Real Talk San Diego (RTSD) spearheaded an interview with Rick Enrico, Founder and CEO of SlideGenius, last September 24, 2015.
During his interview with Jack Rowell, Ralph Peters and Soledad Ramirez, Rick discussed how SlideGenius started and what motivated him to pursue a presentation design agency that targets corporate industries.
He also mentioned how business firms don’t spend enough time polishing their slide presentations, when these will be what could net them the sales they’re looking for.
When asked about most people’s misconceptions about PowerPoint, Rick explained his belief of how this tool helps professionals deliver visually-appealing presentation: “It’s not the tool. It’s the presenter.”
So if you need assistance from SlideGenius’ team of expert designers to craft presentations that will “wow” your colleagues and audiences, pitch with Rick. He knows what he’s talking about.
Listen to Rick Enrico’s complete interview at ESPN radio.
The following transcript was lightly condensed and edited for clarity.
Jack Rowell: Okay now the question, how much money is left on the table due to bad business presentations?
Rick Enrico, SlideGenius is here to enlighten. Hi, Rick.
Rick Enrico: How are ya?
Jack Rowell: I’m great, thanks for coming by.
Rick Enrico: Thank you for having me.
Jack Rowell: Okay so first of all, what is SlideGenius all about?
Rick Enrico: We are a business presentation agency focused on providing corporations and business executives with great visual storytelling.
Jack Rowell: And how did SlideGenius get started? Was there a need?
Rick Enrico: The irony is, it’s an accidental business. I had a software company back in 2008 and I was trying to raise my Series A financing with the venture capitalists so I was going back and forth to San Francisco and 2008 was probably the worst time to try and raise capital.
Jack Rowell: I heard that was a bad time.
Rick Enrico: Yeah so what happened, I had about a hundred “no’s” and I kept on hearing what a great presentation I had.
Rick Enrico: True story, one of the VC’s said, “Hey, every time you come up here, your presentations are always pretty good. If this software thing doesn’t work out, you should open up a presentation agency.” And I don’t know if it was just subconsciously dropped in the back of my mind, but it started off as a side business and I was just kind of helping out my buddies and in 2012, I decided to take it a little more serious[ly].
Jack Rowell: Oh, there’s so many businesses that start that way. And now you’re opening up in Southeast Asia. So what’s the formula for SlideGenius to succeed?
Rick Enrico: The formula. Well my father’s a serial entrepreneur and he has a saying that it’s all about the people. And I think what I’ve seen that allows us to grow is two very simple things: I absolutely love my employees and number two, I think we all just love our clients. And those two simple things I would tell any business executive or entrepreneur. If you can have that, you have the chance at having greater success with your company.
Jack Rowell: Right on. You love your people, you’re gonna treat them better and then they’re gonna act right or work harder for you, and the same happens with your clients, too?
Rick Enrico: Absolutely.
Jack Rowell: So what’s next for SlideGenius?
Rick Enrico: Products. One of our large global clients came to us about 18 months ago. They said, “Hey, Rick, we got this problem of managing all our slides and presentations across our 24 countries. If you build a product for us, we’ll be your first client.” And so, we set out to build a product called SlideSuite, which helps these larger corporations manage all the content within their enterprise.
Jack Rowell: So that would be a bunch of videos, or a bunch of just document information or all of that?
Rick Enrico: All presentations and slides. You know corporate America spends a lot of time and money on slide presentations.
Jack Rowell: Nice. Okay, now who are your primary clients for your service?
Rick Enrico: Our primary clients could be the start-up CEO all the way to the C-suite. But about 60% of our business resides in corporate marketing.
Jack Rowell: Now what verticals and industries are you guys going after, or what’s a better suit for you guys?
Rick Enrico: We’ve touched about 30 different verticals, so we’re vertical agnostic, if you will. Technology, software, banking, finance, healthcare, medical – we touch them all.
Jack Rowell: What are some industries that are very neglectful with their presentations, but absolutely should be involved with it more?
Rick Enrico: Yeah, I think people just don’t have the time, right? And so that’s where we step in and too often, people spend a tremendous amount of money getting to the meeting and then forget about the actual presentation that needs to take place in the meeting.
Soledad Ramirez: So I have a question: Do people give you the presentations from the companies and you guys put them together, or do you guys make the presentations? Like how does that work?
Rick Enrico: All the above. So sometimes we just get chicken scratch from an executive who faxes it in. Sometimes, and most of the best presentations that we deliver, would be in a rhythm with the client where they put the content together and then we take it from there and design it.
So it really depends on the level of design needed. Like a JP Morgan would be very conservative. We also do the CEO of Adidas’ presentations and they look like movies by the time we’re done with them.
Ralph Peters: Do you ever actually provide the speaker, or is it always somebody from the company?
Rick Enrico: It’s always someone from the company. We help provide the narrative that then they take, and that’s more of the storyboarding.
Ralph Peters: You rehearse them?
Rick Enrico: We don’t.
