Here is an archive of recent emails sent to patrons in advance of the 2018 Presentation Summit.


Countdown to the Conference: Tuesday

Greetings from Room 1109 -- the official pre-conference headquarters at the DoubleTree Hotel in the Mission Valley area of San Diego. The view from my balcony overlooks a river and the trolley, on which $2.50 will get you downtown (to San Diego’s mega-cool Gasamp Quarter) in about 15 minutes. We’re also a 15-minute drive to Mission Bay and Mission Beach, our family’s version of Heaven on Earth for the better part of five decades. Why we don’t live down here is a mystery, and probably a surprise to some of you who hear me speak of my affinity for San Diego -- I’m actually a product of the SF Bay Area, having just completed a jaunty little eight-hour drive down Highway 5.

This letter goes out to all attendees of the conference -- patrons, exhibitors, and conference staff. With over 50% of the total house being first-timers, this will serve as the official “What-to-expect-when-you’ve-never-been-to-a-conference-as-cool-as-this-one guide.

Arrival & Accommodations

It is not difficult to get from the San Diego Airport to our host property. You can catch a cab without any advance reservation for about $25, and you can call an Uber with ease (with double ease if you use the conference app and touch Uber to Hotel from the More tab). If you choose to rent a car, you can park it for a reasonable rate at the DoubleTree. Address:

DoubleTree Mission Valley
7450 Hazard Center Dr.
San Diego, CA  92108

And consider sharing a ride to/from the airport by making use of our Shared Connections page.



Those of you joining us Saturday evening for our 6:00 Happy Hour will find us at the Windows Lounge, an indoor/outdoor bar right off the pool. Look for our signs and join us for our informal meet-and-greet.

Come Sunday morning, we will be in the hotel’s “Great Room,” known from this point forward as Conference Central. We’ll have signs up in the lobby to help you get there. If you are attending Sally Zimney’s 10:00a course, Transform Your Delivery, you can check in with us at 9:45a. Then we will check in those who are taking the Farewell to Death by PowerPoint course at 12:30 and Template Repair Workshop at 3:00. By 12:30, we will be opening check-in to everyone, which you can do throughout the day on Sunday or first thing Monday morning. And if those crash courses sound amazingly enticing, you can still partake. There are normally a half dozen who sign up for them on the spot and that’s fine with us. Full details at

We kick off in earnest Sunday evening at 5:00p; if you are in the hotel by then, make your way to Conference Central for our welcome reception, hosted by Microsoft. We’ll have food, drink, nice music, great schmoozing, Registration will be open so you can check in then, and even our Help Center will be open for business.

When you do check in, be it Sunday or Monday, you will receive our 125-page conference guide, with notes and information about every seminar and workshop. That book will help you decide which sessions to attend -- we do not require that you sign up for them ahead of time and you can pick and choose as you go through the day. This information is also available within the app, and you can even flag seminars and create a favorites list. Did I mention that I would like you to download it now?

Our partners coming for the Tuesday Expo are welcome anytime, can attend seminars Mon-Wed, and can sign up for our optional Sunday courses. Setup for the Expo will take place bright and early on Tuesday.


In Person is Where It’s At

The whole world is going virtual, with webinars, Skype conferences, and the like. And the more it does, the more we cherish what we have created at the Summit. We just think there is no substitute for bringing people together in one place, at one time, to interact in person. We make meeting others inevitable, and in our presentations, we literally require our presenters to take questions throughout, not hold them off until the end. And we schedule long breaks and lunches. You’ll see -- the bonding time is one of the most important qualities of the Summit.

During the seminars, some patrons choose to bring notebooks, tablets, small camcorders, or make use of a smartphone recording app to aid in their discovery. While neither required nor expected, we are fine with all of that, for personal and non-commercial use. We encourage you to bring an extra battery or make use of our charging station, as we cannot ensure your proximity to an AC outlet. To accommodate those who want to follow along with notebooks as well as those who want to watch without distractions, we reserve the leftmost two seats and the rightmost two seats in each row of our seminar rooms for those who want to operate notebook PCs and other devices that have upright displays.

And then there’s the Help Center, the place that practically invented the phrases "hands-on" and "interactive." We situate it in Conference Central and it is open and staffed almost non-stop from morning until evening. During the breaks between seminars, it is happy chaos in there. If you have a burning issue that warrants special attention (no, not literally -- you’re not at Burning Man), your best bet is to survey the schedule and pick a time at which you wouldn’t mind missing the seminars. During that time, you could probably get the undivided attention of one of our experts for the entire hour. The Help Center is so cool, we made a video about it, starring members of the Help Center team and several patrons who are back this year for more.


