Special Interview with Jesse Desjardins

by Dean Jackson

Hello everybody, welcome to the Marketing Monday.com live podcast and we truly are live today. This is Dean Jackson and I have with me today this is a very special Marketing Monday here. We’re going to be talking with someone who I’ve been working with for almost ten years now, over ten years now and anything cool that you’ve seen that I’ve designed and if you’ve ever thought to yourself wow that’s a really nice design it’s not me, it’s my friend Jesse Desjardins. Jesse how are you?

Very good how are you? I can’t believe it’s been ten years.

It has been ten years so anything that you see including the Marketing Monday website itself has all been done by Jesse and what I want to talk to Jesse about today everybody who’s listening here is that there’s sort of a new opportunity in digital publishing and some of the cool things that you can really do to share presentations and to share information as Powerpoints and PDF’s and Jesse’s become sort of one of the world’s leading experts in digital presentations online and in fact right now you’ve seen a couple of weeks ago I shared with you Jesse’s presentation You Suck at Powerpoint is now the number one presentation on probably the world’s leading site for sharing presentations which is similar to a Utube, slidesshare.net.

So Jesse let’s talk a little bit about this concept of using these digital presentations and I know you and I’ve been talking a lot about the possibilities and how can we use them. I know you’ve got an example for us.

Yeah of course. I mean whenever I’m designing something now I think the channel you’re going to put it into is just as important, it’s probably one of the most important parts of the equation right. I mean you would put your videos on Utube because that’s where the community is and people put their Powerpoint presentations on slideshare because that’s where the users are. I mean on slideshare alone there’s 25 million people who visit the site every day and it’s quickly becoming one of the top websites to host your presentations on. That’s what they’re doing, putting these presentations on there and it’s kind of completely taken off like skyrocketed in the past couple of months.

That’s fantastic and you’ve had several of the presentations of the day. You had your Lady GaGa, marketing secrets of Lady GaGa presentation.

Yes it’s pretty incredible. I mean once you get featured on the front page you probably get like about 5000 views like right away which is pretty remarkable yeah.

Cool. So let’s talk about maybe how we can use those types of presentations and sort of apply them to real estate and then maybe some of your best tips for actually making the presentations. Everybody has Powerpoint I guess right, it’s all part of the Microsoft Office?

Yeah absolutely. I mean I think Powerpoint is kind of one of those softwares that everyone has on their computers but it’s always like one of the most daunting ones to use because probably so many people have abused it and a lot of people have sat through extremely boring presentations but they don’t have to be. I mean there’s a lot of ways you can make a really cool compelling, nice looking presentation and put it on a service like slideshare which would make people want to look at it and that’s the thing like you said at the beginning, it’s all about you know sometimes just being the first to do something gets a lot of attention, like there’s not a lot of people out there actually making an effort of creating a presentation for a property. It’s the same thing that you know when you create those listings for each properly like in a domain name and all that kind of stuff that’s just going kind of one step beyond what most people are doing.

And that’s of course the great thing about slideshare is that just like UTube you can embed the presentations into your blog or into your single property website or you can just send a link to it so that people can view it.

That’s it. I mean there’s all the sharing capabilities on that people can share it on Twitter, they can share it on Facebook and you know everyone’s seen UTube videos on Facebook, you just kind of click the play and it automatically plays inside your page. I mean you do essentially the same thing with the slideshare presentation and then it’s very easy for people to send them by email, all that kind of stuff. It’s very easy to get a lot of views and a lot of attraction on a presentation like this and you know when all of a sudden you’ve got 100, 200 people, 300 people looking at this thing then that’s when it kind of starts spreading and that’s when I guess the magic happens.

Well let’s talk about some tips on how to do it because immediately the use that I thought of and that you kind of capitalised on here was doing a presentation about a single property, about any of your listings or how you can actually make a nice presentation of the property information. What kind of advice would you have for somebody who’s interested in doing something like that because that’s probably the easiest to think of use for one of these?

