SlideRocket Blog

Some Very Exciting SlideRocket News!

By Tracy Frey on July 21, 2009

Today is a very exciting day in the life of our young company.  We are super excited to announce that we recently closed a second round of Venture Capital financing, which is being led by Azure Capital Partners.  They are joining our already fantastic investors, Hummer Winblad Venture Partners, and we are just thrilled to have them on board.  Ray Carey will be joining Mitchell Kertzman on our Board of Directors, and we look forward to their combined wisdom as we move forward.

We are very excited to apply this new round of financing to help us grow our business and realize our vision of transforming the way the world thinks about presentations.  Truly, this would not have been possible without all of you, so thank you all very much for all your excitement and feedback – we really, really appreciate it. Please keep it coming! We have lots of cool ideas for upcoming features and enhancements, and we’d love to add yours to the mix.

But, that’s not all the news of the day. At the same time, we have also added a very important member to our team.  Chuck Dietrich, who was formerly a General Manager & Vice President at salesforce.com, has joined SlideRocket as CEO.  Mitch Grasso, our fearless Co-Founder and rockstar product visionary, will be assuming the role of CTO.  We are all thrilled to have Chuck on board; his nine years at salesforce.com have given him deep industry experience that will help us take SlideRocket to the next level.  Plus, he’s a pretty awesome guy to hang out with. You all should come visit us sometime, and play with the SlideRocket crew! We’d love to have you. (Just let us know first…)

Like I said, it’s a big day for us!  Pretty exciting news, eh? If you’d like to read more details about it all, please feel free to read the full press release.  And, as always, to stay on top of all the latest from SideRocket, please follow us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Flickr, and YouTube.

Recent SlideRocket Release Notes

By Tracy Frey on July 6, 2009

Our most recent release included some fun new features and a bunch of bug fixes.  Here are the details:

Features

  • You can now export any asset – images, video, flash files, audio, etc. – out of SlideRocket onto your desktop.  Wahoo!
  • Clicking the “login” button from SlideRocket now does 2 fun things
    • Opens up SlideRocket in a new window (please check your pop-up settings if you are having any trouble)
    • Checks your Flash version, and alerts you to download Flash 10 if you haven’t already (which, by the way – you should do right now if you don’t have it! We’ll wait here…)
  • Sub-folders can now be moved to the main area by dragging them to the top of the folders section
  • Lots of database enhancements that you can’t see, but you benefit from

And here are some of the bug fixes from our last release:

  • Keyboard shortcuts are now disabled in the full-screen email dialog
  • Some people were seeing changes to an original slide after changes were made to a duplicate – this is now fixed
  • The Slide Library Recycle Bin now loads as soon as the Slide Library is loaded
  • Some folks were seeing errors when clicking very quickly through a presentation that had a bunch of text builds and effects.  This has been fixed
  • You are now always prompted to save your work when clicking on the SlideRocket logo from within the editor – no matter how recent your last save was
  • You can now delete as many table rows at the same time as you want
  • Everything is now dynamically appearing in shared folders
  • Some users were still seeing the “Add Slide to Library” button after a slide has already been added. No more!
  • Some users reported seeing “phantom” thumbnails when scrolling through the presentation library. This is now fixed
  • When a presentation is selected, you now get fun tool tips for the various options

As always, we really value your feedback.  If you are seeing any issues, please let our support team know, and please suggest and vote for new features you’d like to see!

Presentation Camp Los Angeles

By Nat Robinson on June 22, 2009

I attended my second presentation camp last weekend and thought I’d share some notes and resources from the day, this time in LA at Blank Spaces.

Presentation Camp LA Agenda

Presentation Camp LA - Agenda

Presentation Camp is an event based on the barcamp model of ad-hoc unconferences where people share and learn in an open environment. Find out more about barcamp. My experience so far is that while there are a basic set of guidelines for barcamps, every event is different and very much determined by attendee ideas, voices, votes and (generally) consensus. Presentation Camp L.A. had a $10 registration fee but most barcamps are free. I must say that I’ve paid considerably more to attend events and been less satisfied so I consider it money well spent. Presentation Camp L.A. also had corporate sponsors so we had food and beverages all day and a mountain of appropriate give aways and prizes.

