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I’m Caya, CEO of Slidebean, and This is How I Work

by Adam Noar

It’s time for a new edition of “This is how I work” … our special blog post series where we interview presentation experts to understand their routines, tools, hacks, resources and more.

Our guest this week is Caya – CEO and founder of Slidebean, a presentation hero who is on a mission to develop a presentation software that makes it easy for people to create beautiful presentations.

So without further ado, here’s how Caya works.

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Location: 

New York + Costa Rica

Current Gig:

CEO at Slidebean – a tool that makes it easier for presenters to create professional-looking slides by taking care of the design element. The software is a collection of design templates, selection of premium fonts and high-end color palettes that help define the overall design of presentations.

One word that best describes how you work: 

“Growth hacking” and making sure everyone has the tools and environment to do their best

Current computer:

MacBook Pro 15” Touch Bar

Preferred program for creating presentations (e.g., PowerPoint, Prezi, Slidebean):

I am legally bound to say Slidebean. #kiddingnotkidding

Before Slidebean I mostly used Keynote.

First of all, tell me a little about your background and how you got to where you are today?

I first started an undergrad in Computer Science but switched to Digital Animation after suffering from the lack of design in most of the stuff we were doing.

As I was close to finishing my degree, I came up with a concept for an iOS game and decided to run a Kickstarter campaign around it. It sort of blew up after Techcrunch picked it up and I found myself deep in this startup world, pretty much without notice.

We got a lot of stuff wrong in that first attempt at a startup, but I learned enough about the process of starting a company, and obviously what mistakes not to make again.

The need for a simpler, faster presentation tool was evident to me as I found myself spending hours tweaking my pitch deck to look great. Other founders I came across shared this struggle as well so the idea around Slidebean started forming in my head.

What presentation tools can’t you live without? Why?

Mmmm…

What’s your workspace setup like?

I sit next to the marketing team, in an open office format.

This is the current state of my desk and part of our office:

What’s is a trend you see in presentations right now?

In terms of presentation design, I would like to see a trend of simplicity and minimalism, and we do our best to promote it, but I can’t say I’ve witnessed a noticeable evolution (yet).

As for the industry, we have seen a lot of competitors close shop or significantly shrink their operations, mostly notably Bunkr which is a company we looked up to when we were starting up. Haiku Deck and slides.com also seem to be struggling. It seems that people aren’t willing to change platforms unless there’s a very big differentiation or change to the traditional slide creation approach.

Also, GIFs.

What’s is one of your biggest tips or secrets to creating awesome presentations?

Keep it simple and craft a story. Almost any presentation can be told as a story, with a setup, a turning point and a ‘catharsis’. People love hearing stories.

What’s your process/method for creating presentations? / What is one of your favorite presentation hacks/tips/tricks?

Content first. Don’t even think about design until you have all the content figured out.

What’s a great presentation related resource you use often?

I really liked Presentation Zen by Garr Reynolds, it’s probably THE book on presentations. We developed the UX for Slidebean in a way that would enforce encourage users to abide by the concepts and best practices Reynolds highlights in his book.

What makes you “cringe” the most when you think about a boring/ugly presentation slide?

Boring fonts. There are so many options for great fonts other than the “standard” ones that many people default to.

What do you listen to while you work on your presentations? Got a favorite playlist? Maybe talk radio? Or do you prefer silence? How do you get into the creative zone?

My perfect <wired in> playlist is The Social Network movie Soundtrack by Trent Reznor (Nine Inch Nails).

What are you currently reading in relation to presentations? What’s something you’d recommend for people to read?

Reddit.

How do you recharge? What do you do when you want to forget about work and presentations?

I play Civ VI. It requires all my concentration, which stops my brain from going back to work stuff.

What’s the one piece of advice you would tell someone before or during public speaking (delivering a presentation)?

There are two kinds of people, those who understand the subject and just come up with words as they go along; and those who need a script and they try to memorize it,

If you are the first, you’ll probably find public speaking easy. If you are the latter, embrace it, and use your slides as your flashcards. Don’t fill them with everything you have to say, but add key points that help you remember if you ever get stuck.

And Practice, Practice, Practice.

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The Presentation Panda: How I Work series asks presentation heroes, experts, and flat-out awesome people to share their shortcuts, workspaces, routines, and more. If you would like to be featured or have someone you want to see featured contact us here or sound off in the comments below!

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