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I discovered something that could change your business: hand-drawn videos


As a fellow visual-thinker, I wanted to share with you an update and special discount on my Udemy.com hand-drawn video course. I launched the course two weeks ago and already have 200 students — and the reviews are great:

“Really empowering! This course makes me feel I can do this too. Everything is explained in detail and with concrete examples. Very inspiring.” 5 Stars

“Short lectures and easy to understand! It is great fun to start making hand-drawn videos just after some lectures.” 5 Stars

“The lessons are great because they are simple and fun. Dan keeps things focused on sharing ideas in a simple way. One of the best courses on Udemy!” 5 Stars

Here’s the backstory: Two years ago, I made a simple discovery which has had an extraordinary impact on my business: hand-drawn videos. Hand-drawn videos are are magnetic to viewers, typically attracting twice the audience of a talking-head video of the same message. And they are easy to make using just PowerPoint and simple screen-recording software. Last year alone, hand-drawn videos added $150,000 to my business revenue!

Hand-drawn whiteboard videos are clear and authentic animations that make your marketing, sales, and educational messages come alive. For cognitive and neuro-mechanical reasons we will explore, these videos are like catnip to the human mind. And the best part is: you can make these videos by yourself using with no previous animation experience and using basic software that you probably already have.

Let me repeat that: with no cameras, no lights, no studio, no on-screen stress, and no hired animators, you can create uniquely powerful and memorable videos that audiences can’t stop watching. 

To share this discovery with the visual-thinking community, I spent last year developing a complete training course that explains every single step required to create these videos using PowerPoint and a simple screen-capture app called Camtasia. I tested and refined the course for six months with 300 students at my napkinacademy.com. And now I’m releasing the course through Udemy.com, just for you.

Today, I’m offering you Lifetime access to the course as a Launch Student for 50% off. (Save $100! Normally this course costs $199, but sign up now and pay only $99.) Be sure to take advantage of this discount while it lasts. (Through October 31, 2015.) Here is where you can get your 50% off discount:


In this course, we’ll be covering:

  • The two pieces of basic software you’ll need to create your own videos.
  • Learn to create your first hand-drawn video in less than four minutes.
  • See how to use the basic animation tools of PowerPoint to visualize your thoughts.
  • Use my video checklist to review your clip before you upload to YouTube (or any other video site).

I put my best teaching to use in this course, so you’ll learn through a combination of video lessons delivered by me, real life examples and case studies, quizzes to check your progress, and plenty of printable supplemental material.

I look forward to seeing you in the course. Feel free to forward this to friends and colleagues who would benefit!

All the best,




Draw with me this summer in San Francisco! [Workshop]

Register for Dan Roam's visual-thinking workshop

Please join me on Aug. 6 & 7, 2015 in San Francisco as I offer my full two-day Back of the Napkin workshop. Register now and learn how to use pictures to:


Fly with Dan to SF this summer and draw!

I’ve trained thousands of businesspeople around the world to become master visual-thinkers. Now I’d like to share the power of pictures with you. Join me at San Francisco’s wonderful Kabuki Hotel for two full days of visual-thinking, storyboarding, presentation practice, and inspiration.

Kabuki Hotel in SF Japantown

The cost for both days is $1,295. (Early bird special: Register before May 15 and save $200! Only $1,095 for this limited time.) Your fee includes:

  • 16 hours of intense, hands-on visual training.
  • The Back of the Napkin Expanded Edition book.
  • The Show & Tell book. (Amazon’s Top-20 business book of 2014)
  • Personal whiteboard, pen, & erasure.
  • 2 creativity-powering breakfasts & lunches.
  • True insight, useful tools, & real-world exercises.

Receive 2 books, drawing materials, and 4 meals

In this fun, engaging, and inspiring seminar, we’ll cover:

  1. The essentials of visual-thinking.
  2. How to draw anything.
  3. How to use visuals for leadership, innovation, & sales.
  4. How to use your mind’s eye for discovery & decision-making.
  5. How to make extraordinary presentations with simple pictures.

This is the full, two-day version of the seminar I have delivered at Microsoft, Boeing, Google, Gap, Kraft, Philips, Siemens, Intel, the United States Senate, and the White House.

