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Duarte Design is on a mission to change the world, one PowerPoint presentation at a time. Nancy and Mark Duarte, the wife-and-husband team behind Al Gore's famous slideshow about global warming, have built a thriving business out of creating high-impact PowerPoint and Keynote presentations. Their company has become the go-to presentation resource for some of high technology's most visible companies, such as Adobe, Cisco, and HP. But Nancy will be the first to tell you that it's not the technology that matters most, but rather the story. This installment of Creative Inspirations tells the story of how this power duo elevated lowly PowerPoint presentations to arguably the most compelling form of modern media.
(Music playing.) Mark Duarte: I don't think it is an easy task for a couple to work together. It's a lot of work. It's a lot of work and it does try the relationship. I think Nancy and I have a really strong relationship and I wouldn't recommended it for every body. Nancy Duarte: What's funny though we enjoy spending a lot of time with each other like we just finished going on a long vacation and now that the weekends have come up, we are like I just miss you.
I want to spend an enormous amount of time. So ever since we started the company, our office is more attached with a door or open window. Mark Duarte: Yeah! We just have window between our offices that it was sliding glass and we could open it and we would just listen that what was going on. It kept us informed of what was going on in the business. Nancy Duarte: We loved spending time together and I don't think very many couples can do it. We completely delineated our roles, so we are not really handing things off to each other. I am not putting all kinds of deadlines on him. He is not putting deadlines on me. So when we get home at night, we have to say "how was your day" or "how was your day." It's like not really kind of working at the same place, but I don't know.
I wouldn't say it's hurt the relationship at all. Mark Duarte: Well, I think we've learned how to manage the relationship at work and separate that from our relationship at home or outside of work. We do have a different functions, so that helps. We are not both doing the creative or are not both doing the finances or we are not both doing the technology, but we bounce ideas of each other. I will jump in on a creative brainstorm and assist when I can and I'll bounce it-- Nancy Duarte: I will jump into IT.
Mark Duarte: And we'll fix it, right after that. But I think our roles are separate. Our personalities are night and day. We are opposites in likes and tastes and interests and every which way we are like opposite. We look at each other sometimes and we go, how would we do it? Because it's just seems like there is not like there is a lot of compatibility. There is a lot of complement.
I think that's the thing we have realized as I have come to understand her strengths and she has come to understand mine and even though we are very different, we understand that those strengths have an important role in making our business successful and what it is today. Nancy Duarte: Our kids always really enjoyed we would come home and talk about work. I think we modeled really good communication to them as they were watch us and listen to us work through issues, because we had to stay professional and work through issues. I think both our kids are really good communicators, because of us kind of working together and then watching us work through it.
We don't really fight and we don't pick like some couples do. So there is no real awkward-- We get that question mark when people come here to interview. They are like, what's it like to work for you guys? Do you fight right in front of everyone? We are like, no, we don't do that. We actually ride our bikes into work together and it's kind of fun. Mark Duarte: I can see where it would fall apart for some couples. I mean you can't be so proud or arrogant that you wouldn't allow your wife to be successful and get all the attention and be the face of the company.
I had to realize that if we wanted to be successful, I need to let her strengths shine. Let her be the face, let her be in front of clients, let her be the CEO. I'm fine with it. I don't have any problem with it. Because I like to golf and like to pull myself away more and more. I want to go golf. Nancy Duarte: He lets me do whatever I want and I let him golf. Mark Duarte: I will just give her a long enough leash that I'll let it go for a ways and then I have to yank it back a little bit every now and then and then we're fine. Nancy Duarte: Then we are fine. Mark Duarte: Yeah, we are fine.
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