The Atmosphere

If you haven’t already figured it out, we are all about creating a comfortable environment for you to enjoy four days of learning. No temp agency will send strangers to work our lines -- when you check in on Sunday, you will most likely be greeted by my wife Becky, or a conference friend that we have known for over 10 years.

Normally, most Summit attendees dress somewhere between business casual, resort casual, and just plain casual. By the end of Day One, we will likely see many patrons wearing their conference T-shirts. Comfort is king -- that’s as close as we get to a dress code. As with most hotels, this one probably over air conditions, so bringing a sweater down from your room wouldn’t be a bad call. I might wear a tie on Day One...I haven’t decided yet...but otherwise, it will be khakis and polo shirts for me.

We require that you wear a badge for all conference activities and that you complete your conference evaluation on Wednesday. That’s pretty much it for the rules, and in 10 years, we have never come up with any new ones. If you think of any, let us know. Actually, no, if you think of any, we’ll make you chair of the rules committee, because we wouldn’t know what to do with a suggestion for a new rule.

That’s all for now. Watch for another report coming your way tomorrow, including a virtual tour of San Diego, and a bunch of other information that you had no idea you couldn’t live without. And then watch for another email the next day. My goal is to make you sick of me before you even arrive. We conference hosts have lofty ambitions.


Rick Altman
Purveyor of Useless Information
The Presentation Summit

Countdown to the Conference: Wednesday

Greetings once again from the top floor at the DoubleTree Hotel, where I would like to begin with a weather forecast:

Sunny, high of 76
Overnight low of 66

Mostly sunny, high of 76
Overnight low of 66

Sunny, high of 78
Overnight low of 66

Mostly Sunny, high of 76
Overnight low of 65

Sunny, high of 77
Overnight low of 67

Sunny, high of 78
Overnight low of 68

You get the idea: San Diego is not responsible for that old adage "if you don't like the weather, wait 15 minutes and it will change." In late-September, the marine layer is much thinner, and the warm desert air pushes further west, creating the kind of wonderfully boring conditions that we are likely to experience across our entire stay.

Visitors to the state can also see why our fire danger is so high: Since April, we have had less precipitation than most parts of the country would see in one hour of a summer storm. As a result, water conservation has become a way of life for us and you can do your part by hanging up your towel after your (short) shower, and informing your housekeeper that you do not need clean bedding every single day.

Drought or no, San Diego is a jewel. Within 20 minutes of our hotel, you will find:

1. Miles of breathtaking beaches, all swimmable, and tens of miles of bayside walking and riding trails.

2. A glorious downtown, full of great restaurants and hangouts.

3. Insane shopping

4. The world-famous San Diego Zoo

5. Balboa Park (where I'm going to play tennis tonight)

6. Old Town (where we are taking everyone Tue evening)

And the DoubleTree is right in the heart of it all -- about 10 minutes from downtown and 15 minutes from the shore. The city has jacked up the roads around the hotel, busy extending a nearby street, but the hotel itself is pristine, with fresh redesigns in all of its common areas and accommodations. We are often tempted to head downtown and brave the $300+ room rates or seek out a secluded bayside property. But we keep coming back to the comfort and location of this hotel, with the perfect amount of guest rooms, just the right sized meeting space, and a San Diego Trolley stop across the street.

In fact, to put my money where my typing fingers are, I took a few journeys yesterday, with my camera on. Check out my own version of San Diego Exposed at That was not a request by the way -- I slaved over a hot mouse and a bad Adobe interface for hours, so the least you could do is WATCH IT.

And while you’re at it, just know that a whole bunch of you have created profiles in the app and I love it! If you haven’t done so yourself...well, I’m crushed. I’m devastated. I might not recover in time to be your host. I know, I know, you have better things to do. Don’t worry about me, I’ll manage. I might as well be lying in a ditch somewhere, but I’ll get by.


Rick A.
Chief Guilt Manager
The Presentation Summit

Countdown to the Conference: Thursday

This is my last email to you before the conference, and yes, I can hear your sigh of relief from here. This morning’s marine layer seems lighter than usual; I predict on this final day of summer that we will be bathed in sunshine starting before 9:00a. A perfect day to hit the beach...wish I could!

