The Amazing Oliver Adria

I have been designing presentations in PowerPoint for a few years now. But when I began toying with the idea of starting a website and a blog, one of the first people to influence me was Oliver Adria.

There are a lot of amazing things about this guy, his ability to connect with his readers and audience, his insane, superman like ability to be super-productive (this guy has a full time gig, 3 blogs and also makes time to travel. Where the hell does he find the time?) and his passion to excel at everything he touches. Oh, and also, he kicks ass at soccer with a record number of goals scored and yes, he also runs marathons. Ok, now I am seriously tired. Need a break.

His blog at Rethink Presentations is full of ideas on presentation design, content and presentation delivery. Oliver has also published a book on Presentation Design called “Presentation Essentials” that I purchased. Great book. Don’t rethink it, just buy it here.

If you are ready to meet this all around great guy, here he is!

Oliver on what floats his boat.

My passions are sustainability, communication / web media and passionate people. I am a sustainability researcher during the day working on mainstreaming sustainable products, and in the evenings/weekends I work on my blogs and the activities surrounding them.

Currently I run 3 blogs, one on presentation design, one on sustainable lifestyles, another on entrepreneurship. I like to travel to different cities (not too far, I prefer less than 1000 kilometers so I can get there by train) and visit interactive conferences, interesting exhibitions and do workshops on sustainability (maybe in the future I’ll also do workshops on presentation design). I like to profile interesting people and write about them on my blogs and promote their “entrepreneurial passion”.

As you can see I like to try different things and oftentimes try to connect the things. E.g. doing presentations on sustainability or blogging on presentations.

Oliver’s Amazing Beginning.

My start of becoming a presentation designer was due to a horrible (very horrible) presentation of mine I did a while back. I had already done several small presentations as a student and they were ok, but about 4 years ago I got the chance to create a presentation at work and the result was not very flattering. I had some nice slides with big high-resolution pictures – I thought that was enough – but there was no storyline, there was no point I was trying to make, I didn’t know the content well (it was a presentation on a big environmental report) and so when questions were asked – I didn’t have any answers. I failed badly.

I couldn’t just leave it like that. That poor performance gave me the incentive to become better and I read every book, blog and video I could get my hands on. A year later I got the chance to create another presentation – on any topic I wanted. So I chose the topic I read most about in the previous months: How to create a presentation. The pressure was on, since making a presentation on how to create presentations would need to be somewhat good.
So I was relieved when the presentation was a big success – informative, easy to digest, emotional. And that’s when I thought: “That wasn’t too hard.
Presentations are not just a set of slides, but presentations are stories. I just needed to rethink how I create presentations.” And thus began my blog “Rethink Presentations“, my newsletter and later my eBook. And I’m still working on it today, hoping to help some people with some of the ideas mentioned there.

I was born in Indonesia and went to the German school there. After school I went to Germany to study Computer Science / Electrical Engineering. I’ve worked in robotics engineering, later IT Consulting and then found my current job in the area of sustainable consumption / sustainable products.

If you take away just one thing from this guy, take this away!

My most important message when creating a presentation is: “What is your one core message?”, and the whole presentation should revolve around this core message. And that makes a big difference.

Ollie’s Favorite Quote

(By now you know him well enough to call him Ollie)

“If you’re not failing every now and again, it’s a sign you’re not doing anything very innovative.” – Woody Allen

Was für ein erstaunlicher Kerl!

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