In a New York Times article We Have Met the Enemy and He Is PowerPoint, published earlier this week, Elisabeth Bumiller assaults PowerPoint and its stranglehold on the daily lives of American soldiers. As presented by Ms. Bumiller, the situation is so bleak that one Army lieutenant, asked how he spends most of his time deployed in Iraq, responded, “Making PowerPoint slides.” Pressed, it turned out he was quite serious.
PowerPoint at its best is a mediocre tool to create mediocre presentations. PowerPoint in general magnifies the worst inefficiencies of big organizations and encourages the weaker tendencies of small minds within. I will not describe further my utter disdain for PowerPoint: I haven’t the language. Odds are the reader hasn’t the time.
For the poor souls conditioned to create deck after PowerPoint deck (dreck?) for the torture of their peers, mine are fighting words. Strangely the loudest dissent may well come from one known to me. Though he and I have not been in touch for a while, Adam Cooper grew up with a close friend of mine, and back when the three of us lived in NYC, we gathered occasionally on my roof deck for poker nights. Indeed, you would never suspect Adam to be a purveyor of evil, yet he is the proud author of PowerPoint Presentations That Sell. The reader might imagine my internal struggle to at once condemn dubious claims of “effective” PowerPoint and blindly promote a buddy’s book (see Figure 1). In the end, the only shared ground on which we might build a compromise may be David Byrne’s PowerPoint art (see Figure 2).