The cult of PowerPoint


Recent articles on how PowerPoint contributed to failure at NASA reminded me that this is hardly a new discovery. The Department of Defense long ago discovered that PowerPoint is a great way to hide the fact that you don't know what you're talking about.

I remember reading an article (which I of course can't find now) of a "cult of PowerPoint". Apparently some organizations take the built-in PowerPoint template as gospel. Every presentation must follow the structure established by the PowerPoint template. The first slide is always a title; the second is always a statement of a problem; the third slide is always summary of previous work, etc.

Um, people, it's just a template.

And before the Linux folks get all so gloaty: "Ravens Coach Brian Billick faults last week's [October 2001] defensive breakdown on team's switch to Linux operating system."

Comments (3)
  1. mike says:

    Are you maybe thinking of an article titled "Absolute PowerPoint" by Ian Parker (New Yorker, May 28, 2001) — ? (Hey, it’s even online! http://www.physics.ohio-state.edu/~wilkins/group/powerpt.html)

    Quote: "But it’s hard to shake off AutoContent’s spirit: even the most easy-going PowerPoint template insists on a heading followed by bullet points, so that the user is shepherded toward a staccato, summarizing frame of mind."

    Which they follow by citing this famous parody:

    http://www.norvig.com/Gettysburg/sld001.htm

  2. Tim the Enchanter says:

    See Joel Spolsky’s bit on powerpoint :

    http://www.joelonsoftware.com/items/2003/06/19.html

  3. Jason Goodwin says:

    I don’t have anything else to add, but I think that Linux comment was a joke. Kind of an in-joke that few of the football crowd that I know would get, but still a joke.

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