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An Interview with Ross Boucher

In this interview, Ross discusses how 280Slides evolved, the interface, and more.


Ross Boucher Ross Boucher is shown in the picture on the left of this page. On his left is Tom Robinson, and Francisco Tolmasky is to his right. Ross is from 280 North, a company based in Cupertino, United States that creates the 280Slides online presentation program.

In this interview, Ross discusses how 280Slides evolved, the interface, input and output formats supported, and the response to the program.

Geetesh: Tell us more about your team, and how 280Slides evolved.

Ross: Our company, 280 North, is made up of three co-founders: Tom Robinson, Francisco Tolmasky, and myself. We met in college, and have been working together since. We started writing 280 Slides in January, showed it for the first time in March, and just released our public beta last week.

Geetesh: Unlike similar online presentation programs, the 280Slides interface is snappier. Tell us more about this aspect.

North 280 Ross: We put a lot of effort into making 280 Slides as fast as possible. We've got a large amount of code that all gets sent over the network when you load 280 Slides, so we've put a lot of work into reducing load times. We're also taking a very different approach than much of what has come before us, so we've had to discover new ways of solving common problems as we go along.

Geetesh: What helped you decide upon PowerPoint's new PPTX file format as the output format? Are there any advantages in using this format?

Ross: PowerPoint is the de-facto standard in presentation software. Almost everyone creating and giving presentations is using PowerPoint, and we wanted to make sure those people would be able to integrate 280 Slides into their existing workflow as much as possible. Microsoft is committed to their new format, and has released it as an open standard, unlike the previous proprietary binary format.

Geetesh: Are there any plans of providing an import option for PowerPoint files? Or any other format?

Ross: Absolutely. We're working hard on importing and exporting from multiple formats.

Geetesh: How has the response to the beta been so far? Can you share some thoughts, opinions, etc.

Ross: The response has been very positive. We've gotten a lot of feedback, and generated a lot of interest. Of course, its still really early, and right now we want to focus on polishing 280 Slides and implementing more of the features we'd really like to see in it.

Geetesh: Is there anything you would like to share with Indezine readers? A message, an anecdote, or just something unconventional about 280Slides.

Ross: 280 Slides is fundamentally about making it really easy to create presentations. By running in the browser for free, we're already removing a huge barrier, but we also put a great deal of effort into ensuring that the user interface is simple and elegant.

See Also: First Look at 280Slides

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