Friday, February 25, 2005


Powerpoint is not the world's greatest tool.

"Nobody should be surprised that PowerPoint does not measure up to the great speeches of history, such as Lincoln's Gettysburg address. And it is certainly a shame when a potentially interesting presentation is dumbed down by another formulaic over-application of PowerPoint. But when PowerPoint leads not just to boredom but to bad decisions, it is a tragedy, not just a shame."

~ Peter Norvig

Check it out. (Link)


Anonymous said...

We've used that "new nations" graph in our of our presentations here at Rose.

It was great.

Anonymous said...

Freaking enter key, didn't let me tag the above post!

Kanishk said...

I disagree.

I'm not a big fan of Powerpoint as an application, but I do believe that Multimedia Presentations and slide-based deliveries are the way for all the great speeches of the future.

We live in a day of edited CNN sound-bites and demagogic Fox News micro-clips.

Great speeches, like those of Lincoln and Kennedy, are no longer acceptable to the *average* audience. If anything, formal, eloquent, or even Bill-Clinton-layman-style speeches are edited and, as a consequence, horribly misrepresented to the ignorant audience.

A presentation on the other hand, is like a multimedia hatchet job - one that demands and captures the attention of Generation Ritalin.

Sid Stamm said...

Taking your point a bit farther, the future of great speeches in "Generation Ritalin" as you so aptly put it, is no longer live persona addresses -- the mass media of choice is most likely 30 second TV spots. They've got the flash and jerk in there, take a look at the White Lies and Target Market anti-tobacco ads.

I really get irked at those people who misuse a projected visual aide. Most of the professors who rely on PPT use it too much as a handicap, simply reading off the slides. Evil. Then they throw 300 words on each slide and expect you to understand their main point.

I think for those people who want to be spoken to, a podium with a mic and a few charts or photos may be good enough. There's no need for a full detailed outline on a screen, hand it out (or publish it on the web) instead!

For those people who do not have the patience to sit in a chair in a theater and watch a celebrity: watch TV. Those half-minute ad-spots are definately more effective sometimes than a longer verbal State of the Union address.