SlideRocket Blog

UI 2.0 – Bringing Sexy Back

By Nat Robinson on September 18, 2008

Next week Mitch Grasso our CEO and Co-Founder is bringing sexy back by participating in a Silicon Valley Web Builder discussion panel that will tackle the topic of user interface 2.0. What is it? How is it defined? What does it look like? These questions and more will be answered by a great panel of Silicon Valley talent including Bill Wetherell, Director of UI Design at AOL, Elaine Wherry, VP of Products at Meebo and Stephen P. Anderson, VP of Design at Viewzi and moderated by Holly Liu, Director of User Experience and Co-Founder at Watercooler Inc.

There will be snacks, drinks and a raffle not to mention a great discussion. We hope to see you all there.

When: 9/24/2008 Wed 7:00-9:30pm

Where: AOL Campus – 401 Ellis Street, Mountain View, CA -  Room: Shasta

We’ve Got Your Public Beta Right Here

Today we opened up the SlideRocket beta to the public. Despite a couple of hiccups for Linux and Google Chrome users (resolved quickly), it went gangbusters. Welcome to all the new beta users who signed up and thanks again to all the private beta testers who helped get us to this point.

The public beta is our best release yet and has a whole host of new collaboration features to check out. You can create up to 4 additional users in your account and start using all the collaboration goodness like a shared slide and asset library, working  together on a presentation, sharing presentations or slides and setting permissions to determine user rights. You can hold web meetings and share your slides online around the world, and you can use SlideRocket metrics to see which of your peers has seen your slides…and which haven’t.

We’d love to know what you think of the new collaboration features and how you’re using them so feel free to fire an email to feedback@sliderocket.com. In the meantime, go forth and collaborate.

A SlideRocket for Every Platform

By Nat Robinson on September 2, 2008

We’re attending Office 2.0 this week and have been issued our attendee device du conference, the HP 2133 mini-note PC running HP Suse Enterprise Linux. We knew in theory our Flex based application would run on Suse Linux becuase Adobe Flash is supported across pretty much every major platform, (one of the major reasons it’s so great to develop on) but we wanted to see for ourselves. We’re jazzed to report that SlideRocket runs great on HP’s version of Suse Linux in FireFox 2.0.0.13 with exactly the same look and feel, functionality, and delivery of content as in Windows running Opera or Mac OS running Safari with absolutely no tweaking or adjustment required. This means that whatever client OS you have you can edit, manage, collaborate, present, share and measure your slides on your device, a friend’s, at an event or in a cafe. Wherever you go, SlideRocket will be.

Office 2.0 – Document Management 2.0

By Nat Robinson on August 27, 2008

We just found out that Mitch Grasso SlideRocket’s CEO & Co-founder will be part of the Document Management 2.0 panel at Office 2.0 next Thursday, September 4th, 2008, 3:30pm-4:15pm at the St. Regis in San Francisco. This session should be a doozy and also includes Jason Harrop from Plutext, Gregg Johnson from Salesforce.com, David Terrar from WordFrame and is mediated by Francois Ragnet from Xerox. The whole event is shaping up to be a fantastic look into the issues that offices of today are presented with. Hope to see you all there.

SlideRocket Hiphop Beg In

By Nat Robinson on August 12, 2008

We received our first beta request in hiphop / rap / rhyme today. We were so impressed with the spirit of the email (not to mention the rhymin’) that we had to share it with everyone.

SLIDEROCKET HIPHOP BEG IN

My name is Douggie A and I’m dying to try it
I’m beggin’ you to Beta me so I can jump in and fly it.
My marketing acumen needs a new tool
Your Web site shows an app that is makin’ me drool
I want to use it now and look incredibly cool.
This little hip hop song might seem a bit brash
But I want to shove my #!*&! PowerPoint right into the trash.

Douggie A. / Atlanta

We love the enthusiasm! Thanks Douggie, your beta account invite is on the way.

See Us at Office 2.0

By Nat Robinson on August 4, 2008

Office 2.0 2008 kicks off in less than a month at the St. Regis hotel in San Francisco and SlideRocket will be there to greet you. Come find us at the event and we’ll be happy to walk you through a demo and show you how we’re working on Presentations 2.0. We’ll be giving away a single user annual SlideRocket subscription for each day of the event so be sure to stop by the demo area and drop your business card in the bowl to qualify. Sign up now and receive $100 off the conference registration fee. Hope to see you all there!

Rocketeers Wanted

By Nat Robinson on July 11, 2008

We published a new job post for an Inside Sales Rep today on our jobs page. This person will be responsible for helping us set up our telesales business to work with prospects in understanding their presentation needs and illustrating how SlideRocket can fulfill them.  Apart from a very competitive compensation package and a great team of smart people to work with, it’s a chance to help build a new SaaS business from the ground up and bring an amazing product to a market that is clamoring for better presentation solutions.

While SlideRocket offers all kinds of ways to do presentations better, one of the biggest challenges we’ll face is convincing users to make the investment to switch from what they know to something they don’t, from a shrink-wrapped desktop solution with a monopolized market and mind share to a no-wrap, cloud based solution full of potential energy. There’s two pieces of good news. Number 1 – People LOVE SlideRocket, we’ve had amazing responses from beta users and that’s exactly the brand experience we want. Number 2 – It’s not us that needs to keep looking over our shoulder ;-)

SlideRocket is uniquely positioned to become the next big thing in presentation technology, now we just need someone to take the orders. The Inside Sales Rep position is a great chance to get into SlideRocket pre-launch and we’d love to hear from qualified candidates. Come be a rocketeer!