Seminar clients

This will be my only two-day public seminar this year, so I’d love to see you there! Register now.


Drawings and smiles



Top 3 reasons Apple’s iCar will happen. (Hint: it isn’t about the car.)


Over the past three weeks, more interesting articles have appeared in the business press about Apple’s potential move into the car business than about any other single tech innovation, including the Apple Watch. (Which unlike the car, is a real product with a real launch date.)

Lead initially by a story in the WSJ.com and a quick back-of-the-napkin analysis by @jason, everyone then jumped onto the iCar bandwagon from the Economist to NYT to Bloomberg to the NewYorker … the list goes on.

Business Insider: Why Apple will enter the auto industry.

Business Insider: Why Apple will enter the auto industry.

And that’s a good thing. Why? Because as the chart above shows, just about the only industry left on earth big enough for Apple to disrupt is the auto industry.

As a car-nut, tech-nut, Apple-nut, and business-nut, I decided to pull the pieces together and see if the Apple iCar makes any sense. The result? It does.


Check out my full iCar presentation here on slideshare.net:

The 3 top takeaways:

1) Apple serves to change the world. A watch doesn’t change anything.


2) Apple has the design, outsourcing, technical, and marketing skill to do it.

3) Above all, Apple changes industries, not just technologies.


My take? iCar by 2021.

Available in white, silver, or black.




Napkin videos; my mind-bending breakthrough!

Having drawn hundreds of “back of the napkin” sketches to help explain everything from Healthcare to the Hero’s Journey, I know first-hand the remarkable power of simple drawings.

Now I’ve learned something new: napkin pictures are even more effective as video.

And here’s the best thing: we can make videos like this with… ready for it? PowerPoint.

That’s right. I made this entire video using the basic animation tools of plain-old PowerPoint. I captured them using Camtasia (a screen-recording app) and added free music from the amazing bensound.com.

The process is remarkably simple. (You can see the whole thing in detail as an Associate on my napkinacademy.com.)

1) Write a short script.

write a script

2) Create a storyboard in PowerPoint. (1 idea & drawing per slide; take as many slides as you need.)


3) Use the animation tools to move pieces around on the slide.

4) Play the animation while recording the screen.

5) Edit and add sound in Camtasia.

Presto! Instant viral video.

How cool is that?! Now I’m making videos of everything. It takes just a couple hours to explain… well, anything!

Again, for details on all the steps, join me at the napkinacademy.com. Use the coupon code NAPKINVIDEO to save $10 OFF your first month.


Our Health Care Napkins pass 1.7 million views!

A FEW YEARS AGO, my doctor friend Tony Jones and I became worried about the health care reform debate. People were bringing guns to town hall meetings, there were fist-fights in the hallways of congress, and it felt like the nation was tearing itself apart.

In the midst of all this, Tony and I agreed that the media wasn’t doing anything to help — in fact, it was the media (left and right alike) that was driving the angst. Rather than providing any explanation of what “Obamacare” was actually about, all they were doing was talking about how ‘divisive’ everything was. (Which in media-speak is just an excuse to air the very worst of human behavior in order to capture eyeballs.)

So we decided to create a simple visual explanation of the ACTUAL LAW. And we did.

And our drawings just passed 1.7 MILLION views on slideshare.net. Wow.

It took 43 simple pictures to do it, but we managed to cover:

  1. The perceived need for health care reform.
  2. The underlying rift between doctors and insurance that drove the problem in the first place.
  3. How big health care spending has become.
  4. The various proposed solutions.

When we were done, I posted our slideshow on slideshare.net. Within weeks it became one of the most viewed presentations on the site. It was picked up by the HuffingtonPost.com, which got me invited on-air by Fox News. That got me invited to present to the White House Office of Communications. A month later, BusinessWeek selected our napkins as “The World’s Greatest Presentation of 2009.”

Without a doubt, those 43 simple drawings were the most influential I’ve ever created.

So here we are 5 years later. Obamacare is law. It was a mess at first, but seems to be working better and attracting members. It remains a central point of political contention in America. The Supreme Court is thinking of debating it again. So around and around we go, again. At least now I feel like I understand it.