can’t draw, as most adults, it’s much simpler than it seems and it’s quite fun.

Problems can be reduced to 6 types of questions: who/what, how many, how, where, when and why. Each of these questions can be associated with a broad type of representation, for instance “where?” questions can be solved by a map where different elements are plotted. So that’s one way of categorizing visual representations.

The other axis that the author develops is what he calls SQUID. Depending on your audience, what you want to show may be:

  • simple or elaborate,
  • quality vs quantity,
  • vision vs execution,
  • individual vs comparison,
  • change (Delta) or as-is.

The combination of the SQUID framework and the who, how many, how, where, when, and why questions lead you to one logical choice of representation, which will work make your audience go “a-ha” – guaranteed.

The logic holds, although I feel he tweaked his process for most if not all of the examples in the book. Anyway, this line of thought can easily be reproduced and can solve problems. Now the hand-drawn style is not necessary to this process, but is a nice touch. I’ve used it in presentations and it gets attention and sympathy. I was amazed to see how much easier and quicker it is to draw a visual that works by hand than with a user-friendly software. I’m enclined to think that the corporate world would be much more interesting (and fun) if there were more drawings and fewer word documents.

For those reasons, go vote for Dan Roam.


Dan Roam won! congratulations!

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