There were some top notch presenters at Presentation Camp L.A. including the organizers Cliff Atkinson, Lisa Braithwaite and Colleen Wainwright but the sessions I enjoyed the most were led by Olivia Mitchell (from my home town of Wellington, New Zealand) who led sessions on Presenting With Twitter and Handling Hecklers, Andy Goodman who presented his “Why Bad Presentations Happen To Good Causes” (if you’re dong ANY kind of presentation I highly recommend you get a copy of his book and review his research on what audiences want and don’t want) and Terrence McNally presented some great guidelines for using narrative in your communications.

There were plenty of other excellent presentations at presentation camp LA, these are just the ones that resonated with me. If you haven’t attended a presentation camp yet I highly recommend it. I’m 100% sure you’ll meet interesting people, learn how to make and deliver better presentations and very likely have fun in the process. You can subscribe to the Presentation Camp Google Group to find out when an event is coming to a location near you or to find like minded folks who’ll help you organize one. See you there!

Get 3 Free Months for Every New Business User (and reduce your carbon footprint too!)

By Tracy Frey on

With the price of gas on the rise we’re here to help you reduce your reliance on fossil fuels and embrace your green self by using SlideRocket to make great presentations and win new business from the comfort of your office. No more airport security, missed connections or odorous cabs. With our HD web meetings and multiple publishing options, it can be just you, your SlideRocket presentation and your customers.

Collaborate with your peers in real time, easily publish and share your presentations online, conduct HD web meetings from your desk and save the planet in the process. All in a days work.

From now until the end of the June we’re letting you go green and save some green in the process. Buy 2 or more business annual subscriptions and we’ll give you 3 free months for every user. 2 users nets you six free months, 3 users gets you 9 and so on and so on.

So how do you get in on the deal? Just do one of the below:

  • Call us at (415) 436-9134, select option 2 OR
  • Email sales at sliderocket dot com

to get started.  This offer expires midnight on June 30th, don’t miss out!
Note: Free months are not transferable.

Recent SlideRocket Release Notes

By Tracy Frey on June 17, 2009

Our latest addition, which you may have read about already, is the inclusion of AudioMicro in our marketplace.  Check it out if you haven’t already, especially since research shows that the addition of audio to your presentations can keep your audience watching 2-3 times longer than those without. There’s a ton to choose from, including music, sound effects and more, so go give your presentations some audio love!

In addition to AudioMicro, we also released a bunch of bug fixes:

  • Some folks were getting an AS error when sending meeting invites – this has been fixed
  • Invite statistics now show the email address the invite was sent to instead of first and last name
  • We fixed a few Mimeo bugs (our Marketplace printing partner):
    • Mimeo now prints using FLV and SWF poster frames
    • Vertical aspect ratios are no longer being cropped when printing with Mimeo
    • Page numbers should now print correctly
  • The Desktop Presenter is now officially called the Desktop Presenter, both in and out of the app
  • You should no longer see an AS error when adding an image to a slide in picture layout
  • Slides from shared presentations no longer show “Created by Unknown” in the “Group by Presentation” view. They should now show the name of the person who created the slide
  • If you use an asset in a custom theme, it now gets recorded in the “where is this asset used” dialog
  • If you are given the capability “Can Create Shared Folders” by your account admin, you can now edit permissions on folders you create
  • If you attempt to delete a slide or asset from your library which is in use in a presentation, you now get an alert before you delete it
  • When using a linked Google spreadsheet, rows no longer duplicate and data refreshes correctly when the Google spreadsheet is refreshed
  • 8.5 x 11 documents should now print properly
  • When conducting a Remote Meeting, you now get a nice summary of whether each audience member has loaded the current slide
  • All audio now ends when a Remote Meeting is ended

Please let us know if you have any questions, and of course, keep submitting any bugs you find and suggesting new features for us! We really love your feedback.

AudioMicro Brings Music & Effects To The SlideRocket Marketplace

By Nat Robinson on June 11, 2009

“One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain.” – Bob Marley (1945-1981)

AudioMicro brings music and sound fx to the SlideRocket Marketplace

AudioMicro brings music and sound effects to the SlideRocket Marketplace

This week we added music and sound effects to the SlideRocket Marketplace via our newest content partner AudioMicro. AudioMicro provides an extensive library of user-generated micro stock music, sound effects, production music, production elements and music cues for incredibly low prices and we’re very happy to offer this content, tightly integrated into SlideRocket, to help you make great presentations.

