Skip to comments.We Have Met the Enemy and He Is PowerPoint [“PowerPoint makes us stupid,” Gen. James N. Mattis...]
Posted on 04/27/2010 7:51:04 AM PDT by Sub-Driver
We Have Met the Enemy and He Is PowerPoint By ELISABETH BUMILLER
WASHINGTON Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, the leader of American and NATO forces in Afghanistan, was shown a PowerPoint slide in Kabul last summer that was meant to portray the complexity of American military strategy, but looked more like a bowl of spaghetti.
When we understand that slide, well have won the war, General McChrystal dryly remarked, one of his advisers recalled, as the room erupted in laughter.
The slide has since bounced around the Internet as an example of a military tool that has spun out of control. Like an insurgency, PowerPoint has crept into the daily lives of military commanders and reached the level of near obsession. The amount of time expended on PowerPoint, the Microsoft presentation program of computer-generated charts, graphs and bullet points, has made it a running joke in the Pentagon and in Iraq and Afghanistan.
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.
Its 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.
(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...
“Powerpoint is Evil” by Edward Tufte
If anyone understands the visual display of information, it’s Tufte.
PowerPoint is an effective tool if used properly.
The problem is, most don’t.
I use programs that turn Powerpoints to DVD’s. People love them!
We used to call it “Death by PowerPoint” in the Navy and that was 5 years ago. I imagine it’s gotten horrible.
Have you ever seen Tufte brief? I haven’t but I’ve heard that he uses OTHER tools the same as one might use PowerPoint. So I’d remind folks... that guns don’t kill, people do.
This is precisely the same thought process which leads to the false conclusion that guns are evil.
PowerPoint is a tool. Before PP, it was an overhead projector, or a chalkboard, or a big pad of paper on an easel. None of those tools "make us stupid."
Place the blame where it belongs. The creator of bad PowerPoint presentations may deserve criticism, derision or maybe just better training and instruction on making good presentations.
Neither Microsoft nor that particular installation of PowerPoint created the hated "spaghetti bowl" slide. It was a person. And people are responsible for their actions. Their tools are not.
It's a bit disturbing to me that some of our top commanders are ready to blame the tool for a poor result rather than its user.
You win wars by making the other poor dumb son-of-a-bitch do PowerPoint slides for his country.
Garde la Foi, mes amis! Nous nous sommes les sauveurs de la République! Maintenant et Toujours!
(Keep the Faith, my friends! We are the saviors of the Republic! Now and Forever!)
LonePalm, le Républicain du verre cassé (The Broken Glass Republican)
True dat. I fell in love with Keynote years ago. Thankfully I can export my slick slides to Powerpoint and tell everyone I made them in Powerpoint while they scratch their heads and hang their jaws in awe. ;)
PowerPoint is a lot like PBS and talk radio.
2 minutes of information stretched into an hour show.
I HATE Powerpoint, but I am forced to teach it AUGH!!!!!!
Most Flag Officers know when the briefer is covering for lack of knowledge.
PP is an excellent tool to help the briefer remember to brief the bulleted points. It's an aid for the briefer, that's all.
When you have nothing to say.....say it with Power Point!
Venture capitalist Guy Kawasaki had to endure too many inept PPT presentations so he came up with his 10-20-30 rule: 10 slides in 20 minutes using 30 point fonts.
Link to his blog post: http://blog.guykawasaki.com/2005/12/the_102030_rule.html#axzz0mJYpUUpX
How many people speak meaningless words, or write them? Shall we ridicule speech or writing for their foolishness?
The problem, as always, is people.
I agree with him. Instead of being an effective tool; people are using it to create illusions and dumb from school children to us down.
Commander s LOVE slides. In the day we used basic overhead projectors and commanders couldn’t get enough slides. They use PowerPoint today and the abuses of superficial information has grown.