Thursday, April 18, 2013

Thought for the morning: "Powerpoint makes us stupid.", Gen. James Mattis, USMC

It's perhaps a repeat, but a good one:
“PowerPoint makes us stupid,” Gen. James N. Mattis of the Marine Corps, the Joint Forces commander, said this month at a military conference in North Carolina. (He spoke without PowerPoint.) Brig. Gen. H. R. McMaster, who banned PowerPoint presentations when he led the successful effort to secure the northern Iraqi city of Tal Afar in 2005, followed up at the same conference by likening PowerPoint to an internal threat. 
“It’s dangerous because it can create the illusion of understanding and the illusion of control,” General McMaster said in a telephone interview afterward. “Some problems in the world are not bullet-izable.”
One wonders if you could do a correlating chart between a decline in "real innovation" and the introduction of Powerpoint to US industry.

12 comments:

  1. What drives me nuts is all of the time I spend preparing a stupid PP presentation for a lab meeting, and all of the time I spend trying to make it look cool. It would be easier if I just opened the spread sheet with the data, but that is not good enough for the boss.

    It takes too much time, when I should be doing an experiment.

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  2. Sometimes Powerpoint is not the best tool for the job, but I usually find it to be of great value in summarizing and presenting data, and is often the clearest and easiest way to do this and walk people through the arguments, provoke discussion, etc.

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  3. I think using it in a stupid way makes you stupid. Clip art, flashing colors and neverending bullets are mostly wastes of space. But I don't know how I would present my thesis or job talks without it.

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  4. Maybe someone hasn't seen the Gettysburg Address in Powerpoint?
    http://norvig.com/Gettysburg/

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    1. fantastic!

      Soooo much better than original. Could have used a pie chart.

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  5. Stupid or not, it beats transparencies hands down.

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  6. "One wonders if you could do a correlating chart between a decline in "real innovation" and the introduction of Powerpoint to US industry."

    That'd be a great action item for the Gantt chart.....

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  7. http://www.edwardtufte.com/tufte/powerpoint

    I think Edward Tufte was the first outspoken powerpoint apostate

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  8. The blog Presentation Zen (http://www.presentationzen.com/presentationzen/) has lots of useful presentation tips.

    Presentations by Tom Peters are available here: http://www.tompeters.com/slides/content.php

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  9. The problem with PowerPoint is the same as that in Excel. It's easily accessible and when you start out, it seems so simple to create a new slide, add an image or populate cells and create formulae (in Excel).

    PowerPoint is getting more intuitive as a program and the latest additions to PowerPoint 2013 are awesome. The new presenter view is great at keeping the speaker in charge of the presentation.

    http://www.microsofttraining.net/b/powerpointtraining/2013/04/26/powerpoint-2013-see-whats-coming-with-presenter-view/

    Of course, this won't help if the content you put into the slides is complete rubbish in the first place

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  10. Did nobody else catch that a Marine Corps General said, “Some problems in the world are not bullet-izable.”? When I was in the Marines bullets were our number 1 solution to problems.

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    Replies
    1. Yes, someone did...

      http://blogs.sciencemag.org/pipeline/archives/2011/01/19/dogs_and_ponys#comment-38409

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