As with any communication media, presentations (especially ones delivered sans presenter) are greatly enhanced with the addition of appropriate audio. Music can help determine the mood or character of your presentation and compliment or accentuate your message, while effects can be used to grab attention or create highlights. More importantly audio can create an emotional reaction to your presentation communications which makes them far more memorable for viewers. The combination of these is perhaps why presentations with audio are on average watched 2 to 3 times longer than those without. To see AudioMicro’s library of audio just login to SlideRocket and click on the Marketplace button at the top of the screen. You can search across genres, preview tracks and then click to buy and add your selected audio files to your library, it’s that simple.

“SlideRocket’s beautiful design and powerful communication capabilities made a natural fit for the AudioMicro music and sound effects library”, said Ryan Born, chief executive officer, AudioMicro. “50% of the entertainment value of visual media comes from the audio.  With over 125,000 tracks to choose from, SlideRocket users are now able to create more compelling, attention grabbing presentations, using AudioMicro music and effects to engage their audience.”

At SlideRocket we’re embracing the use of audio in our own corporate communications. Here’s an example of a presentation news release we created that uses an ambient music bed to a produce a futuristic, upbeat mood for telling our SlideRocket Marketplace story. This presentation auto-runs for 82 seconds but has an average viewing time of 4m 52s, roughly 4 times longer than the programmed length. In addition our SlideRocket presentation metrics tells us that viewers stayed on the last slide for an average of 2m 46s just to listen to the remainder of the audio track. Impressive. If you have SlideRocket presentations that use audio, we’d love to see er… hear them. Please send your published presentation link to community at sliderocket dot com.

Music and effects adds another element to our vision of a complete content and services marketplace for you to use as you build your multimedia communications but we’re not stopping here. Stay tuned for more marketplace updates and if you have either content or services you’d like to offer via the SlideRocket Marketplace please send an email to marketplace at sliderocket dot com and let us know how you’d like to get involved.

Recent SlideRocket Release Notes

By Tracy Frey on May 28, 2009

We’ve had a couple exciting releases recently I wanted to be sure to tell everyone about.  There’s some fun new features to explore, and a whole bunch of bug fixes.  Since we are a beta product, we really value all your feedback about things you may uncover while you are using SlideRocket, so we wanted to start telling you more about the issues we are finding and fixing.  This isn’t an exhaustive list of recent bug fixes, but highlights some of the bigger ones from the last couple of releases.  We will be posting these kinds of updates regularly from now on, and we hope you find them helpful.

First off, let’s talk about new features:

  • Folders: The biggest thing we’ve pushed out recently is our new collaboration folder structure. You can read all about that here.
  • Recycle Bin: A bunch of you have requested (in UserVoice and beyond!) a recycle bin, where you can put items you no longer want in your library without deleting them completely.  Well, now you have one!  When you drag and drop presentations/slides/assets into the Recycle Bin, they will no longer be visible but will be available for 30 days should you decide you want them again. One of the nifty things about our Recycle Bin is that there is actually one for each library (Presentations, Slides, Assets, Themes).  When you drag a presentation to the Recycle Bin, the various Slides, Assets and Themes in that presentation will automatically be put in their respective Recycle Bins.  This way, if you want to restore any part of your presentation, you are able to do so without having to restore the entire presentation.  Of course, you can also drag individual Slides, Assets and Themes into your Recycle Bin.
  • PowerPoint Import: We completely overhauled this feature. Previously, our importer had you choose between importing and making things editable (which would not work for things SlideRocket can’t recognize), and importing as flat non-editable images to preserve 100% fidelity.  We’ve made this much easier, as well as improving the overall import functionality.  The default option is now a merged version of the previous importer – everything that we can edit will come in editable, and those things we can’t yet (such as SmartArt) will come in as flat images so the fidelity of your PowerPoint is always preserved.  You can also still choose to import everything in your PowerPoint as a flat image if you like. We will keep improving on this and adding functionality, of course, but we’re pretty psyched with the new importer, and would love to hear what you think. We’ve seen some nice tweets about it like this one, and appreciate any and all feedback!
  • Tables: Ditto on these – we did a big overhaul here as well.  While this isn’t technically a new feature, we’ve improved them so much we kinda think it is.  The biggest changes you’ll find here are that it is much easier to work with bigger tables, multi-selecting of cells is also much improved, and manipulating cell size is now super easy. Again, please let us know what you think!

