When was the last time a presentation tool gave you a must-have feeling?
Prezi does that to you. Prezi is an online, nonlinear presentation tool from Zui Labs based in Budapest, Hungary. It makes the user think differently about the presentation by using zooming as a central part of the storytelling. The user can zoom in and out on pictures, videos, notes and PDF's, thus making the presentation more alive and flexible. You work with your presentation online, after which you can dowload it on your computer. The best way to get an idea what Prezi is about is to take a tour in their tutorials and try out for yourself.
Prezi, one ot the 19 Rising Sun Startup Rally finalists on The Next Web Conference, went public yesterday after being in closed beta for almost a year. Along with the launch they released Prezi Desktop for offline work, updated editor, and most of all, a freemium model with three different types of licenses. The core difference between the three is that the free one only supports public presentations, you can't make them private.
One of the people behind Prezi is Swedish Peter Arvai, the CEO of the company. Peter, previously Mobispine, has a wide experience on launching startups on an international scale. He can also be found on this years list of The Entreprenour of The Year, presented by Internetworld. (In Swedish)
My first Prezi experience
My tip, don't start with your first Prezi on the night before your presentation. It takes a while to get into the mindset of how it's supposed to work, but as soon as you get it, and trust me you will, it's a nice ride. There was no hazzle in downloading the presentation afterwards and it ran as smoothly online as offline. Regarding the editor I'd like to have the Undo function closer to the actual editing, and I found the Clear Path function dangerously close to the Path function.
Strengths of Prezi
- It challenges. It's ability to think different, to be able to create both great user and end user experience. "Don't do better sameness" as Guy Kawasaki tells you in The Art of Start.
- It creates the "Wow, I want that" feeling, like the very first time one came across with Spotify. I applied for the beta account the same day I saw my first Prezi presentation, and I also put a great deal of thought on motivating why I should receive one. There's a lot of proud twittering going on about presenting with Prezi, e.g. The Institute for the Future (IFTF) have been holding workshops using Prezi for a half a year now and are in love .
- Responsive team. The team has been very responsive to it's users which makes Prezi a better product together with increased customer loyalty.
- Business model. The company seemingly has a very clear idea about how to monetize and is not afraid to put a prise on the product.
What about the Freemium model?
I don't see why the freemium model wouldn't work, though I don't think the key factor should be having to decide whether I want my presentations to be public or private. I'd rather prefer and recommend the Flickr model where I get to choose my privacy option without having to pay for it. I think presentations have the same privacy value as for example photos. With Flickr you pay for more storage and other value added functions, not for the basics.
When it comes to the beta accounts, I also would've liked to see a more generous offer to them. Now all the beta accounts are transferred to trial mode which includes three presentations and downloads, no time limit though. I think it's very important to give back to and embrace the crowd, especially with such a strong indicators of user commitment.
Future of Prezi
I think Prezi has a strong future. Let's face it, it will not fix your poor presentation skills or your poor message, with them it will still be a lousy presentation. But with Prezi there's at least a chance the audience won't stick a fork in their thighs to stay awake, nor will they feel totally ripped off.
Ps. No plans for the Easter and curious of Budapest? Good news, Prezi is throwing a release party on Holy Thursday, 9th of April.