Hanisha Vaswani, an Ex-Pinstormer was recently awarded her Masters in Information Technology from the Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, Italy. While working on her final thesis, she used the Pinstorm presentation style to create her presentation – with great results. Here is what she has to say about her thought process and the Pinstorm presentation style…

I was last in line to present my final thesis, and the audience (my professors) would likely be dead by then. After a dozen cluttered presentations, they’d only want to quickly get over with the whole business, and I needed them to hear me out, pay attention, laugh at the right places, and grade me well :). I’m hardly alone. You’ve been there too, and for you, the stakes are higher than getting better grades on a mark sheet.

When we speak, we want to be heard and understood, even remembered. (If not, why speak at all?). But we also know our audience today is busy, and have tiny attention spans as a result. So how do we get across to them?

Focus: Pick one thing you want your audience to remember at the end. Build the presentation around it.

Simplicity: PowerPoint is a tool. Your idea is the star. Remove the fancy crass that doesn’t help present your idea better.

Pith: Justify each word’s presence on your slides. We at Pinstorm can do this in our sleep, right? :)

Wit: Get them interested. And when they want to hear more, make your spiel. ( albeit, briefly.)

Smarts: Be Different. Do you need PowerPoint at all? Will a demo do better?

In short — use the Pinstorm style!

Does it work? I’ll give you two examples and let you judge:

My first example is my pseudo-famous thesis, part of which spoke of a part-of-speech tagger, I built. Its differentiation is that it is actually composed of two completely different taggers. The presentation said ‘A Tale of Two Taggers’. Sad, perhaps! But it worked. Everyone still remembers my tagger’s USP.  My professors heard me out, asked questions, made suggestions, and actually had an impromptu discussion about my approach. There come the marks :)

My other example is a presentation I heard at an IT jobs seminar in late 2001 –not a happy time for IT job seekers. While most speakers were reading off sad-yet-fake-hopeful presentations, this one speaker was scribbling on a paper onstage. And when he spoke, sans his PowerPoint presentation, it was to spout Seven ‘Laws’ for building a career (note: career, not job); each wittily named. Some examples include Law of Aamir and Sunny, Law of Zig and Zag, Law of Schumacher and Schumacher. Any doubts whose presentation I still remember seven years later?

Simply put: Don’t say much, so there isn’t much to forget. And say it so well that it is absolutely impossible to forget.

Make your point, there’s a reason that the tool is called PowerPoint after all :)

Here is wishing Hanisha a very hearty congratulations from all of us here at Pinstorm.

Guy Kawasaki in Pinstorm Office

While in Mumbai, Guy Kawasaki graced the Pinstorm office today. Spoke about his most recent venture, his early days, and some tips among other things. According to him, “most US advertising agencies are just full of hot air”. He also said that he was “very impressed with Pinstorm’s Pay For Performance model” and that “most agencies in the US would go bankrupt if they adopted this model”. It was good to interact with you, Guy, thanks for all the fun. The Pinstormers will stay in touch!

Photos at

Mahesh Murthy of Pinstorm will participate in a discussion organised by IAMAI on The Conference on Digital Marketing, to be held on 9th September ’08, at Taj Residency, Bangalore. His panel will discuss the allocation of ad spend between digital and traditional media.

You can find the itinerary for the rest of the event at

It’s been a while since this space was updated. Not that we have had nothing to say, just too much to do! What better way to kick things off again than to tell you of our recently concluded Annual Off-Site.

Unlike the last two years, we headed to Goa (hell yeah!) this year for one whole week. However, this year was special for a different reason; Pinstorm has added offices in the EU and China apart from being present in Singapore, Malaysia and the US and it was the first time that all Pinstormers were meeting in one place. You can imagine the pandemonium that ensued!

125 Pinstomers from across the world started for Goa on the 25th of August ‘08, from the Mumbai head office. We caught the Garib Rath – ‘chariot for the poor’ in Hindi- train, which turned out to be quite a misnomer as we were seated in AC sleeper compartments which also had (working) electrical sockets to power our gadgetry.

Imagine a group that large, spread over three bogies, running all over the train, laughing boisterously and generally having a good time.

The pinvasion of Goa started with the occupation of Sun City Resort near Baga beach. Once there, the group was divided into 12 teams of around eight people each, with a captain and vice-captain. An events schedule of conferences and tasks of the week was handed over to all captains.

The Pinstomers spent the remainder of the week taking part in various conferences and outdoor activities. We were privileged to have Alok Nanda – founder, Alok Nanda and Company; NP Satyamurthy – Joint President of Lintas Media Group and Sanjay Khare -Executive Creative Director of Euro RSCG, India, hold special sessions with a team task assigned at the end. Teams were then scored on the basis of how well they executed the tasks.

In the outdoor activities the teams took part in learning how to read a compass and tie different knots. The best part however was the activity where the teams had to race all over Goa, each destination providing a clue to the next, like The Amazing Race. The only difference being that the Pinstomers were left in the lurch with a bottle of water, biscuits and Rs. 20 (US$0.45!) only per person. Personal money and mobile phones were banned too! Even after two days, the company is still buzzing with the different modes of transport the teams hitched rides on to complete the race. More on this later! (yes, we’ll devote an entire post to this one Its here.)

As the minutes ticked by, the Pinstormers on the station were seen lying on the railway track able to convince the station master to delay the train at the Goa station by 12 whole minutes! This allowed us to jump off the buses and into the train just in the nick of time!

All in all, the entire week turned out to be a lifetime experience for all of us, which brings us to the next question: How soon are we having the next off-site?

Images at