• Very interesting talk about the 2025 global trends scenarios.
  • Mattis also spoke without any computer graphics. "The reason I didn't use PowerPoint is, I am convinced PowerPoint makes us stupid." I don't know if I'd go that far, but its absence of verbs does seem to me to emphasize aspirations without saying what actions we intend to take to realize them. Army Brig. Gen. H.R. McMaster, who also spoke at the conference, also took a pop at PowerPoint, saying that when combined with certain ill-advised metrics, it "is really dangerous."
  • Every year, the services spend millions of dollars teaching our people how to think. We invest in everything from war colleges to noncommissioned officer schools. Our senior schools in particular expose our leaders to broad issues and historical insights in an attempt to expose the complex and interactive nature of many of the decisions they will make. Unfortunately, as soon as they graduate, our people return to a world driven by a tool that is the antithesis of thinking: PowerPoint. Make no mistake, PowerPoint is not a neutral tool — it is actively hostile to thoughtful decision-making. It has fundamentally changed our culture by altering the expectations of who makes decisions, what decisions they make and how they make them. While this may seem to be a sweeping generalization, I think a brief examination of the impact of PowerPoint will support this statement.
  • PowerPoint has been the 21st Century’s solution to the age-old requirement for organizations to report information between various levels of bureaucracy—whether it be a sales pitch to board members, or an air crew mission briefing for a flight of Black Hawk helicopters. But PowerPoint is only as smart as those who are using it. In the military, business and even in NASA, misuse of PowerPoint can cause confusion and frustration. In the hands of a poor communicator, PowerPoint can spread misinformation, leading to bad decision-making. But we will also look at the flip side of the coin: despite the pervasiveness of elaborate PowerPoint presentations within the military, we will also look at PowerPoint presentations that would be considered poor by conventional standards, but actually communicated a message far more effectively than many other presentations.
  • 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.