And here are some of the bugs we have fixed in the last couple of releases:

  • Keyboard shortcuts in IE are up and running – please let us know if you find any shortcuts that aren’t functioning the way they should
  • We’ve dramatically improved our “Undo” functionality, and it should now be consistent. Again, please let us know if you are finding any Undo glitches – we definitely want to hear about them
  • We’ve fixed a couple of issues with hyperlinks: “previous” and “next” hyperlinks now work, and duplicating a presentation with hyperlinks in it now preserves those in the presentation copy
  • Notes were being copied across all slides in a presentation; this is now fixed
  • The “tab” key.  This wasn’t working for everyone before. It should be all good now
  • You can now add bullets easily to textboxes that already contain lines of text
  • All “Invite” statistics, including time viewed and length slide viewed, are now corrected and shown
  • When rewinding a video in a Web Meeting, your attendees are now dropped to the right place
  • If your company deletes a user, that person’s folders now get reassigned to someone so nothing is lost
  • When a new shared folder is created, a permissions dialog now pops up so you can set folder permissions immediately
  • A warning dialog that all permissions will be removed now shows when an item is moved from the shared folders to the private folders
  • When a presentation is checked out for editing, it now specifies who is editing it
  • Some library slides were missing names; this is now fixed
  • A few people were seeing that upon adding a slide to the library from a shared presentation, the slide was then locked for the creator; this is now fixed
  • Selecting a folder or search in one library no longer affects folders or searches when moving to a different library
  • When changes are made to images, you are now always prompted to save changes when exiting SlideRocket
  • You can now delete a theme even if it is in use in presentations
  • Purchased images will now immediately show in your Asset Library
  • Wipe/Sparkle builds no longer flash before playing
  • If the first slide in a presentation has a transition, it now plays correctly in the full-screen player

Again, this is just a smattering of what was in our recent releases.  Hopefully, this info is helpful to you, and we will be doing these posts with every release going forward.  Let us know if you have any thoughts/questions!

Organize Your Content in Our New Private and Shared Folders

By Tracy Frey on May 14, 2009

One of the most powerful aspects of SlideRocket is the ability to easily collaborate with your colleagues. What could collaboration mean for you? Well, it means you never have to walk into a meeting again and be forced to utter these words: “Oh, I’m so sorry – looks like this is last quarter’s data.” It means you never have to search through gazillions of old presentations to find one slide you are looking for. It means if you change your logo, your message, your brand colors or just about anything about your organization, you can have your entire team up to date and on message instantly. It means no more emailing massive attachments and waiting for new drafts of your decks.

Pretty much, it means you will save time and money, your organization’s communications will be in sync, you will be able to solicit and receive feedback from your peers in real time, and you will be able to get the right message to the right audience at the right time. All of this, of course, will help you win new business (and look good while doing it!). In other words, it means presentation collaboration happiness.

As of today, we’re giving you 100% more happiness.  When you login to SlideRocket and go to any of your libraries (Presentations, Slides, Assets), you will now see two sets of folders and some set searches.  These folders are super cool, and here’s what you need to know about them:

My Private Folders

This section will contain content that can only be seen by you.  You can make new folders, and organize your private content however you like – you’re the only one who will see anything you keep in this area!

My Shared Folders

Now, this is where it gets fun.  If your company lets you, you can create folders in this area and assign permissions to the ENTIRE FOLDER.  That means anything you drag into that folder will automatically adopt those permissions. For example, I have created a “Marketing” folder. In this folder, I have given Nat Robinson and Mitch Grasso edit permissions. Now, when I have created a bunch of new Marketing presentations, instead of having to go through each one to give Nat and Mitch permission to edit them, I can just drag it into the Marketing folder and, voila! They can now see those presentations when they click on the Marketing folder in their accounts, and they can edit away.

Here’s what’s cool – you only see the folders you have permissions on. That way, SlideRocket does its part to help keep your presentation workspace clutter free!

