Sunday, October 4, 2009

Muah muah,I am man of but few words :the PowerPoint remix version

Prologue

The KISS ("Keep it Simple, Stupid" or the more genteel version:"Keep it Short and simple") should be mandatorily asked for as a gentleman's agreement or the lady's word before the start of any speech to the brethren, classmates or to one who lent his ear hoping it would not be pickled.

"I have fallen in love with my voice, help!!"
"Each person/group shall present for a period not exceeding 20 minutes":In retrospective , for each presentation where this rule is asked for , it is violated blatantly.Elsewhere,the Oscar night acceptance speech hence had to be, by writ of higher beings ; limited to 45 seconds.People , in moments of great glee speak a lot. And in times of distress too.That does not account for the fact that once Fidel Castro just went on and on in the United Nations for many hours.(V. K. Krishna Menon spoke for 8 hours on India's position on Kashmir in the UN Security Council, the transcripts run into 160 pages on the UN website)

The feature creep , as someone who comes from the software industry , is a nightmare one has lived with.The bells and whistles which the client asks for , or the developers feel should go out with that build has to be seen in the light of whether we can meet the deadlines with the new features asked for.Woe be the team member who brings 25 slides for his bit on the group presentation.

And so 52 slides in 20 minutes, is , well ;to politely put it "Asking for the moon at a discount ,and also asking for some freebies thrown in too".Yet , we do see the same in classrooms by beloved classmates who fall in love with the art form of slide after agonizing slide after "when will this end" slide.KISS friend, KISS.The synchronized yawn of 65 odd students is not an Olympic sporting event yet, but after the third group which "exceeds expectations" regards keeping the time limit , one should be prepared to witness.


I am not a big fan of PowerPoint , having read the works of the Yale Professor of Visualization ,Edward Tufte . PowerPoint forces you to think in bullets-framework.Compelling however Tufte's arguments are, it happens that corporate world has fallen in love with PowerPoint . In the book "Who says elephants can't dance", Louis Gerstner describes how in one of the early days after his taking over as the CEO of IBM , Gerstner on a fact-minding mission of where each department stood ; asked for the overhead slide projector to be switched off and asked the unit head to describe in words whatever needed to be presented. Wise man!


Epilogue
If one respected other's time as much she respected hers , the world would have been a better place: trains would run on time ,VIPs would reach the venues where they are the chief guest on time and so on.Yet we persist in exceeding the brief or time limit.So let's KISS and make up for whatever has gone wrong .

3 comments:

In pursuit of happiness... said...

A very apt article on a very apt topic with great connotations. Actually the problem started since that iconic "Size does matter" ad started effecting the subconscious mind. But I sincerely hope that the KISS campaign gathers widespread public acceptance. It will our life a lot simpler.
God Bless all the KISS campaigners and KISS implementors.

Venky said...

love this post:) feels so personal isnt it :) ha haa:) i wud ve loved it if u had referenced ppl around u:) u know who im talkin about:)

Tushar Chitra said...

Very nice pitch. Try out a technique called Pecha Kucha. 20 slides, 20 seconds per slide. We tried it for a few internal preso's at work and it was pretty effective.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9NZOt6BkhUg