Anti-PowerPoint Party vows end to death by slides
Brain turning to mush? There's an APPP for that
Everybody complains about PowerPoint presentations. But nobody does anything about them – until now.
Meet Switzerland's Anti-PowerPoint Party, aka the APPP. "The APPP sees itself as the advocate of approximately 250 Million people worldwide, who, every month, are obliged to be present during boring presentations in companies, universities, or at other institutions," reads the party's mission statement.
The APPP's founder, Matthias Poehm, is a man on a mission – and his objection to PowerPoint is not merely that presentations based on it are a gawdawful bore, but that they're a crippling drain on the world economy.
According to the APPP's calculations, the use of PowerPoint – and, to be fair, other presentation software such as Apple's Keynote – results in an "annual monetary destruction" of €110bn in Europe alone.
The APPP posits this somewhat alarming figure by assuming that presentations take place in 11 per cent of companies and educational institutions, averaging twice a week, and that the average number of attendees is 10 – although in larger institutions that number may be "umpteen times higher". The APPP then assumes that 85 per cent of participants believe these presentations are killing motivation.
Mash those numbers together with the average EU pay rate and the number of EU workers, and you get that €110bn "destruction".
Just one example – and not the worst – of the APPP's exemplary 'horror slides' (click to enlarge)
Something must be done to stop this insanity, says the APPP. "If you, in the future, also want to say less often during presentations: 'Had I only stayed at home' then you can do something."
And that something is to join the APPP. Swiss law makes it easier than in most countries to form a political party, and Poehm is taking advatage of that democratic freedom to get his word out. "The party aims to launching a national referendum to obtain a law forbidding PowerPoint during presentations," the party's establishing Articles declare.
Poehm is personally a bit less draconian. "What we want is people start deeply talking about [PowerPoint]," he says. "This is the reason that we exist."
According to Poehm's calculus, the APPP stands to become the fourth largest political party in Switzerland. If he's correct, that would certainly bring media attention to his noble cause.
"Everybody around the world can become a proponent," he says. "And if we have achieved that critical mass ... then this will be in the newspapers, this will be in the media, and then finally people start talking widely and deeply about [the PowerPoint] problem."
You don't have to be Swiss to become an APPP proponent – just provide your contact info to join the good fight. When you do, you'll also be able to buy a discounted copy of Poehm's own book, The PowerPoint Fallacy and sign up for his "legendary periodical", the Poehm-Letter (available only in German).
Not that there's anything wrong with a little self-promotion, as long as it's not presented in PowerPoint. ®
I can't believe I'm about to defend PowerPoint...
...but there is nothing wrong with PowerPoint. It is simply a tool. If you smash your finger with a hammer, you don't curse at the hammer. When used well (and correctly) PowerPoint can be an excellent tool to *assist* a presenter.
If your presentation is boring that just means *you* are boring. And that's hardly PowerPoint's fault.
In 2006, an RAF Nimrod crashed in Afghanistan, killing all on board.
There was an inquiry, chaired by Charles Haddon Cave (a lawyer, and seemingly one of the few good ones).
The report was published in 2009. It concluded that the crash was largely avoidable, and one of the major factors which had meant that it had not been avoided when it should have been avoided was the "Powerpoint culture" in BAe and Qinetic, where a few bullet points on a few PPT slides were considered an acceptable substitute for properly documented fact-based engineering risk analysis.
The inquiry report was unusually blunt. It even named names, and I do recollect (but cannot confirm) that some of those named were actually arrested. Don't know what happened after that, which is a shame.
The Haddon-Cave report, in full, well worth a read:
Trotskyist Rag editorial, with links to other coverage:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/oct/29/nimrod-crash-inquiry-raf-afghanistan e.g. "The report describes a PowerPoint culture in government that glosses over hard questions and detailed evidence, and sacrifices safety to incompetence, sloppiness, complacency and cynicism. The catastrophe was caused as much by organisational culture as the faulty fuel seal. Responsibility is shared between BAE Systems, the hived-off QinetiQ which was supposed to provide expert advice, the Nimrod Integrated Project Team and the Ministry of Defence itself, stricken by "organisational trauma" induced by the overwhelming objective of finding savings."
Coverage in The Register: [none]
AFP (Anti-Facebook Party) anyone ?
For gazillions of euros worth of productivity wasted ?