Haiku Deck Rises From the Ashes of ‘Mix-N-Match with Sir Mix-A-Lot’

3/7/13Follow @bromano

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sometime down the road in subscription-based services, collaboration tools, and lead-generation through analysis of who is viewing decks posted online. When the company would add these features “depends how quickly we can grow the team,” he says.

Giant Thinkwell—a graduate of the initial TechStars Seattle class in 2010—has five employees plus an intern. The company has six job openings, Tratt says as he looks around a windowless conference room he painted a jarring orange.

“It might get tight,” he acknowledges, visualizing where added employees would go. He adds, “I wouldn’t be in this office space right now if I wasn’t very scrappy.”

With Creative Commons-licensed photos pulled from Flickr based on keywords in the slides (or your own photos), limited text, and the short duration the name suggests, Haiku Decks can have the feel of advertisements—which is perhaps a good thing in a presentation.

In some ways, this puts more onus on the presenter. You can’t fall back on a slide of nested bullet points to convey your information. You’ve got to know it cold and smooth to fill in the ample blanks imposed by Haiku Deck best practices. Also a good thing.

“We’re giving you a framework to do it correctly,” Tratt says. “Does that mean you’re automatically going to be Tony Robbins? No. We’re just helping you do it better.”

Haiku Deck has benefited from good publicity, but Tratt says its best marketing has been word-of-mouth.

“When you make a presentation it’s almost always because you want to share it with someone else, so the product is naturally viral,” he points out.

Early adopters have been the people you’d expect: entrepreneurs and marketers, professional presenters and salespeople, teachers and students. That represents a significant target market, where Giant Thinkwell is focusing now. (The company doesn’t see Haiku Deck as a tool for the most important presentations someone does all year—the ones you work on for three months with the help of a McKinsey consultant and a design agency, the ones a Microsoft middle manager gives to Steve Ballmer. Sage advice there.)

Beyond the current target market are consumers who are sharing more stories than ever—a “hidden opportunity” for the company to pursue in the future.

“You need look no further than your Facebook wall to see all the ways people are using photos and words to share stories,” Tratt says.

Benjamin Romano is editor of Xconomy Seattle. Email him at bromano [at] xconomy.com. Follow @bromano

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  • http://twitter.com/HaikuDeck Haiku Deck

    Great story, Ben. Thank you! Your impression of the office has motivated us to invest in the decor. We’ll aim for more of a “first apartment” look than “dorm room,” by the time you visit the next time. ;-)

  • http://twitter.com/bcrimmins Bob Crimmins

    Good story, Ben. Adam and Kevin are smart, scrappy entrepreneurs and the Haiku Deck product continues to impress.

    Someone please post a pic of “jarring orange”.