Now, what if I have a presentation that I want to put in the Marketing folder, but I also want to share it with Brian Hollinger, who heads up our Inside Sales? No problem! I have a few options:

  1. I can add Brian to the Marketing folder, and give him either read-only or edit permissions, which means he will see everything in the Marketing folder
  2. I can highlight the item and click the “Share” icon if it is a presentation, or “Edit Permissions” on the right if it is a slide or asset, and add Brian
  3. I can right-click on the item, click “Share,” and add Brian that way.

As you can see, the first option has broader implications.  Brian will now have permission to at least view, if not edit, everything in the Marketing folder. If you don’t want this to happen, but you want him to see this one thing, your best bet is to use option two or three.

You may also have a situation where a particular item doesn’t fall neatly into a folder, but you want to share it with certain individuals. You can do that too! You’ll notice two special folder types with brackets around them at the top of your “Shared Folders” section: “My Shared Items” and “User Shared Folders.” These are bracketed because they don’t behave the same way as the other folders. You can’t delete them, change permissions on them, and you can’t move them.  But, they come in super handy for the problem you are trying to solve. In order to share something with specific individuals without creating a separate folder, you simply need to follow these two steps:

  1. Drag the folder or item in question into the “My Shared Items” folder
  2. Follow options 2 or 3 above to share that item with specific people

So, if I have a presentation that I want to share with just Mitch, once I follow the steps above, something super cool happens. When Mitch logs in, he will now see a “Tracy Frey” folder under his “User Shared Folders,” and low and behold, when he clicks on that folder, he will see the presentation I have shared with him. Pretty sweet, huh?

A couple of things to be aware of when playing with our new folders:

  • Just like on your desktop, you can’t have an item in two places – once you move something, it lives where you put it
  • Feel free to drag folders as well as items – also just like you would on your desktop!
  • If you drag an item or folder from your “Shared Folders” section into your “Private Folders” section, it will remove all the permissions that previously existed on that item or folder.  Please think carefully about whether you want this to happen
  • If you are looking for something in particular, don’t know it’s exact name to put in the search box, and don’t want to hunt through bunches of folders, you can use the set “Searches” on the bottom of the left rail to look for stuff – the same way you’ve been doing this in SlideRocket up until now
  • You can still tag anything you want! You’ll see tags in the set “Searches” area, and you can add tags there and tag away to your heart’s content. Tags function exactly the same as they always have.

That’s the basics about how our new folders work. We will have some thorough documentation about folders up very soon (Thanks Tara!). In the meantime, please play around with the new folders, and let us know what your feedback in the comments.  We believe folders will take your organization’s presentation collaboration to the next level, and of course we look forward to hearing what you think.

We have some other new features we just released as well – more info on those in a bit, so stay tuned!

Maintenance this evening

By Tracy Frey on

We just wanted to let everyone know that we will be performing some maintenance this evening.  We’re excited to show you the cool new features we’ve been working on!  More info on that in a bit.

SlideRocket will be down while we are upgrading, so if you are trying to login and you can’t we promise we’ll be back soon!  We have a bit of a special case with this evening’s upgrade, which involves the Offline Player/Desktop Presenter.  We will be releasing a new version of this, but we have to wait to do so until after our initial release.

This means that all of you who are using the Desktop Presenter will also need to upgrade to the latest version, or you will not be able to cache any new presentations to it.  You should be able to access the new Desktop Presenter later this evening.  I will update this post when it is all set.

Of course, we’re sorry for any inconvenience our maintenance may cause, but we think you will all be happy with the new toys coming your way!

UPDATE: The new Desktop Presenter is now available, so please upgrade to the new version (Beta v.75).

Experiencing some downtime

By Tracy Frey on May 12, 2009

We just wanted to let everyone know what we are aware that SlideRocket is not loading for people right now.  It appears our hosting provider is down at the moment, and  We are working closely with them, and they are doing everything they can to bring the service back up as quickly as possible.

We apologize terribly for the inconvenience, and will keep everyone posted.  Please email support@sliderocket.com with any questions.

Thanks,

The SlideRocket Crew

Update: Our provider is back up, and everything seems to be good. Thanks to everyone for your patience.

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