Right okay so I mean I went ahead and I created a presentation, a Powerpoint presentation based on where I live in downtown Toronto. I live in a building that’s pretty much like right in the centre of the city so I kind of put myself in the shoes of like you know a storyteller, what’s the story about the place that I live in that would be for sale so I’ve included things like you know a screen shot of the map, the Google map. I live right across the street from Canada’s biggest shopping centre so now I want to tell the story about that and you know just kind of all the amenities that are around, not only in the building but you know parks and everything that people can do and almost take people almost like on a little journey. It’s not just about you know your MLS fact sheet which is kind of really what a lot of people do now, they just kind of I guess forward the MLS listings as they come out and you know if they’re really ugly and for a property that sometimes I look at these photos and I’m like wow they could do a lot better job of selling this thing because eventually they all start looking the same and MLS feature sheet doesn’t always highlight some of the most important features of this property, the fact that it’s like five minute walk to this most amazing school, the fact that I live across the street from this really great shopping centre, all those kind of things and doing a Powerpoint presentation really allows you to put really great images and all that kind of stuff in there and you know video tours have always been really good for a long time and I still believe they are but you know you’ve got to realise a lot of these people are looking at social media content when they’re at work during the day right and the boss lives around the corner usually and you know they can’t play audio and that’s what I love about doing these Powerpoint presentations is that they can look at these things online at their own pace.

And the great thing is too that if it’s easy to share, easy to view and you know it’s all digital so you don’t really have to worry about having you know twenty pages or something for the property or even more if you wanted to because you’re not going to be printing them.

Yeah I mean that’s the thing when you’re talking about making it easy for people to share. I mean that’s why it’s so easy for on UTube because you’re not sending 100 meg file but you’re sending just a link and it’s very easy for that link for people for Facebook, for Twitter, all that kind of that of stuff to make it easy.

Right. I like it. I mean so one of the things I think that you’re really great at is making things look sort of elegantly simple but still have a design sense about them and I think a lot of people might be intimidated by even saying the word design, like how do I design this presentation. So what are some of the shortcuts or some of the things that will get people sort of 80% of the way there to having a great looking presentation and maybe some of the mistakes and I love your You Suck at Powerpoint presentation. I’m going to put that up there so that everybody can see it too but how it applies to what we’re talking about today?

Yeah I mean I think that You Suck at Powerpoint is probably a good place to start. I mean I’m always looking for like you know high quality images and the great thing about if you’re an agent and you’re taking photos of the property I mean they’re coming off your camera at high resolution anyway so it’s very easy to put them in Powerpoint as a full page sort of thing and they’ll look great.

I guess I’m just thinking like because that doesn’t really, I don’t know about what’s a high quality image or just to give us frame of reference so if I took a picture with my new Iphone is that a high quality image?

With your Iphone so with your Iphone I think you can, would it be a full enough quality for full page? Probably not, maybe half the screen on a Powerpoint presentation.

But most people who would be putting this together most real estate agents have a nice digital camera so let’s go up one level then and say like one of those you know a pocket digital camera, would that be a high enough quality image?

Yeah. I mean you’d be fine and the great thing about slideshare is that you’re not actually presenting full screen, a lot of time it’s shrunk so it’s always better for an image when you go down versus go up, you know what I mean by that, it’s kind of like yeah the smaller you can get it the higher quality it’s going to be yeah.

So whatever sort of digital pictures people are taking most real estate agents who are taking pictures of their listings have a pretty good digital camera that would be good enough for what we’re talking about here?

Absolutely and you know we talk about design and it’s funny how you say most people feel intimidated by design. I think it is quite a daunting topic to kind of jump into but it’s probably one of the things that I personally feel is worth so much more now because people look at stuff online every single day and people kind of you know the barriers is a lot higher now so like the expression that you have, the barrier of entry is a lot lower but I forget what it is now yeah, you know what I mean, so it’s worth investing the time to learn how to do these things properly and I have an acronym in one of my other presentations that was coined by Robin Williams, not that Robin Williams but another Robin Williams. It’s basically, the acronym is CRAP and it stands for Contrast, Repetition, Alignment and Proximity. Now it’s probably a bit too complicated to go over audio but if you look at another one of my presentations called a *11.54 presentation that we can link up you’ll see examples of what that means and if you follow kind of those four rules whenever you’re designing you know automatically you’re like miles ahead of anyone else.

