September 9, 2004

The door really never did anything to me.

Was treated at work today to a breathtaking waste of time - a two-and-a-half hour presentation on 'Culture Change at Novell.' Let me start right off by saying that I don't consider the concept or idea of culture change at Novell a waste of time; however, I have never in my life been to a meeting at a large corporation dominated by a PowerPoint slide deck which has ever improved my life. Ever. Especially those which purport to talk so earnestly about improving my work environment.

To be sure, this isn't a fair comparison. I am a lucky, lucky bastard to work where I do, and I know it. This may also be one of the reasons that the presentation in question created such an unpleasant resonance with me. I do know that when it was finally admitted that the slide show in question had been done by a consultant, I refused to be surprised, because I could have told you that hours before. I was put through a hard school of presentations at a company which gives them for a living to an audience which is by some lights the premier consumer of PowerPoint excrement on the planet. Whoever did that slide deck would not have survived to collect their first paycheck.

These are perhaps harsh words. Harsher than deserved. However, I cannot help but wonder what this outside person was paid to come up with this stuff. Some of it, to be sure, was OK; some was common sense (well, an awful lot of it was common sense) and (here's the rub) an awful lot of it was so trite that it seriously insulted my intelligence to be sat down and told it by The Man.

I'm not going to go into specifics. I'm not sure what if any of it can be publicly disseminated. Suffice to say that I came out of one particular section of it feeling like I'd been told to bend over that nice handy table and take it like a man; lubrication was for sissies. Besides, I was expected to make myself nice and pretty for the anal violation that was expected; it wasn't the Company's job to do that for me.

I do realize that probably isn't what was meant. But it sure is what that slide deck communicated. So if anyone up there cares, well, there's a problem, right there. Posted by jbz at September 9, 2004 12:32 AM | TrackBack



See E2's node on the subject for some suggestions, at:

I'm the third writeup.


Posted by: J.B. Zimmerman at September 9, 2004 1:54 PM

I too have done the culture talk and agree, the presentation wasn't fantastic. Being a university student, I get at least one PowerPoint presentation a day. From your experience at RAND, what suggestions do you have for PowerPoint presentations to make them Not Suck(TM)?


Posted by: Kevin Breit at September 9, 2004 9:57 AM
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