At last week’s The Next Web Conference, I was part of the 4-headed jury that evaluated all presenting startups and ultimately decided My Name Is E should be awarded the top prize. It was an extremely close call, since we ended up having to decide between the young Dutch company and a startup that built a simply amazing web application you’re really going to want to check out. The tool I’m referring to is called Prezi, and it allows you to create amazing presentations on the web.
If you think you’ve heard that too many times, don’t stop reading just yet, because this one is just plain awesome. It’s an entirely Flash-based app that lets you break away from the slide-by-slide approach of most presentations. Instead, it allows you to create non-linear presentations where you can zoom in and out of a visual map containing words, links, images, videos, etc. This is similar to pptPlex, a Microsoft Office Labs project that aims to bring that type of functionality to PowerPoint.
It’s really no use explaining how presentations come out without seeing it for yourself, so it pains me that there’s currently no way to embed the examples that are showcased on the Prezi website. Instead, you will need to jump to examples in another tab or window, but please do it: good examples are ‘AIESEC’ and ‘Technical Investigation ICYA’.
It takes a while to get used to the way Prezi lets you create presentations, although the interface is fairly intuitive once you’ve grown accustomed to using the ‘Zebra’. There are a number of tutorial videos to assist you in creating your first Prezi presentations.
To get started, you can use the free version which brands every presentation with a Prezi logo, offers 100 MB of file storage, comes with an offline player but without the ability to make presentations private. For €39 a year, you get all that but 5x the amount of storage space and the option not to have your presentations made public. A third ‘Pro’ version costs you €119 per year but features a cool desktop application you can use to create and edit Prezi presentations offline. Besides offering paid versions of the software, Prezi also has other revenue streams, like selling DVDs and offering branding services.
Try it out and let us know how your presentations come out!