The 10000th ppt
July 1, 2010 2 Comments
If I were say an obscure miner working in one of the mines of Africa digging gold for the South Indians, chances are that I would think of “ppt” as “parts per………”.
But I am not.
I am one of the several thousand co-white-collar-workers churning “ppts” by the dozen, every day, every week, every month, every year.
I am quite certain that any measure of “unintelligible body of work” that as humans we have created must start with the ppts. I say so, even if I am in the quagmire of the ppt.
The relentless quest for ppts and more ppts has got me thinking about, how on earth (quite literally) we used to communicate in corporates before ppts came about.
Well, if you think I am overdoing this bit, I have to share experience of my online friend, someone I personally rate very highly.
This guy, a member of India Leadership Forum (in the socio-professional networking site, LinkedIn) is a serious innovator. I don’t understand much of what he innovates but that is no reason to disbelieve what he wrote.
After he made a serious innovation for a home appliance and with a working prototype, he had approached a leading home appliance maker to take his innovation forward.
To his utter surprise and considerable consternation I assume, the “decision-makers” didn’t show much interest in the prototype but rather keen to know whether he had a “ppt” to show.
Livid, my friend wrote : “Kalashinikov is a much more responsible inventor than Bill Gates”.
On a serious note, I really wonder why we have to rely so much on “power point presentations” to even make a simple point.
I tend to think that in India atleast, the increasing reliance on ppts has to do with the emergence of Information technology. As IT industry had nothing “physical” to showcase, the sales pitch degenerated into a battle of “pptware”.
Gaudy colours, inexplicable shapes and forms found their way into ppts created by the unpaid armies like yours truly.
Before Microsoft swamped our offices with their desktop tools, I wonder how corporates used to communicate with themselves, with customers and with anyone. As I was growing up, I certainly didn’t have images of people lugging heavy laptops holding several hundred ppts walking in the corridors of office.
What has changed then ?
Have we lost the “simple art” of communication without these “props” ?
Have we lost the “ability” to get across our point without “visual aids” ?
Have we lost our “originality”, that is to say, we cannot be “extempore” any more and rather we have become nerdy bores ?
Or more disparagingly, are we now “less honest” about ourselves, our service, our product and our organization ?
I think with ppts we want to scale the heights of success quickly and using the short-cut.
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” – Aristotle
Going by this, I seriously think that we have “stopped doing” what we really want to be good at and “started projecting” (pun intended) what we are not.
The only “excellence” that we have gained now is the “Art of tomfoolery”.
We can make a buffoon out of anyone with the pptware. Sleek notebooks, netbooks, memory sticks, LCD monitors, projectors are now the “arsenal” for corporates to win business.
Excuse me, did you say product, quality and service ? You are in the wrong place !
The only hope from here on, I guess, is to trust Gladwell. In his book on “outliers” (same title), Gladwell argues (and hopes to prove) that expertise is achieved if one practices for 10,000 hours.
Get the drift ?
I only hope that I do get the expertise in pptware by the time I work on my 10,000th ppt.
Anyways, got to end this piece ; I have one more ppt to make today.