Think Different, a Case Study

Areal-life example of thinking different: using Google Slides as a website CMS… h/t Dan Oshinksy

Relentlessly, I reassure my software industry clients that I have a tech background despite headlining my consulting business with dreaded marketing. In fact, the other day when I asked a client for access to their dev site, and they linked me to a github repository, wherein lived a roll-your-own CMS built in Jango… I almost decided to install it.

But that rabbit hole was sidestepped. I even wrote a WordPress plugin a couple of years to scratch an itch – not being able to easily see a list of all shortcodes instantiated on a WordPress instance.

I actually do know way more than I ever needed to learn about CMS software in particular, especially on the LAMP stack, and especially WordPress and dreaded Drupal.

Implementing the right software the right way is still the most important technology choice in business worldwide. And it’s done poorly by US businesses about 99.7% of the time). That’s equally true for $10,000 websites as for 20 million dollar ones – and I’ve worked at both ends of that spectrum on multiple engagements.

So imagine my surprise and delight when I found a compelling website on the one of the simplest CMS products (well, seemingly simple) in existence: Google Slides. Not a CMS, of course – this is a hack. And it’s a creative and bold one:

I’m a Slides junky too and I have been doing this with pitch decks, proposals, etc., for a while. I’d been creating them in Slides and then exporting to PDF, then emailing said PDFs after, say, presenting them during a Zoom meeting – but that felt false. Plus impossible to correct errors.

So I just started sending people the Google Slides link, like this. As a matter of fact I’ve got a David C Baker style “client orientation manual” that is an evergreen Google Slides presentation.

But using it as website is next-level bold and creative, wow!

But beyond style points, and the point about thinking different, which is part of the Inbox Collective’s brand promise, this is about moving towards substance over syntax.

Yet it also retains of the mystery of, say, Alt Group, while still managing to actually speak at some length.

I would certainly not necessarily recommend this approach, just as I wouldn’t recommend you hand-roll a Jango CMS, or use Drupal 8.

But I would encourage you to use tools in a way they were not intended to be used. That’s part of the point; the other point is to sell a thing, not the packaging enveloping that thing.