Prezi Business: Moving out of the Auditorium to the Meeting

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I had a chance to chat last week with Peter Arvai, the founder and CEO of Prezi, the company behind the ‘infinite canvas’ presentation tool of the same name. He wanted to brief me on the company’s progress and plans, and give me a heads up on the company’s new offering, Prezi Business.

Prezi is an innovative break from the boxy, bulletpoint heavy style of presentations, allowing a more visual and storytelling-oriented approach to presentationology. By allowing a more free form way to cover the information in a presentation, the presenter can easily adjust to different audiences given the same presentation. As Arvai said, agility is becoming very important everywhere, even in the domain of presentations.

It’s hard to do Prezi justice in words, so maybe you should wander through this prezi I created a few years ago with Harold Jarche for Sibos. It’s by no means a wonderful presentation — especially without the words that Harold and I added to the presentation — but it’s one that I made with a small investment of time.

You can click on the arrow icons to walk through the prezi, or zoom in and out to see more details, in any order.

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The new Prezi Business — which I have not used fooled with — supports real-time cocreation (multiple authors, commenting, and so on), real-time shared presenting (in HD, without other third-party tools), as well as sharing of links to prezis.

Especially in that third use case, Prezi’s new analytics help understand who is viewing what in your shared prezis. This includes leaderboards, very helpful in sales organizations.

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The new offering has garnered some press, mostly focused on the per seat price ($50/user/month) or its adoption by millennials. These pieces don’t hit the most important aspects of what Prezi is doing: the science behind it.

Peter talked with me about the science of better presentations, like the factoid that presentations with compelling visuals are 43% more persuasive than those that lack them, for example.

The company’s grounding in the science behind presentations and storytelling has been effective. Nine months ago the company announced that there have been over one billion views of prezis, and that is now over 1.6 billion. Marketing is the fastest growing paid business segment at Prezi with 52% year over year growth (as of April 2015) and 199% increase in active use as measured by Prezi creation.

As part of this release, they’ve created a Slack integration so that team members can be informed in Slack about modifications made to prezis down to the object level.

And we started to range farther afield, talking about the possibilities for AI in presentation creating, where information from various sources could be combined into rich, navigable tableaux linked by semantic connections.

Prezi Business won’t be the last major release from Arvai and his people, that’s for sure, as they negotiate the transition from the auditorium to the meeting.

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