Hi, all. Tony Ramos here writing from a mostly personal experience perspective with an odd story. It has a beginning. We don’t know what happened in the middle. But it has a happy ending.
In the winter of 2017, as we were getting the Presentation Guild off the ground, we noticed that LinkedIn, the business- and career-oriented social media platform, was ramping up LinkedIn ProFinder. Launched in October 2015, ProFinder was promoted by LinkedIn as a paid premium service by which businesses and expert freelancers could find each other. Companies would submit a request for proposals. Freelancers would be alerted to opportunities matching their profiles and then choose to submit a bid for services.
We noticed that “presentation design” was absent from their 19 sub-categories within the overall category of “design.” That made us unhappy. One of the top reasons we started this volunteer-driven nonprofit association was to give voice and credibility to this skilled profession which many don’t even know exists: presentation design, support, and delivery at a professional level. Sigh.
So we called them, we wrote them, we posted on social media. You might even remember this blog post. Big tip of the hat to Guild Director Julie Terberg, who wrote in our Slack channel, “I know many of us were hammering them on this issue. Personally, I spent hours on the phone with LinkedIn staff and more hours emailing them, describing our roles and why this distinction is so important.” But it didn’t sound like LinkedIn was listening. At least not initially.
Fast forward to June of 2020. I pretended to be searching for a presentation professional in LinkedIn Profinder and came upon this screen early in the search. Wait, what? Presentation design is listed fifth? Really?
What happened between then and now is still a mystery to us. I attempted to get an official statement from LinkedIn, but got only “congratulations” and “great work” from a personal contact there. She added, “I work with some amazing designers and definitely agree about the power of great presentation design.”
Did the corporate landscape change? In June 2016, Microsoft announced its intent to purchase LinkedIn for $26.2 billion. The noticeable effects have been, well, incremental at best. Did the market landscape change? Presentation design, presentation technology, presentation people – from our perspective, we’d shout a resounding yes. Did pressure from Guild members and directors work? We honestly don’t know. We would love to think so, but if it remains a mystery, that’s fine.
Overall, we’ll take this as a win.