AWS News Blog

5 Minute AWS Presentation

I was lucky enough to receive an invitation to present at the first-ever meeting of Ignite Seattle this past December. This event attracted lots of Seattle-area technical folks for an evening that was both fun and informative.

We started out the evening by forming into teams to build bridges from popsicle sticks and hot glue. This was a great way to break the ice and to get people talking, sharing, and working together. Once the bridges were built each one was tested. The winning bridge was able to bear the weight of 5 people and used an astounding 998 popsicle sticks.

It was then time for the presentations. The presentations were done in a slightly modified Pecha Kucha format. Each presenter has exactly 5 minutes to present 20 slides — just 15 seconds per slide. Of course I was slated to speak on AWS, and spent plenty of time earlier that day planning, rehearsing, trimming, and timing my talk. 5 minutes may not seem like very much time, but it was actually enough!

In the space of 5 minutes I was able to introduce the audience to AWS, talk about a number of individual services, and to show screen shots of a number of cool AWS-powered applications. Here’s my video:

Under more normal presentation rules, it would take me an hour or more to cover this material! It is a very worthwhile exercise to take your message and hone it down to the bare essentials. A lot of what might be considered essential material in a longer presentation actually seems like fluff when you only have 5 minutes. In a longer time slot I always take the time to answer questions and to interact with the audience, and I also like to do demos if possible.

Sites and applications mentioned in the presentation include LivePlasma, TV Mojo, The DVD Wars, S3 Ajax Wiki, S3 Explorer, S3 Fox, Backup Manager, Smugmug, Webmail.us, Powerset, RenderRocket, and Casting Words.

There were a total of 25 presentations that night, and they were all quite interesting. The great thing about this format is that there’s no time to get bored. If your aren’t interested in a particular presentation, you can just wait a few minutes for the next one. One very interesting consequence of this format is that the medium and the message become somewhat conflated, and the dense, breathless, high-energy style of the presentation actually seems to lend credibility to the very things that the presenter is describing.

You may also enjoy watching the other videos.

The next meeting of Ignite Seattle will be held on the 13th of February. Perhaps I will see you there.

— Jeff;