Jack Rowell: Okay, so now, you guys do a lot with PowerPoint. How many companies and/or executives say, “Yeah, we use PowerPoint all the time,” but use it horribly, and they don’t really know what they’re doing.
Rick Enrico: Sure, it’s about understanding what the tool can actually do and provide. Just a few weeks ago, I was in a meeting and someone introduced me as “Hey Rick, from SlideGenius, he puts together these pretty amazing PowerPoint presentations.” And the guy had no frame of reference and he looks at me and he said, “I’m pretty good at PowerPoint.” And I’m like, “Well yeah, I can drive a car but I’m not gonna be in NASCAR any day soon.” Which also, NASCAR is a client of ours, too.
Rick Enrico: Right? So with the ability to just understand what’s the possibility with the presentation, you can do a lot of good things, visually.
Jack Rowell: But what industry doesn’t hear that? Like, “Yeah I can do that myself.” “Oh, go cut your own there dummy.”
Rick Enrico: *Laughs. Yeah, right?
Jack Rowell: So what mistakes are made the most with people doing their PowerPoint on their own? Or maybe that is the mistake?
Rick Enrico: Yeah, I think PowerPoint gets a bad rap, right? You know, my college hockey coach, Mark Johnson, 1980 Gold Medal Olympic Winner for the Hockey Team in Lake Placid used to always tell me, “Hey Rick, it’s not the arrow, it’s the Indian.” And the same can be said about PowerPoint presenters. It’s not the tool. It’s the presenter.
Jack Rowell: Sure. How many times has everybody seemed like they’re just on the wrong slide, constantly. So how large is the market for PowerPoint?
Rick Enrico: Microsoft put out a study a few years ago that on any given business day, there’s about 30 million PowerPoint presentations given. And there’s about 500 million global PowerPoint users. I mean this ranges from business to education, down even to the elementary school level.
Jack Rowell: Yeah, they start them off from second grade, on PowerPoint. Does SlideGenius engage in investment raises for companies?
Rick Enrico: Absolutely. Just like how we started out the company. I lost track of over a billion dollars that we’ve participated in from the Series A financing to guys raising 2-3 hundred million dollars. We’ve done those types of decks as well.
Jack Rowell: So you guys are presenting the presentation for those guys to go out and get loot?
Rick Enrico: We do the presentation design for them. So we help with the storytelling, the design of the presentation, and then they take it on their roadshows.
Jack Rowell: Okay so now what’s the biggest misconception people have about PowerPoint?
Rick Enrico: I think [it’s] the possibilities. Like I mentioned earlier, the range that PowerPoint can be used as a visual tool, because 84% of what we learn is visual. So people trying to say that they’re gonna have a standalone presentation without any tools are really missing out on a bigger opportunity.
Jack Rowell: So now what are some of the things that they should be doing with it that they’re not doing now?
Rick Enrico: Well, I think every part of the sales process should have some sort of design element in all that sales collateral through the end result. But the only thing that should not have design is the legal contract.
Jack Rowell: What’s the process for SlideGenius to tailor each presentation for each client? Because it can’t be with that many clients you have and that big of a market for it, it can’t be cookie cutter. How do you guys go about that?
Rick Enrico: Sure. So we service about 650 global clients. The process for onboarding a client is very much a co-creative process. We take it in steps, and once we get through that process, we have a way to go back and look at how that process unfolded with that individual client, so the next project that they send us moves more smoothly. Once we get to project 3 and 4, they just send us the decks and we just clean them up, typically.
Jack Rowell: How often do companies say, “Hey, we wanna lay it out this way. This is what we’re looking at,” and then you get it and you’re like, “That’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever seen. We gotta change it all,” – when you get to that point, how easy is it to turn that boat around for your client?
Rick Enrico: Great question. I think for investment raises, definitely the people who haven’t done it before, their stories are out of whack. And we have a proven model that raises capital. There’s 15 slides you need that’s given in less than ten minutes, and it creates that wow factor. So you’re walking off stage and they’re like, “Woah, woah, Jack, come back! We wanna learn more.”
Ralph Peters: So have you watched Mad Men, or are there any parallels between your business and the pitches that, say, Don Draper would make?
Rick Enrico: I couldn’t get through Mad Men, to be honest.
Jack Rowell: Now, you mentioned ten minutes in the last thing you want to keep their presentation at that. After that do people just go foggy and keep listening?
Rick Enrico: Absolutely. You know the person is always gonna remember 3 to 5 things, 24 hours from that presentation. So what are those 3 to 5 things, those key impact statements that you want to leave them with?
Jack Rowell: So now, businesses all over need your help. How do they get a hold of you?
Rick Enrico: SlideGenius.com.
Jack Rowell: Any kind of phone number they can get a hold of you, also?
Rick Enrico: Let’s give the local San Diego number: 858-217-51-44.
Jack Rowell: Fantastic, and that is Rick Enrico from SlideGenius. Thank you so much, good job!
Rick Enrico: Thank you for having me.