Lineage of the 100-400 slide PPT

February 19th, 2014


5727330912_ca5a5a7760graphic by Frits Ahlefeldt-Laurvig

There is the  Mandel approach to power points in presentations where one is suppose to spend 3 minutes per slide, thus a 60 minute presentation is 20 slides or less.

How about going the other way, showing 3 or more slides per minute?

Sound crazy? I like this approach. It’s the median between a film and a speaker with no slides. I like visuals in presentations and too many words tend to overwhelm me and eventually tune me out. Not only does too much text overwhelm but it conflicts with the speaker. If I’m reading the slide then I end up missing out on what the speaker is saying.

I found the following slide presentation from a few years ago  inspiring.

The above video by Stéphane Faroult was  inspired by

and that  video was partially influenced by Lawrence Lessig

One friend of mine, Connor McDonald, has done over 400 slides in 60 minutes. An example of his slides  is at


video is at

As Edward Tufte, who railed against the bullet point power presentation style,  if one wants detailed content, print it out and let the attendees read them later. Wonder what Tufte would think of these presentations.





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  2. | #1

    Interesting. I found the first video informative, and a creative way of giving a short lecture over WebEx. But, in the case of the second one, I found it entertaining, but gimmicky. For example, if it was my job to lecture or give an unusual Ted talk, then that might be an angle. But, obviously, those types of decks are not geared to be conversation engaging or information uncovering; which is the goal of my meetings with customers. Though, the next time I get invited to speak at a convention, I am going to take a stab at doing it the way Lessig (and his followers) did.

    Not every approach works in every case (which is why everyone needs multiple purpose-built decks).

    First link: Good for a WebEx
    Second link and your friend’s link: Good for a WebEx or Convention Preso

  3. | #2

    The first one I saw was:

    but I remember reading an interview with him, and he referenced Kathy Sierra (a blogger of some repute a while back). Her blog referenced Lessig, and that Lessig ultimately came back to Steve Jobs.

    Not that Jobs was the “many slide” style, but that Apple were perhaps the first real high profile examples of slides without the standard company template etc etc…that each slide could be just a picture, or a word, or an icon… Digging around further, I remember reading some really good inspirational stuff not by Jobs, but by the guys whose job it was to produce the slides for Jobs to speak to.

    The real “light bulb” moment was not the style…it was the guys from apple who spoke of having to do the slides….

    They kept talking about how the slide flow/content/etc was paramount…that you couldnt slack off on them. They should take time, lots of effort, and they should (in apple speak) transform people’s lives…

  4. | #3

    I will concede that once I did a full day seminar using my many slide technique…Once the slide count headed into 4 figures before lunch…the attendees did start to look like this:


  5. | #4

    Love the CWO quote, and there are some things worse than death, you know. 😉

  6. | #5

    Love the CWO reference, and there are some things worse than death, you know. 😉

  7. S. Faroult
    | #6

    Just to give a bit of background, I initially did my “Best Practices” presentation for a “lunch and learn” session in a French bank – I must add that the lunch was provided by a reputed caterer, and that I was talking last, dessert time (I discovered it on the spot). I needed the eyes on the screen, not on the food tray, hence 293 slides in 20 minutes; without this type of presentation, I was dead. I had no remote control at the time, and most slides were fired automatically (with a pause here and there allowing me to resync); much harder to do live than in a recorded video. I have evolved the style since then, and now my cruise speed, whether I give a 1:30 class (teaching a lot of students currently) or a two-day seminar is one slide per minute; however, first most slides contain animations, and more than one – I sometimes do on one slide things I could do by fading several slides; second, speed isn’t constant. The true difficulty, I think, is to give a rhythm to slides, and not to have rhythm dictated by slides.

1 + = four