What It Is:
SlideShare is a place where people can upload slide presentations on any topic.
· Presentations that let you get up to speed quickly on trends or topics
· Quick identification of Subject Matter Experts
· Competitor positioning, , strengths, comparisons, partners, roadmaps, tactical and strategic plays, etc.
SlideShare does for PowerPoint what YouTube does for video. Slideshare was founded in 2006 and it receives nearly 2m visits a month. Users can upload presentations, Word documents, and PDF files on any topics they want. SlideShare has grown to the point where there is information available on just about anything.
Slideshare lets users browse through the most popular, most downloaded, and most recent presentations. Slideshare also lets users upload videos and presentations with audio (which the site terms “slidecasts”).
While Slideshare is an interesting place to hang out, the search functionality is what makes it most useful to the competitive intelligence professional. If you’re trying to get up to speed on a topic, you can use the search functionality to quickly find recent presentations on the subject.
It also helps if the presentation is recent, so it’s useful to utilize the Slideshare search options to restrict results to the last month or year.
Beyond leveraging Slideshare to quickly research a topic, you can use it to find experts on a subject. Better still, you can validate an individual’s expertise by simply reviewing the presentation they have posted, compare it to others, and information you’ve already gleaned on the subject you’re researching. Essentially it’s a “knowledge resume” in the form of a slide deck. Once you’ve picked a few deck authors that you want to reach out to, it is usually trivial to find contact information, as the authors usually put their email addresses right in the presentation.
Beyond topic background, Slideshare is useful to dig into a competitor, see how they’re positioning their products and services, and even see how they compare themselves to the competition. Competitor presentations can often be found on Slideshare, and these can provide deep insight into where the competitor feels they’re strong, and where they want to steer the conversation.
We’ve also found Slideshare to be useful to “virtually attend” a conference. It isn’t always the case, but we’ve found some or all of the presentations of certain conferences posted to Slideshare. We’ve even surprisingly found presentations for partner conferences and other events that are not generally open to the public. This kind of content can show in-depth competitive positioning, information about the partner and reseller channel (including channel incentives), and product roadmaps.
Slideshare is a site we check out for most of the competitive projects we work on. It’s certain to provide good background information on a technology, product, or industry. It also frequently identifies experts that we follow up with to perform qualitative research. And sometimes we strike gold, and get a product roadmap, pricing, or other information that isn’t readily available through other public means.
By Sean Campbell
By Scott Swigart