MonthSeptember 2012

Love Notes (with Three Bonus Fan Haikus)

Our official sources tell us it’s love note day. Of course you already know how we feel about you, but it seems like the perfect opportunity to share some of the warm and fuzzy Haiku Deck love that’s been pouring in. Behold, three exquisite fan haikus about Haiku Deck, that we’ve taken the liberty of making into exquisitely illustrated Haiku Decks. Wait, what? We need more coffee…

Fan Haiku #1, by Annie Weisman of Spark* Inc:

Fan Haiku #1 – Created with Haiku Deck, presentation software that inspires

Fan Haiku #2, by @kindergeek:

Fan Haiku #2 – Created with Haiku Deck, presentation software that inspires

Fan Haiku #3, by Michael Gowin of Renovate Communication Design (and which originally appeared in this fantastic review of Haiku Deck):

Fan Haiku #3 – Created with Haiku Deck, presentation software that inspires

Feel inspired to use Haiku Deck to write a love note (to someone special, to your fans, to a brand, to a sports team, to the world)? Let us know in the comments!

And, above all else, thanks again for all the love.






The Manatee Problem and Other Pitfalls: Guest Q&A with Joby Blume

Last week we noticed a Twitter comment from Joby Blume, managing consultant at Bright Carbon, that Haiku Deck could encourage the selection of “near random” imagery that might ultimately weaken presentations. We invited him to elaborate on the topic in this guest post, and he graciously shared his expertise and insights. 

Haiku Deck: What’s your philosophy on presentation design, in a nutshell? 

Joby: Well, first of all it’s important to note that a presentation is more than just the slides – a presentation also needs a presenter. People seem to forget this basic point – slides can be put on SlideShare, or emailed – but without narration that’s not the whole presentation, it’s just the slides. The best way to design slides for SlideShare isn’t the same as the best way to create slides to actually use in a presentation.

A presentation needs to make the most of the interplay between slides and presenter. If the slides are self-explanatory, then the presenter gets ignored while the audience just read for themselves. If the slides aren’t relevant or helpful, then the presenter ends up giving a speech, not a presentation. There needs to be a balance – slides should help audiences to understand what’s being said, without making the presenter unnecessary.

Haiku Deck: What most makes you cringe in a poorly designed presentation?

Joby: There are levels of poor presentation design. Most slides are awful – full of text, often in font sizes that can’t even be seen by the audience. That’s the bottom level of awful. People who just never even thought about what they are doing too much, and used PowerPoint to type – just because they can.

text-dense Powerpoint slide

Not like this. (Creative Commons licensed image by Oran Viriyincy)

Quite a lot of people are starting to understand that bullet-points don’t work, and are moving away from text-heavy slides. But what people do instead doesn’t always work either. It isn’t enough to stop using bullet points and assume that every slide you create will be awesome.

I saw a slide yesterday with six separate diagrams on. It looked professional in the sense that I think a graphic designer had created it, but they hadn’t thought about the unique medium of presentations. I think the logic of cramming things together was to try to keep the number of slides down, but it’s better to have more slides and present them faster. Where was the audience meant to look when shown six diagrams at once? The slide was un-presentable, even though it wasn’t text heavy at all. Slides don’t just need images – they need the right images.

Haiku Deck: You mentioned that the increasingly popular “zen” presentation style can lead to some pitfalls. Could you elaborate on that a bit?

Joby: When Steve Jobs stood up to launch the iPhone or iPad, he could show beautiful images of the products behind him on stage. These product shots were relevant – they were photos of what he was selling. And of course Steve jobs didn’t need a lot of support from his slides – he would have been confident standing up on stage and giving a speech anyway.

For the rest of us, things aren’t as simple as that. We can’t show product shots if we aren’t talking about products. We might not feel comfortable giving a speech. We sometimes need our slides to help us get the point across, but we can’t do that if we put up a beautiful picture of a snow-capped mountain when we are talking about complex derivatives. It’s the manatee problem – where slides look like they have been created almost at random with pretty photos and buzzwords that are too far removed from the actual message.


Ooo, pretty. (Creative Commons licensed image by JessieHarrell)

Joby: If you are giving a zen style presentation, using Haiku Deck or “the hard way,” ask yourself two questions:

  1. Does this image actually help the audience to understand what I’m saying?
  2. Would this image need to change if I was saying the exact opposite of what I’m trying to say?

If the answer to either question is “no,” then think about finding a more relevant image. Your slides need to be more than decoration. Don’t be scared to find or make some images of your own – create a chart, or sketch a diagram. Sometimes that’s the best way to explain your message. You can still use your own images in Haiku Deck – don’t worry!

Haiku Deck: What’s the best presentation you’ve ever seen, and what did you love about it?

Joby: For a conference-style presentation (on stage, with a large audience), perhaps Dick Hardt’s Identity 2.0 talk:

The slides aren’t beautiful, but they support the message, and presenter and slides work in perfect harmony. There’s an incredible number of slides – but they only show for a second or two each. It works.

The best presentation I’ve seen to a small group was really more like a visual conversation, with a lot of interactivity and back-and-forth. Seeing my colleague Richard having a visual sales conversation while using an iPad is pretty awesome.

A Love Letter to Our Fans


It turns out Love Note Day is sometime next week (who decides these things, anyway?) but we just can’t wait that long. We need to shower our fans with some love right now.

Last Friday afternoon, we released a new version of Haiku Deck, and poof! All the glowing comments and 4&5-star reviews pretty much vanished into thin air. Suddenly, all we had showing was a couple of spammy reviews claiming that Haiku Deck was a complete waste of $$ (umm, it’s free). Meanwhile, this awesome write-up of Haiku Deck in Fast Company Design was sending tons of people to iTunes to check us out, and it just didn’t look good.

We put the word out, and wow, did our community deliver. Fans–even very new fans–took the time to click through to iTunes and add their comments. We got our 4-star average back in a matter of hours. On the weekend!

To each of you who helped us out, thank you. And really, to every single one of our fans, thank you for being so crazy amazing, every single day. Thank you for tweeting to us, writing to us, writing about us, telling your friends about us, and sharing your ideas. Thank you for every single Haiku Deck you have published. We are doing our best to keep up with it all, but just in case we missed you, thank you. This one’s for you:

Created with Haiku Deck, presentation software that’s simple, beautiful and fun.


Telling the Full Story

One thing I particularly love about Haiku Deck is how I can tell a complete story by combining my personal photos with Creative Commons-licensed images. A couple weeks ago we took a family road trip to Ironman Canada, and I made this Haiku Deck to document our adventure.

Created with Haiku Deck, presentation software that’s simple, beautiful and fun.

For most of it I used my own iPhone snaps, but there were a few things I wanted to include that I just didn’t end up with great pictures of (bad lighting, dead battery, missed the moment, etc.) With a few quick keyword searches right from the app, I could round out my own photo set with top-notch images of the swim start, the famous Penticton Peach, and even (unbelievably) the exact burger and beer we enjoyed at our post-race fuel stop, Burger 55 (highly recommended, by the way).

Katie Boehret commented on this, too, in her review of Haiku Deck for the Wall Street Journal:

When I used Haiku Deck to make a deck of my trip to Charlottesville, the app’s smart suggestions of photos that might go with keywords in my slides were entertaining to look at and I used several photos from Creative Commons to supplement images I didn’t have. For example, one night we wandered the University of Virginia campus, but I didn’t take any photos that came out well in the dark. Haiku Deck suggested a huge list of images related to the keyword “UVA,” and I typed “night” into the search box to get more specific images.

The best part, though, is how much fun it is create this kind of slideshow. As Katie put it, “I sat on my couch and watched TV as I made presentations. I really enjoyed the process; it was fun and it didn’t feel like work to me.” You can take my word for it: It’s far, far easier than competing in–or spectating at–an Ironman.

We’d love to see your Haiku Deck trip recap! Add a link in the comments below, or tweet it with the hashtag #HaikuDeck for a chance to be featured in our Gallery.

Analytics for Haiku Decks

Graphical analytics are now available for your Haiku Decks! Here’s how to view them:

  1. Sign in to the website
  2. Go to Gallery > My Gallery
  3. Next to each Haiku Deck, you’ll see ‘Edit’, ‘Privacy,’ and ‘Views’
  4. Click ‘Views’ to see how many people have viewed your deck, and when


Art Museums and Creativity

Over the weekend we were inspired by Nan Braun, who took us on a virtual trip to MOMA with this striking and thought-provoking Haiku Deck.