Let’s just talk briefly about those then because those really are the four big things right so when you’re saying contrast what would be some examples of how we would use contrast?

So contrast, the best example for that is like a big strong headline you know, a big strong headline compared to your body text right so your big strong headline if you’re looking at it from far away you can read the headline, that’s contrast. Most people don’t design the headline big enough and they try to cram in as much information on the page. That’s probably the biggest.

It seems a lot like when the people who have done sort of presentations like this for listings it almost seems like people are afraid to put text over the top of the picture.


But that’s one of the things that you did that actually has a good contrast is putting a big headline even over the top of the image.

Well that’s the thing and especially if you look at slideshare, if you look at the front page and the same thing with UTube and a lot of these social media sites that kind of host all these files is usually when you come to the front page you see a whole bunch of like little boxes so essentially it’s got a thumbnail of whatever the media files are right so I mean I’m always looking to create a really strong cover page for my presentation and what a lot of contrast to the big headline.

It’s almost like the cover of a book isn’t it, I mean somebody’s going to make a decision on whether they’re going to push play or go to the next slide on this based on the cover so you’ve got to imagine it embedded in somebody’s Facebook page.

A good example of that is probably look at my use like a Powerpoint cover page. I mean one of the reasons why I chose that title is because originally I only six days before the contest closed, they ended up extending the contest but I needed something really strong. There was like I think 1800 people who applied for this thing and I don’t have time to mess around, I needed something that was going to grab people’s attention and when you look at that specific cover slide compared to everything else that’s been uploaded I think it’s kind of clear that that kind of jumps out at you right away.

So let’s talk about repetition then, what does that mean?

So repetition is you know you’re kind of separating sections into saying okay well this is okay, now we’re going to talk about the kitchen and then the kitchen might all be in one colour and then you kind of jump in to something else and it’s like a different colour but each one of your sections almost has different colours and then when you’re talking about the same thing you’re just repeating that colour, does that make sense?

Yeah so you want to have like something that carries through to join it all together right so if you’re using the same font in the same size in the same colour all the way through a particular section, like you said if you’re talking about the kitchen or you know another colour, if you’re talking about the bathroom or something but then it still all looks like it’s all part of one presentation?

Exactly. I think an example of that you can probably look at me Lady GaGa presentation and go okay number one is this and then the number two so there’s all text between that but every time I get to a new number you’re always repeating the same style to make it clear to people okay this is like section one, now we’ve jumped into a new section, another section, another section.

So you can see that the same thing in the sample one that you gave us, you see that repetition right through it.

I think that’s probably one of the biggest things when most people are designing these presentations they kind of just slap a whole bunch of information on a slide and it just doesn’t flow properly at all.

Okay and then so we’ve C, we’ve got R, now A is alignment.

Alignment, so alignment is there’s this kind of like hidden tool in Powerpoint or any design program that I’d probably say 90% of the people don’t use and it’s called the ruler and it’s really kind of hidden on the left and on the top and you know you’ve probably seen it before but you don’t know what it does and all you’ve got to do is you take the mouse and you drag it down and it will put a little yellow or orange line on top of whatever.

A guideline?

A guideline exactly so you want to make sure you know things like your headlines are all aligned together, your headline and your body text is aligned together, so taking into account white space and making sure everything is aligned properly. Again it’s one of these big things that makes a huge, huge difference.

And it’s funny because it seems like everybody and non designers feels like the safest thing is to centre everything, we’ve got to get everything centred.

Exactly. I mean it doesn’t have to be that way.

There’s a lot of ways that kind of leads in to proximity too then doesn’t it because this sense of making everything all the same size and centred but talk about proximity and how that effects the presentation?

So proximity is probably the easiest way to think about it is you want to group things that are similar together so for example even if you’re talking about three different things in the slide but they’re all three very different topics you still want to group okay I’m going to talk about topic a. on the left, I’m going to talk about topic b. on the centre and topic three on the right but they’re just together, it’s clear that they belong together.

And that way everybody kind of knows that these things belong together like if you’ve got your room measurements or something all in one area.

