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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Death By Power Point


There is a news story today in the New York Times about the military being crippled by that super fantastic product known as Power Point. Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating but it is pretty interesting to note the number of complaints members of the military have about how Power Point dependant they have become.

I’ve spent quite a few years working for Microsoft, the company who owns the Power Point product, and can image the frustration the military feels; and the negative impact it has to creativity, productivity, and personality.

Here are a few quotes from the article:

- “PowerPoint makes us stupid,” Gen. James N. Mattis of the Marine Corps. – Most of the people I’ve seen move up in management positions can put together a great Power Point deck, can basically manage all their projects in Power Point, and quite a few could be confused for an actual retarded person. So yeah, this quote is valid.

- It’s dangerous because it can create the illusion of understanding and the illusion of control,” General McMaster said – Oh hell yes! How many presentations have I sat through that provide no real information, yet give the presenter the illusion of knowing what they are talking about? So many I can’t count. My claim to fame is spending a good 3 to 6 months in a contract at Microsoft where the end result was a 30 page power point presentation that contained no majorly useful information. After that contract was up the same group hired me back later for another contract, partially because I did such a good job to first time around

- “Commanders say that behind all the PowerPoint jokes are serious concerns that the program stifles discussion, critical thinking and thoughtful decision-making.” Ever sat in a meeting that consisted of sleeping through a presentation with very little discussion on the content of that presentation? I have.

“Last year when a military Web site, Company Command, asked an Army platoon leader in Iraq, Lt. Sam Nuxoll, how he spent most of his time, he responded, “Making PowerPoint slides.” When pressed, he said he was serious.” – when not attending a meeting that didn’t need to happen, I tend to spend a large portion of my day creating presentations for those meetings. My buddy Eccentri City (who posts here on occasion) spent quite a bit of time on a contract assignment throwing together a Power Point with graphs, bubbles, and animations. The end product looked great, and after he presented it, it was never seen from again.

check out the full article for more



2 comments:

Quorri Scharmyn said...

My PowerPoints do nothing but enlighten and expand horizons :P

This is similar, though different, to my idea that cell phones and other extensions of our minds are making us more stupid, instead of smarter or more productive.

Can you remember anyone's phone number?

CM said...

I remember my own, does that count.