My Slide Master Can Beat Up Your Slide Master: A tale of getting pwned by PPT for 7 years & counting.

{To start… if you don’t know what “pwned” is, go here. Moving right along…}

There are certainly many days of my career when I have wondered how amazing it will be to look back at the past 5, 10, and hopefully no longer than 15 years of Powerpoint misery to “brag” to the then youngins about how hard we used to have it when we were forced to trudge through proverbial 5 ft. of SmartShape-esque snow to and from meeting hell.

But I’ve been waiting for that day for now 7 years and it’s nowhere in sight, thus my lovely artwork below from early 2010.

I actually don’t mind designing/putting together presentations every once in awhile. I like to think I’m pretty decent at it, and seeing the finished product is always gratifying. Selling a great idea or product concept is one of the most fun things I get to do at times.

The problem is when we depend so much on PPT to communicate in every mid-size+ company in every industry (as I wrote about here just last year), that many of us end up spending EVERY DAY of our lives working in that God-awful inefficient posterboy of a mediocre-at-best presentation software program.

Why PPT Turns This Positive Patty into Cathy Cranky-Pants.

Over the last two weeks, I’ve created three different 20 slide+ presentations from scratch all with at least 75% brand new content.

Personally, I know I need at least two solid days to work through the creation of any 5 minute or longer PPT presentation… and whenever I present, it’s to sell someone on something or to rally support around idea that will eventually be “something” and thus also need to be sold.

In Powerpoint, no doubt.

So, because I know presentations are immensely important, I build every single one from scratch to ensure I at least give myself a shot in hell to hold the attention of my ADHD audience and never waste their time.

I hate templates. I hate text. I hate fonts created before 2010 (other than maybe Lobster, or as @marcelosomers calls it, the “new Comic Sans” – Ouchie. šŸ™‚

I hate people who spend more than 10 seconds on any slide other than a financial forecast in 11 point font. And even then…

And to make matters worse, I am a perfectionist.

So usually two days of effort turn into three… filled with font-embed trainwrecks, Photoshop marathons and stock photo editing circuses that all come together to tell a decently interesting story that the average observer might mistakenly think was built in Keynote.

Even if I fool a few for a slide or two into that notion, I feel like I succeeded. 

But once it’s all over, one might assume the competion of a successful presentation would make the time invested ‘all worth it’ after.

Even Cupcakes & EBITDA-Pooping Unicorns Can’t Turn This Frown Upside Down

Yet no matter how well things go, how much money/resources are thrown my way or unicorns given to me that poop cupcakes & EBITDA, I’m left feeling like I just wasted three precious days of my life I will never get back… and now I’m three days further away from putting the actual solution into the hands of customers.

I happen to love my job right at this moment, and I have an incredible team working hard toward a set of strategic goals I’m sure I typed in a PPT presentation somewhere along the way.

So, I understand better than most that without selling our experimental ideas & concepts to tough customers and putting it through the test with those who really matter, our work is about as relevant as one of the hundreds of “Social Media is the Next Big Thing” .ppt files we all have somewhere in the depths of our hard-drives from 2006.

If we can’t sell it, then we are just useless, renegade cowboys begging to be shot down or drowned into the black hole of political churn… and that threatens the one consequence I respond to most adamantly – the potential to waste even MORE time vs. throwing down the binary 1s & 0s with our customers.

He’s Staring At Me Right At This Second… This Is Getting Awkward.

With that said, I can’t waste any more time typing – or even reading this again to ensure my writing above is even moderately coherent.

That’s because my “buddy” Powerpoint is standing right here, tapping his rigid, slow-moving feet dressed in ugly shoes that haven’t been in style since 2003…

While it drives me up the wall that he doesn’t understand how “blog”, “facebook” or “Tweet” are actual, properly spelled words, the worst part is he’s still sporting that friggin t-shirt to the office Every. Single. Day. that reads: “Sarah is my SmartShape Biotch”

So, back to work. I know who butters my animated .gif bread.

Saved As & Closed,



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