I can't begin to say how proud i am of the SlideShare team, and what an honor it is to be an advisor & small angel investor in their venture. it's also a terrific product that i was fan of long before i became an advisor or investor. but most of all, it's just been a real pleasure to get to know Rashmi & Jon as friends & fellow geeks over the past year (in fact i just got back from dinner with them in SF, and we had a blast :).
I first came across the company in fall 2006 by reading a SlideShare review on TechCrunch, and later started using it to host some of the early presentations on startup metrics i created last summer. I became so enamored of the service that i wanted to meet the folks behind it, and lo & behold i discovered the company was right in my own backyard! i had even met one of the founders a few times, and she was a regular at Dana Street Coffee in Mountain View, right around the corner from Mint, another startup i had been working with. (btw, Dana Street has great karma... it was a popular hangout back when i was at PayPal and we were briefly in Mt View in 2002-3. Jim & James from HotorNot also used to hang out there before they moved to the city, as well as a bunch of the ex-PayPal engineering braintrust who went on to help create YouTube)
I really got to know SlideShare better when i ran the first Graphing Social Patterns 2007 conference last fall in San Jose, and used it to host / post most of the GSP slides. I think it was soon after Charlene Li had posted her presentation on "Big Brands & Facebook", and got over 10,000 views in less than one week that i woke up and smelled more than just the Dana Street coffee! At first i thought all those views were because Charlene was hosting the preso on her blog, or that Forrester was pointing to it, or other notable bloggers. But the interesting thing i found out is that more than 80% of the total views came from the slideshare community, not from the widget embed (currently that presentation has over 35K views, with only 5-6K coming from the original embed).
This was rather astonishing. SlideShare wasn't just a productivity tool.
SlideShare was a resource for driving traffic!
At that point, i got reeeeeeeeal interested. I was a viewer, i was a publisher. I was a conference organizer. I was an evangelist. I was a fan. Then i became an advisor, to help them work on product & marketing startegy, and of course metrics. Lastly i became an investor, because i really believed in the product, the customer need, and the team :)
Congrats again to the team... and i want to apologize profusely for the ugly mug they chose to use in their recent investor announcement presentation, posted below: