Wednesday, January 25, 2006

The Powerpoint Virus

Some use it as a tool to convey information. Others use it as a tool to disguise lack of understanding. And like any technology, it has the capability to do good and bad in the universe. In case you felt your company was the only place it is used to confuse, a recent article on yahoo has the following statement from genentech's CEO:

"When Levinson sees signs of culture atrophy, he pounces, as he did in an e-mail to senior managers in December about "the spread of unintelligible, gibberish-laden PowerPoint presentations.... I have recently sat through several presentations that were simply incomprehensible -- mind-numbing, bloated discourses that were full of buzzwords and otherwise devoid of meaningful content. This is a serious problem, and the worst part is that it's spreading like the disease it is." (His abhorrence of corporate-speak helps explain why Levinson loathes consultants. "They suck you dry," he says.)"

1 comment:

kim said...

It's a tool like any other, and can be both used and abused. Like, say, firearms.

I've been reading "Art of the Start" lately, and in Kowasaki suggests a 10/20/30 rule: 10 slides, 20 minutes, 30 point font. Basically, there's no room for bulls**t.

The argument at Intel always comes back about the "stand-alone presentation" for mailing around and such. At MS, I was surprised to learn that generally any pitch/proposal is documented in a paper. Again, no handwaving. At least if it's written right.

Looking back at the first paper I wrote up since joining, it could have been better. I'm thinking there's an analogous 1/2/3 rule or something like that, which I'm going to going to go blog about now to get some thoughts down.