I can’t tell you how many times I’ve referred people to Guy Kawasaki’s 10/20/30 post. It seems like every time I’m involved in a discussion about doing some form of a presentation, it always ends up there. In fact, I just had the following conversation:

[am] okay… so I have an opinion question to ask.
[jedi] …
[am] If you were teaching a “class” on Unix basics (and it could be over multiple days), how many slides per session do you think you should limit yourself to before people start going apeshit and will want to kill you?
[am] Mind you, booze will be served during the class.
[jedi] ok this is just not fair
[jedi] I fucking hate you
[jedi] with that said
[jedi] I’d go with the 10/20/30 rule

It occurred to me that I should do a bit of introspection and figure out why this answer keeps popping. I’m not typically the type of person to parrot a line or idea without good reason, so I did a little internal review. Turns out that whenever I need to lead a meeting, give a brown bag or talking to a VC, I go with the 10/20/30 rule. Why? Because it falls into the same category as the KISS principle.

I’ve sat on the audience end of too many meetings / discussions / presentations. Usually the presenter moves quickly over the subject matter and expects you to read the details of their slides (written in a tiny font) to support their discussion. This makes it difficult to keep everything in context and stay interested in the conversation. Needless to say, you notice a difference when anyone actually falls in line with one of the three basic principles of 10/20/30.

So when it’s my turn to stand in front of folks, I keep it inline with those basic ideas.


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