January 2015 - Tank Stream Labs


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Last month, Kris Flegg from Prezi ventured into Tank Stream Labs to introduce the community to a cloud-based presentation software Prezi. As a result, TSL has collated keynotes from Kris Flegg and advice from professional TV presenter Susie Elelman to remind you, a presentation is not purely based on visual aids, instead requires a human element that can be refined.

So what is Prezi?

Prezi is a cloud-based (SaaS) presentation software and storytelling tool for presenting ideas on a virtual Canvas. The product employs a zooming user interface, allowing users to zoom in and out of their presentation media and display information within a 3D space.

How is this different to Power Point?

Power Point uses a 2D canvas using slides to take the viewer on a linear, hierarchal journey through content. Prezi presentations however, are non linear. A story is presented to an audience with multiple paths from point A to point B. This allows you to explore ideas smoothly and naturally. Additionally, it allows you to “zoom in” for emphasis and break down content. Once you’re in a specific area you can “pan” to expand back on that idea.

The Memory Palace

Prezi was designed bearing in mind the notion of the “memory palace.” A Memory Palace has little to do with brain structure or intelligence, rather, the technique of using spatial learning. The idea is that remembering a list of objects or key notes is difficult, however, if you incorporate these into a story using location trigger points, it becomes easier.

Prezi in this way, can be used by presenters to navigate their message on a 3D image (a visual location rather than a slide). By virtue of the presenter’s storytelling, the audience is zoomed into the detail of the 3D image, which contains key notes of information to remember. The presenter then directs the presentation back to the overall image to re-iterate the story and where you have travelled within the image.

The Human Element

“A Prezi presentation can overshadow the presenter,” admits Kris Flegg. At the end of the day Prezi is a visual aid designed to get everyone’s attention. It is up to the individual to sell and navigate the story.

Kris Flegg lists 4 common fears presenters have.

1. People aren’t going to remember half of what they were listening to.

2. I have a lot to say but I don’t know how it all fits together.

3. 110 slides in and it feels like we are talking content after content after content.

4. I don’t know if anyone is actually taking this in.

Susie Elelman reminds us that above all, presentations pivot on the 3Es, Entertainment, Entertainment, Entertainment. By this she doesn’t mean a show of jazz hands! Rather know what gets your audience’s heart racing. It is context and setting specific. If it is an investor they may get a kick out of figures or new insights – use it to entertain them.

The Formula

The simple formula to fool proof your presentation


Proper Preparation + Prior Practice = Prevents Piss Poor Presentations

Presenting Dos.

  • Start with the problem. Always begin a presentation by explaining how your product or service addresses the audience’s pain points.
  • Stay on message and make each point an island.
  • Sub-edit in your head. You could talk about your company forever, but don’t. Presentations should educate and intrigue.
  • Pace & Pause. Brief silences can be your biggest asset when trying to emphasise a point. Don’t be afraid to take a breath.
  • Relate to the audience. Have a personal story to tell! It is the oldest and most successful method of passing on information. Use it.
  • Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse. Practice potential FAQ, know your timing, develop a rhythm & feel comfortable with the content on your tongue. Have a dry-run in front of your colleagues in the office. Make them interrupt you and see if you can continue with your presentation. If you can’t, you clearly do not know your content well enough.
  • Feedback. Ask your coworkers for feedback. Ask where they get lost or bored with your content. Refine and test again
  • Just speak plain English.

Presenting Don’ts

  • Don’t try and be funny if you know you’re not. Its super uncomfortable, let’s leave it at that.
  • Don’t leave your personality at home. People came to listen to you not an automated company representative, so be human.
  • Don’t read your slides. FYI your audience can read too. So what value add are you providing in the mix? Know your slides and entertain your audience, don’t waste their time.
  • Don’t fidget. If you have prepared your presentation correctly you won’t have time to play with your face, pace or wring your fingers, you will be to busy entertaining.
  • Don’t give too much info. Contain your knowledge as too much info will kill the key message.