Yes. I mean we could literally be having this conversation all day long. I think if you start with *18.40 presentation and the You Suck at Powerpoint I can guarantee you’ll be ahead of like 95% of the people.

And the example that you gave us too that’s a really good example of how to tell a story in this presentation and just even look at it a seller would be proud to put that on their Facebook page even.


Look at what our realtor did for us yeah.

I mean right now I mean I spend most of my time travelling going to different conferences and things and when you’re sitting down in the audience and that speaker puts up the first slide of that presentation I know right away if this presentation is going to suck or not I mean because I can tell right away by the first slide these people haven’t invested their time into not using the standard template or using the Microsoft Clip Art and there’s too much of that, there’s too many people not making enough of an effort. The best example is Inconvenient Truth, you know it won an Oscar award for a Powerpoint presentation essentially.

That’s right, exactly, that’s Al Gore, he was just going around giving his Powerpoint presentation, that’s true.

I’m going to put this up there, it’s not easy to create things that look simple and beautiful and nice. For me it took me a lot of practice but like I’m saying it’s worth investing the time and the learning how to do these things because nowadays people click on things that are designed well and yeah.

That’s great. Well Jesse thank you so much for sharing with us. I’m going to link up all of those presentations on the Marketing Monday here and I’m going to leave comments open. I’d love to see if people have questions or what kind of comments they would have about what we’re doing here. I think there’s a really big opportunity coming especially now with the Ipads and how easy it is to read PDF’s and presentations like this on your Ipads.

And you know what Dean, if anyone wants to do their own presentation and put up the link in their comments I’ll have a look at it and comment on it.

Oh perfect. That would be great. And then for everybody too Jesse’s in the slideshare world’s best presentation contest right now and it’s going on right now and Jesse has the number one front runner on slideshare and the voting is still going on for another week but he’s got a good little head start and if you take a look at that presentation I’m sure he’d appreciate your vote for his presentation to be the number one and then you can say that you know the guy who’s got the world’s best presentation.

That’s right.

Thanks so much for sharing. I’m sure that as we go forward here we’ll do more of these kind of conversations about implementing this because I think it’s going to be a big opportunity.

I think so too. Thank you.

Click here to vote for Jesse in the World’s Best Presentation Contest
More from Jesse:

Print or e-mail this article: |


Scott Hartis November 22, 2010 at 11:16 am

Dean & Jesse,

What a great idea. I voted for Jesse in the “World’s Best Presentation” contest a few weeks ago, but only because I saw that presentation. These other examples are great. I especially love the retro feel and pictures in the “Resume” presentation. Very inventive!

Thanks for continuously sharing great ideas with the real estate community. We all greatly appreciate it!


Keith November 22, 2010 at 9:55 pm

Watched every presentation, they were all excellent. Good interview too. I am sure Jesse has heard of Prezi, to me it blows away Powerpoint. Check it out. http://prezi.com/4jrranugjj6p/powerpoint-prezi-prometisdesigncom/

Susan November 24, 2010 at 8:40 pm

Great, as always Dean!
Who knew Jesse was the magician behind the curtain!?!


P.S. You say “Utube” a few times, isn’t it youtube? (transcription error)

Susan November 24, 2010 at 9:30 pm

Jesse – how did you get the one photo that is circular and shows a bottom up view if the building you live in? Is there a website out there that we can get a great photo of our listings from, or is that a million and one shot of where you live?

-Susan in Arizona

Susan November 24, 2010 at 9:32 pm

Jesse – for those of us who are total powerpoint newbies…are you creating your slide show in powerpoint and uploading it to slideshare.com? Or are you creating the slides on slideshare.com?


Jesse November 24, 2010 at 9:45 pm

Hi Susan,

The photo was one I found online, I didn’t take it 🙂

Also Slideshare just hosts the presentations for you so you’ll need to create them on your end.


Susan November 26, 2010 at 1:04 pm

Thanks Jesse!

One more question if you don’t mind.

I tried to download your presentation and I was able to do so, as a PDF not the actual powerpoint.

Is there away to literally have your slideshow at our disposal?
A lot of us are not as creative as you are and so creating graphics and things is a lot harder than you think!


Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: