The US’s most powerful enemy

Unspun‘s argued long and hard with his colleagues over the use and abuse of Powerpoint.

Unspun‘s with Marshall McLuhan who held that the medium is the message. When the medium’s a presentation the message should be that the presenter, and hence is organization, can be trusted. That they know their stuff, is focused and can get things done.

If that is the message, you’d rarely need a Powerpoint but yet lots of people (yes, you guys in the PR and advertising industries take note) inflict Death by Powerpoint everyday.

Why do they do so? Unspun thinks that Powerpoints are a crutch for presenters who are not too confident of their ability to present. So what they end up doing is to use the Powerpoint as a promoter, benefiting the speaker but boring the tits off the audience.

Then there is the desire to impress. That’s when they make the simple sound and look complicated and obscure along the lines of if you can’t persuade them, confuse them.

Enough already! Audiences of presentations unite; you have nothing to lose but long agonizing minutes – even hours – of a speaker boring the hell out of you.

(via Malaysian Media Matters)

We Have Met the Enemy and He Is PowerPoint

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, we’ll 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.

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5 thoughts on “The US’s most powerful enemy

Add yours

  1. you were right.simplicity is the most important thing in giving the above example of powerpoint needs to be revised and simplify.


  2. YES, indeed! Death to the powerpoint on ALL counts!!! The worst offenders are those who use a powerpoint like a word document, YES, there ARE people and organisations who use powerpoints for WHOLE REPORTS!! Imagine!!


  3. Many speakers tend to use power point to cover up their unpreparedness in giving presentation i.e
    by simply reading text which is not properly typed/written. This is really disgusting and very boring.
    No wonder U.S & Nato casualties in Afghanistan are high.


  4. “When we understand that slide, we’ll have won the war,” General McChrystal dryly remarked, one of his advisers recalled, as the room erupted in laughter.

    hihihi, simplify that chart? not as easy as laugh for


  5. I would MUCH rather listen to someone speak casually off bullets from a PowerPoint than hear someone read an essay of perfectly formed sentences from a piece of paper.


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