Friday, 20 December 2013

The Dynamics of PowerPoint?

I spent twenty-two years in the Air Force.  Somewhere along the mid-point of that period....I got introduced to PowerPoint (the Microsoft package for building presentations).  By the point of retirement, I was a PowerPoint "master".

You could walk up, dictate three events, and the circumstances of each.  I'd ask a couple of questions, and then in five minutes....I'd have an entire presentation built over the situation, the triggering circumstances, the effects, the potential solutions, and the potential disaster or lack of disaster at the end of the problem.

Over the last decade....I simply got better at PowerPoint presentations.  I could cut and paste, insert diagrams, and show statistical displays to prove a point.

Generally, Army guys hate Air Force folks and their knack for using PowerPoint.  I came to realize from my three years in the Pentagon....an Army guy will state the obvious problem, the obvious solution, and ask for some blessing from the Colonel on the decision.  Air Force folks turned problems into organized thought processes, which lead onto thinking and pondering.

This week, the Daily Mail out of London did a story over love found in New York City....based on PowerPoint.  Some guy gave a PowerPoint presentation at work.....some gal sat through it....and found something stimulating about the guy.

So, this PowerPoint dating concept has erupted out of this.  A number of folks meet.....put their personality into bullet-format, and brief the crowd on their advantages or great character.

Naturally, a guy from Bama is bit shocked over this.  For a Bama guy, it'd traditionally take two years to drag out the five big points: (1) they are NCAA-devoted fans, (2) they prefer catfish over steak, (3) they own sixteen rifles which are kept in a hidden closet locker, (4) they secretly sent off to Aruba in 1998 but don't remember anything during the four days because of alcohol consumed, and (5) they secretly like the River River Band as their favorite music from the 1980s.  Using the PowerPoint method....all these secrets would be dragged out in the first hour of the date.

For a gal, it generally means there's no questions left after a hundred days....either it's a great PowerPoint presentation, or it's a lousy one....end of the story.

You can imagine guys coming up and asking for PowerPoint advice.  Should you insert a graphical chart, statistics, or dynamic photo of them from the eighth grade?  Should you throw up a slide of their grade point average in the tenth grade versus the fifth grade?  Should they talk about their favorite dog at age sixteen?  Should you include a complete listing of the twelve cars you've owned since age sixteen?  How do you conclude the presentation (picture or Socrates quote)?

If you had suggested to me twenty years ago that this might be happening....I would have simply grinned and said no way.  So I'm kinda shocked.  I'm guessing the Microsoft engineers are even more shocked.  They never intended for PowerPoint to be used in this fashion.  It probably worries them a bit.