Release Notes

By Nat Robinson on June 23, 2008

We are progressing quickly to our upcoming public beta launch and pushed a major new build last week that fixes tons of issues and adds some often requested new features. Before we get to the new stuff, we just want to send out a huge thanks to the over 300 beta testers who have sent in bug reports. We are a small team (smaller than most of you might think) and your support and feedback has been tremendously helpful. Please keep it up!

So here’s some of the stuff we just released:

Scalability Improvements

The SlideRocket servers have been running beyond our expectations. We’ve let in over 7,500 beta users and had no unplanned downtime this year. But we haven’t sat still and are working hard to make sure that we can handle a large load of silmutaneous users as well as large groups of people collaborating together within a single organization or across multiple organizations. This new release has a lot of changes underneath the hood to make sure things run smoothly as we grow. Most of them won’t directly impact your experience but, one that will is…

Improved Startup Speed

Due to optimizations in how and when SlideRocket loads data, you should now see about an 85% speed improvement in startup when logging into SlideRocket.

Playback Performance

A few people have commented on the lag between clicking to go to the next slide and when the slide loaded. Obviously, this is a big difference between SlideRocket and desktop tools since we are loading data from a remote server instead of your local hard drive. With this new version of SlideRocket, the next slide or video is pre-cached once the current slide has finished loading. As long as you don’t click too quickly, you’ll notice near instant transitioning to the next slide and no longer have to wait for video to buffer.

Auto-Recovery

Probably the number one issue that was frustrating users was losing unsaved work if their connection timed out or they hit an unrecoverable bug. With this release we’ve introduced auto-recovery of unsaved work. We think this is a better solution than just auto-saving all the time since you can decide if you want to recover anything you wasn’t saved the next time you connect. Rest assured, you aren’t working without a safety net anymore. And, if that’s not enough, we also added….

Presentation Versioning

We’ve had the ability to revert to a previous version of a slide for a little while but with this new release, you can also revert to a previous version of your entire presentation. Every time you save the presentation a new version is created that you can revert to. Deleted slides and assets can all be recovered if needed.

Improved Flickr Import

We’ve got a ton of plans for integrating with external content services but we felt that the current Flickr import needed some improvements immediately. First of all, we’ve added options for sorting your results which should help you find the right image faster. We also automatically add attribution tooltips to creative commons licensed-images now. And, finally, now when you import a Flickr image it’s imported into your asset library as opposed to just linked back to Flickr. This takes up a little bit of disk space but saves you from worrying if the image is removed or when you want to work offline.

Collaboration

Some of the biggest changes in this new release were around enabling collaboration within and across organizations. SlideRocket lets you share assets, slides, and presentations with others while setting user and group-based permissions. We’ve got a little bit more testing to do on collaboration features and plan to start letting people use these new features this week.

Presentation Audio

We’ve always had the ability to playback an audio file per slide but, due to popular request, we’ve also added the feature to set an audio file to play across all your slides. Coupled with slide auto-advancing and looping features,  you can now create unattended presentations to run in SlideRocket.

Image Cropping

Another obvious one. You can now non-destructively crop and scale images within SlideRocket.

We hope you like the new features and performance improvements. As always please send your ideas and observations to feedback@sliderocket.com.

Vacancy – Training & Support Manager

By Nat Robinson on May 30, 2008

We just posted a job vacancy on the web site for a training and support manager and we’d love to hear from you or someone you know if you think there’s a fit. This is a great opportunity for the right person to get deeply involved in an early stage company to define and establish two very critical service components then decide how these parts of the business mature. Like any startup there’s always something to do, we work long hours and we’re all passionate believers that what we’re building will go way beyond the kind of presentation software that’s available today. If you’re into it, come join the team.

Size Matters

By Nat Robinson on May 16, 2008

Recently one of our beta users (we’ll call her Kelly) was trying to upload a large 42Mb Flash animation file.

“Hi, I am trying to add a flash animation to a presentation that is 42meg and am hitting a limit that you have set for these. I am not sure why you have a limit here as it prevents me from using this animation. Warm regards, Kelly”.

Apparently size does matter to Kelly so we said…

“Hi Kelly, Thanks again for writing to SlideRocket. Our main concern is that viewing presentations with massively large assets will result in a more sluggish viewer experience due to the fact that they will have to download all of the presentation as they view it. We are after all a web application, and the web is the medium we all use for data transfer. With that said, we can understand the need for more upload disk space and are consulting internally on raising upload limits. Hope that helps. Please keep writing in with your suggestions. SlideRocket Mission Control”.

shortly thereafter Kelly replied…

“Thanks for the quick follow up and willingness to make changes. I think the justification for changing this limit is in fact you are not just a web application. From a users viewpoint you are both web and a nonweb application. After all that is what Sliderocket is for isn’t it? I personally cannot be dependent of having internet connection when I am giving presentations and imagine many others would be the same. Thanks, Kelly”.

and so we said…

“Hi Kelly, You’ve prompted some spirited discussion here and we’ve decided to increase the file size uppload limit to 100MB. Due to where we are in our release cycle, it might be a week or two until we are able to push out the new build to our servers. Thanks for your patience and great input. SlideRocket Mission Control”.

and then Kelly said…

“It is always nice to feel like someone is listening… I appreciate it. Kelly”.

We are listening and we absolutely appreciate all the beta feedback. Thanks Kelly and everyone else who’s helping us make SlideRocket into a world class product. SlideRocket is committed to providing you with the best tools, content and services to make your presentations great.

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