033: Scott Schwertly - On the Science of Design

Scott Schwertly is a presentation design GURU. Honestly, I'm so pumped that we got a chance to talk (especially because he JUST HAD A BABY!) - but also because I really admire and appreciate his work at Ethos3.  

In this episode of This Moved Me, Scott and I talked about how he focuses on both the art - and the science - of presentation development.  Ethos3 works to "out-teach" the competition, focusing on the science behind all of those top 10 lists to becoming a better speaker.

Listen to the podcast

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Show highlights

In this episode we discuss:

  • How Scott stumbled upon the work of presentation development from the world of marketing.
  • The symbolism of three - Pathos, Ethos, Logos - beginning, middle, end - 1, 2, 3 points - and how those pieces inspired the name of the company.
  • The value of design software - and its uses (He uses Keynote, FYI.)
  • The new design software - Slide Magic - by Jan Schultink at Idea Transplant
  • The trends and continued bad habits Scott sees through the cross-section of presentation decks
  • The best book Scott's ready lately - 100 Things Every Presenter Needs to Know About People

[Tweet "As long as my team is growing personally and professionally - then our work will continue to grow. - Scott Schwertly on @ThisMovedMe"]

This Moved Me Moments:


Guy Kawasaki - "If you're going to go create a company, you should create a company that creates meaning - not money."

So, Scott focuses on making meaning first. So when they had a chance to work with Best Buddies, it felt like they were really capturing that idea. It was a moving moment to see that his vision was coming to fruition.

(Check out Best Buddies to learn more about their amazing work dedicated to creating opportunities for one-to-one friendships, integrated employment and leadership development for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.)


Ignite Minneapolis. Funny, spunky, interesting and thoughtful! The beer is free, so in that vein the talks are especially bold (and super fun). Check out the YouTube channel that highlights the various talks from the event.

Here's one of my favorites I've discovered about how not nice the word nice is. (A special ode to my lovely home state of Minnesota!) It's a sassy one!

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rpFoWbLIx20&w=560&h=315]


I hope you enjoyed this week’s episode!

You know iTunes?  I'm sure you do. iTunes decides what's "hot" and what's "not" based almost entirely on how many people Subscribe, Rate and Review the podcast.  So - if you like what I'm doing, would you take a few moments to say so?  It's so easy, I promise, and makes a huge difference!


Let's keep this conversation going:

Scott and I talked about the worst habits he's seen in the cross-section of decks that he sees on a weekly basis. What's the most common bad design habit that you see?  I'd love to know in the comments or let me know on Twitter.

About Scott:

Scott Schwertly is the founder of Ethos 3, a presentation design agency. He has one rule about showering: do it. He does, and it is during this time that his best ideas, like Ethos3, happen. In fact, his trenchant zeal for hygiene may well have started the revolution that will one day bring the State of the Union to you via slidecast. Since October of 2006, Ethos3 has been fighting a just war with bullet points, a harrowing but fulfilling destiny.

You can also find Scott and Ethos3 on Twitter for lots of great resources and tips!


Read this post on This Moved Me.