It’s ok to be nervous, in fact Susie Elelman expects you to be. The difference however, is that if you have adequately prepared and practiced you will be able to

“…Teach those butterflies in your stomach to fly in formation.” 

It’s all about control; butterflies will always exist if you are passionate about what you are doing.

Braintree’s global success, a growth secret or blind faith?

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No stranger to growth and the pressures of entering a new market, Braintree appears to show no signs of buckling in its endeavour to reach and conquer new borders. So what’s the secret? Luck? A solid conviction? Tyson Hackwood, Head of APAC for Braintree would like to suggest both. Braintree is a global payment platform that powers payments for thousands of online and mobile innovators including well-known brands like AirBnB, LivingSocial and Uber.

Braintree was founded in Chicago in 2007 and acquired by PayPal in 2013, the same year it took up residence in Australia at Tank Stream Labs. Tyson Hackwood has recently relocated to Singapore to lead the new drive into Asia, but managed to spare a moment to list the groundwork needed to expand and where Braintree is heading next.


Check for regulatory differences

It sounds like a heavy place to start, but Tyson explains Braintree was fortunate that online payment regulation is a global requirement.

Make sure it is relevant

Braintree supports people that use Visa, MasterCard, Amex, PayPal all of which are used in Australia.

Are you willing to fight?

“The big thing is, when you’re going to branch out into a new country, you need to have the conviction,” says Tyson Hackwood.

Ask yourself, if there are competitors, can you afford to compete with them? If there are regulatory requirements, can you afford to adapt your business model to meet them, or can you afford to fight them or leverage them? Be aware that it becomes very expensive, very quickly to get scale.

Just because it is good in one market does not guarantee it will be good in another

Don’t forget that Australia is a completely different market to the US. It sounds obvious, but Tyson points out that California is twice the size of Australia when it comes to population and GDP. In the US, multi-millionaires can own three tyre shops! You can have a delivery service for a single suburb that generates great revenue in the US – something that is not feasible in Australia.

Be honest with yourself about your available resources and the market size, make sure your business is relevant and again, make sure you have the conviction to see this through.

Expect the unexpected.

A slight twist to Murphy’s Law but you get the idea.

New – So what?

Just because it’s new, it’s not new somewhere else.

Australian business has been taunted with technology for years from big overseas companies. Tyson believes the promise of all this capability, available internationally but not yet in Australia, has led Australian business to adopt a big “so what?” attitude.

What to take from this? Don’t rely on “new” to get your foot in the door if you want to expand in Australia or anywhere else for that matter.


Braintree is fortunate that its clients are happy with online support and human interaction. As Tyson explains, “our support is 24/7, so if anyone contacts the helpline, there’s always someone available online even though they’re sitting in Chicago.”

Being available around the clock is crucial, it instills a sense of security for early adopters of your business in a new market.

Wheres the saving?

For Braintree it’s about getting its product and service into the top 5 or top 10 priorities of its customer’s business.

Tyson believes you’ve probably got something to work with when you can answer the following questions:

  • How does it really change their life?
  • What is the pain? And how does your product/service relieve it?
  • What is the real monetary saving?

Whats next for Braintree? Global domination?

Braintree aims to start making waves in New Zealand and Asia, with its sights firmly fixed on Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong. Acknowledging the massive link between Australian business and Asia, Braintree sees itself playing a pivotal role in Australia’s trade journey.

Crediting clients like Uber, AirBnB, Hailo with shaping their expansion to Australia, Braintree hopes the companies it now supports in Singapore will help propel its growth in Asia.

“Like the Aston Club who want to expand globally, we want to help them. So you’ll just see us light up regions and countries that are relevant to what people want to use, that are highly card based and highly mobile,” vows Tyson Hackwood.

Braintree will also focus on region-specific innovation in respect to making alternative payments a priority. Braintree has already integrated with Apple Pay and made announcements with Bitcoin. The recent release of “one touch payments” for Braintree’s 70 million consumers is definitely indicative of Braintree’s mission to make it easier and easier for people to trade across borders and platforms.