I used to write a blog called #KillingCorporateDecks. At the time, I was working at Oracle and a big part of my job was giving presentations – oftentimes introducing customers to the latest Oracle technologies and explaining how to use them.
These weren’t your typical, run-of-the-mill corporate slideshows overloaded with bullet points copied and pasted from the speaker notes. I threw myself into my presentations, designing custom slides and talk tracks for every last one. The way I saw it, getting people into the room was only half the battle. Just because someone shows up doesn’t mean they will actually pay attention. You have to work for it. You have to earn it.
I also just really enjoyed the creative process. These presentations gave me an opportunity to quench my thirst as an artist and bring creativity into an otherwise highly-technical role. I focused heavily on the design elements and visual storytelling to capture people’s attention and keep them engaged. I broke the mold and turned technical slides into artwork.
The best part is how much people loved it. In some respects, the art of the presentation became my calling card.
Before long, colleagues started asking if I could teach them how to do it. So, I launched a training program at Oracle to help people reset their thinking about corporate decks and discover new ways to build and present them. (I’m pleased to say the program still lives on to this very day.) As part of that effort, I created KillingCorporateDecks.com – first, as a place to save and share the various training materials I was developing at the time; and then later, as a creative outlet for exploring a wider range of ideas and observations about business, technology, and leadership.
I kept up with the blog for an entire year, writing regularly and attracting a sizeable audience – and then everything changed.
First, I left Oracle and co-founded Incorta. All of a sudden, my priorities shifted. I love writing – it helps me process my thoughts and often sparks new ones – but wow it can take a lot of time. As a co-founder of a new startup, I no longer had the luxury. Fast forward one year and my universe shifted once again when my wife and I fostered a sibling set of three children under the age of three. With that, my time – which was already scarce – became extremely precious and my blog went on hiatus.
Top Left Photograph: June 19, 2014 – Incorta co-founders at our first unofficial office, the Bay Club. (From left to right: Klaus Fabian, Matthew Halliday, Hichem Sellami, Osama Elkady.)
Now, nearly seven years later, the time has come to bring it back! My kids are becoming more independent by the day and Incorta is now supported by a team of 300+ smart, capable, and driven individuals. I’ve reached a point where I can finally take the time that’s needed to share some of the insights, observations, and life lessons that I’ve picked up over the past several years. I’m a big believer in the idea that you cannot get the full enjoyment out of an experience until you share it, and so this is something I need to do for myself as much as anyone else.
Incorta is official in it’s 7th year now, so we are no longer in diapers. 1st grade here we come!
I was also inspired to pick this back up by a recent serendipitous encounter: At the end of 2019, I struck up a conversation with Vala Afshar over lunch during Constellation’s Connected Enterprise event in Half Moon Bay (#CCE2019). It was one of those invigorating conversations that just flows naturally – we talked technology, leadership, the world at large, and more. As lunch was wrapping up, he says to me, “You should write a book. In fact, I think you already have an outline.” That got me thinking…
As I get back into the swing of writing, it’s hard to say yet whether the thoughts and experiences I share here will turn into a book one day – time will tell. At this point, it’s mainly for my own benefit. I just need to get the ideas down. If others find these posts interesting and useful, even better.
What will I be writing about? A wide variety of topics, from startup life and work culture, to product management, running teams large and small, being a leader, using data, finding balance – stories and ideas that I need to document and share. For instance, you will likely read about what it’s like pitching VCs who don’t believe what you are claiming, landing deals large and small, delivering keynotes, building teams, fostering three kids through to adoption, finding resilience and grit, and on and on the list goes.
I have only two requests: (1) If you find something useful here, don’t keep it to yourself. I want to live in a world where we all communicate better, share more, think bigger and longer term, and realize the importance of our work and where we fit into the grand scheme. (2) I want you to challenge me. If you think something is a terrible idea – or even just incomplete – I want to hear from you. Be courteous, but please push back. Enlighten my thinking. I see this blog as a place for freedom of expression without it being taken personally.
Some of the articles you will find here are from 2014, back when this blog was still called #KillingCorporateDecks. They are standing the test of time rather well, and while I may make a few small updates here and there, I plan to keep them around.
And finally, a note about this blog’s new title: Layered Delay. In the years since my last post on #KillingCorporateDecks, so much has happened in my personal life and professionally that the original title felt too narrow for this next chapter. You can read more about what Layered Delay means on the About Me page, but I think the following captures its meaning – and my intentions with this blog – better than anything else:
Life doesn’t always make sense during the journey, but often reveals a beautiful masterpiece when looking back. Let’s explore that together.Matthew Halliday
While writing this post, I was looking for content to show the journey and came across this video of Incorta’s new office, which we moved in at the start of 2020 and planned to grow into over the coming years. Who would have guessed that an office that was 3-4x larger than our previous space would end up being just the right size a mere four months later as we think about how to ensure our employees wellbeing moving forward. I’m sure our office configuration will look very different when you visit us in the future.