This post is by Mark Suster from Both Sides of the Table - Medium
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Announcing Projector — A Startup I’ve Been Excited to Tell You About for Years
A few years ago I spent time in prison with Trevor O’Brien, the founder of Projector. Yes, I always imagined announcing the company that way. We were of course there to work with incarcerated men on developing entrepreneurial skills on behalf of Defy Ventures. We had met previously when Trevor was a product manager at YouTube and Upfront had funded the largest video producer on YouTube, Maker Studios.
When we got out of prison Trevor began describing the startup he and his co-founder, Jeremy Gordon, wanted to build. They had worked together as senior product manager and senior engineering leads at Twitter and identified a problem they saw in visual communication of information. They teamed up to solve this problem and when I heard about their approach it completely resonated with me. Upfront immediately wrote a check to back this vision and we later teamed up with their former colleague from Twitter turned VC, Rishi Garg of Mayfield and we’ve stayed quiet on what we were up to.
The vision is Projector, announced today on TechCrunch — you can sign up if you want to try the service. The mission for the company is to to help people communicate clearly and memorably using visual information. Initially that means a creative, collaborative toolset for visual communications, allowing users to develop really compelling slides, print materials or social media posts that are more visually compelling and easier-to-build for those who aren’t naturally gifted as visual story tellers. Over time we will roll out features the help you to understand the full vision of where we will take visual collaboration.
Why does this resonate so much with me?
I believe that the fundamental nature of getting buy-in from organizations to make complex decisions involves visual storytelling. This is certainly true in how startups raise money from VCs. It is true in how founders share progress and issues with boards. It is how sales reps talk to prospects about their products & services to try and gain buy-in for a sale. And it is true in how speakers stand in front of audiences and take them on a journey to buy into a vision of the speaker.
We know that good visual storytelling can be persuasive and we know that it is also important to retaining key information after a presentation has been completed or a report has been shared.
Yet as somebody who has to read and write decks as a major portion of his job I can tell you that most people struggle with how to tell stories visually and when I need to do it I am aware of how difficult the modern