Time is money (does that mean money is time?), so I pick and choose what conferences I attend very carefully. I’ve got to have a high level of confidence that I’ll be able to learn something valuable, bring it back to my staff or others in the company and expand my network of people that will be mutually beneficial. I also try to make efficient use of that trip by seeing a vendor or client, or visit an operations center.
We’re all cutting back on travel which means fewer events. So if we slow or cut attendance, is there a way to still get access to those presentations and interesting ideas? Well how about using the Internet? I’ve been using SlideShare for over a year for just this express purpose. If you’re not familiar with SlideShare, it’s a community web site that allows anyone who wants to join the ability to upload their PowerPoint presentations and tag them. You can search the content by categories, tags, community members, lots of ways. The slide shows can be viewed right on the page, expanded to full screen, and most can be downloaded. All can be shared with colleagues in a simple forward to a friend feature. Some also have audio, so it’s almost like being in the presentation.
Here’s how I use SlideShare to expand my knowledge and help me keep up on trends.
- I visit almost daily to see what has been surfaced by the SlideShare staff. Usually there is at least one deck that is somewhat relevant to myself or a colleague.
- I search on my favorite key terms; usability, social media, mobile, or whatever information I need at the time.
- I keep track of the conferences that I might like to attend, but won’t be able to, and search for presentations specifically from those conferences when they close.
- I search for forward thinkers by name to see what they have posted. Many of them have their own SlideShare space and a profile. You can also connect with them directly.
- I pass along relevant slide shows to my staff and colleagues.
Here’s a great example. I couldn’t attend the recent Web 2.0 Conference in San Francisco. I scanned the agenda on their conference site and discovered that Mary Meeker from Morgan Stanley was going to present her annual Internet Trends presentation. This is one I always try to get my eyes on. Sure enough only days after the conference ended, there it was on SlideShare. All this information, zero travel.
SlideShare continues to make improvements in their design and usability. They had some reliability issues at first, but those seem to be ironed out now. Give it a try. Oh by the way, here’s a link to my SlideShare space.