You can, once you get here. I recommend rising at 6:50a to watch the sun rise over the Mission Valley hills. Not only because it is a great experience, but because we are going to get dibs on just about every other waking hour that you will have over the next several days. We will make it exceedingly difficult for you to not meet your fellow patrons, with hosted receptions on Sun, Mon, Tue, and Wed evenings, coupled with outings ranging from the spontaneous to the orchestrated. Here’s a rundown:

SATURDAY: The Presentation Summit officially opens Saturday evening for those who arrive early. We will be in Windows Lounge, the hotel's lobby bar, with cute little "Hello my name is..." nametags.

SUNDAY: Our friends from Microsoft are hosting our welcome reception, beginning at 5:00p. If you have arrived in town by then, please come by so you can check in, get your goodies, enjoy a beverage or two, and meet all of us.

We’ll be done by about 6:30p, just in time for the annual meeting of the Presentation Guild, open to all patrons. You'll have plenty of dinner options as there are several quality restaurants in the plaza connected to the hotel, many more at the mall just down the road, and countless more accessible via the Trolley. Consult the Dining in the Hood page in the conference app for lots of suggestions.

Our Sunday programming continues after dinner with the Entrepreneur's Round Table at 9:00p, designed for anyone who is in business for him or herself, for those considering it, for those who have advice for someone about to do it, or anyone who just wants to talk about it. This will likely take place in one of our ballrooms (although one year it was held in the bar!), and we will send out a notification about it that evening.

MONDAY: Our seminars conclude at 5:00p, at which point you will definitely want to follow the pack into Conference Central for our annual PowerPoint Trivia Contest. The Trivia Contest is an annual highlight best described, it's like...well, actually it's not really like anything that you've ever seen. I'll just tell you that there will be three teams, nine contestants, a hosted bar, and room for all of you to watch and enjoy. You won't want to miss it.

Monday dinner is on your own...but not really. Our cruise director Jen Parkinson will help form groups with like-minded taste buds, and Becky and I are walking up the lobby stairs to the connected plaza and heading over to Wood Ranch restaurant and we invite you to join us -- we have the entire back patio reserved and if you want to be one of our 70 BFFs, see the Dinner with Rick A. page in the conference app or just CLICK OR TOUCH HERE. Casual dining, separate checks for each table, a full menu, in a private area.

No matter where you go, you'll want to return for our late-night programming, starting at 9:00p and going until past most of our bedtimes. Our offerings are too numerous to list here; the printed guidebook and the app both offer chapter and verse.

TUESDAY: Once the Expo finishes at 5:00p, we give you about an hour of downtime. Then you are our guests for Fiesta Night in Old Town. We will all jump on the trolley for three quick stops and then a very short stroll to Fiesta de Reyes, where we’ll treat you to authentic Mexican food, cocktails, music, and socializing.

WEDNESDAY: We break at 4:30 and have an immediate opportunity to drown our sorrows, with a poolside winddown that will last until we decide that it's time for dinner.

THURSDAY: Those who are staying on for a day or two get to relax with us. The team knows that I go through wicked withdrawal if I don’t have people around me the day after. You will likely find a group of us at Mission Beach that afternoon, and I’ll happily direct you to my favorite spot, or if there is room in our SUV, schlep you along.

Wow, that's already a week from today. It's as if the conference is already over. I think that is a certain indicator that it is time for me to cease and desist from this spam train, wish you all safe travels to San Diego, and say one last time how much I am looking forward to greeting you all.


Rick A.
After-Hours Caretaker

P.S. I have had the great pleasure of corresponding with many of you over the summer and I want to connect email addresses to names and faces. But I can't even remember what I ate for dinner last night, so I need your help. If you and I have enjoyed an email or telephone exchange, please do remind me of it when we meet.


To use the app

1. Download the app. You can either go to your store and search on "Presentation Summit" or just click or touch here:

2. Once installed, open the app and touch the info icon in the top-right corner. Touch Login.

3. Pick an Email address that goes to you, create a password, and touch Register.

4. Wait for the three-digit code that will be emailed to you and enter it in the prompt in the app.

5. Complete the registration by filling in your name and, optionally, your mobile phone number.


Once you have registered with the app, create a profile so you can help build our community:

1. Touch Community.

2. Touch Create Profile.

3. Enter as much information as you would like. We would love it if you would add a photo and think of a cute/funny/interesting claim to fame.

4. Touch Everyone to start getting to know your fellow patrons.