Created with Haiku Deck, presentation software that’s simple, beautiful and fun.

She totally captures the flow of creative inspiration, when the experience of viewing art triggers connections and memories, and opens up new artistic possibilities. This is one of the reasons we talked about camping out in the Seattle Art Museum lobby for a week when we were building Haiku Deck. Although we never actually did that (well, not yet, anyway), we are reminded daily how being surrounded by creativity makes us feel more creative. As Kevin puts it, “When I’m putting a deck together and I’m scrolling through all these amazing photos, it inspires me to make my presentation even more amazing.”

What inspires your creativity? Leave us a comment and let us know.

Help! I Can’t Find My Haiku Deck When I Export to PowerPoint!

Export Troubleshooting (iPad Only)

When you export to PowerPoint or Keynote from Haiku Deck, the Mail app on your iPad will automatically open for you to email the exported “.pptx” file as an attachment, which can be opened on a computer with PowerPoint or Keynote.

However, if the exported PowerPoint file is too large to email, or you encounter issues sending it from your email account, you can always retrieve exported decks by connecting your iPad to a computer with iTunes.  Here’s how:

  1. Plug your iPad into your computer via the standard USB cable that it came with.
  2. Open iTunes on your computer.
  3. After a moment, you can select the iPad in the left sidebar (or you can click the iPad button in the top right corner in the newest version of iTunes)
  4. Click the apps tab near top/center of iTunes.
  5. Scroll down to the File sharing section (below where you see “sync apps”) .
  6. Find Haiku Deck in the File sharing list and click it.
  7. Your Haiku Deck exports will appear in the list of Haiku Deck documents.
  8. Select the deck you want and click the “save to” button below the list of files.

Help! I Want To Use My Own Images, But I Can’t See Them

Accessing Local Photos (iPad Only)

Most people don’t think about it, but photos on your iPad often contain hidden location tags in them. In order for the Haiku Deck iPad App to access these images, you need to allow the app to use “location data.” If you deny this permission the first time you run Haiku Deck, your local photos may not appear.

If you’re trying to use images  stored on your iPad in a Haiku Deck and you can’t see them when you click the “IMPORT” button, try this simple fix.

If you’re on iOS 6 or 7:

  1. Go into to your iPad’s settings menu.
  2. Choose “privacy” on the left.
  3. Choose “photos” on the right.
  4. Find Haiku Deck in the list of apps that appears.
  5. Turn location services ON for Haiku Deck.

If you haven’t upgraded to iOS 6, the process is a little different:

  1. Go into your iPad’s settings menu.
  2. Choose “location services” on the left.
  3. Find Haiku Deck in the list of apps that appears.
  4. Turn location services ON.

The next time you try to access local images, they should appear.

Learn more:  Import Images to Haiku Deck Like a Pro.

And if you’re still having issues or you have a question, please drop us a line in our Support community!

Easy As Mom’s Brisket

When we set out to make Haiku Deck we had a few product goals. “Make it easy” topped the list, along with “deliver flawless beauty.” With these in hand, we sat down to establish benchmarks for measuring our success. During that meeting I joked that I would know we had achieved our goal of making Haiku Deck easy if my mom could create a deck without needing to call me for technical support. Don’t get me wrong- my mom is an intelligent, creative, and incredibly talented woman. She raised not one, but two “computer genius” sons (neither of us can write a line of code), she runs a medical office entirely by computer (1980’s era, no less), and she had the foresight to buy her sons an Apple II+ when all they wanted was an Atari. All this, and mom makes a brisket famous the world over.

Like lots of moms and dads out there, she didn’t grow up around computers and can’t always make sense of them. So we kept mom in mind when we were designing Haiku Deck.

When I told mom about our meeting and how we tried to build a product that she could enjoy using without a technical support call, she responded with the most delicous deck we’ve seen yet. When I asked her if we could share it on the blog she said, “Sure, just as long as you don’t call me for technical support when you’re making the brisket.”

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