Word of the Day: Tech Definitions from WhatIs.com

January 10, 2008  3:03 PM

Overheard: How to prevent death by PowerPoint

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
powerpoint.jpg I think we’re in agreement that the words “God-awful” and “PowerPoint” should never be used in the same sentence.

Margaret Rouse, Face-Off: PowerPoint vs. PowerPoint

Seth Godin, author of All Marketers are Liars, has granted permission for me to repost excerpts from his eBook Really Bad PowerPoint. There are tons of PowerPoint tutorials available online, but Seth is the only one I’ve found who’s talked about the purpose of a PowerPoint presentation. Seth writes:

If everyone in the room agreed with you, you wouldn’t need to do a presentation, would you? You could save a lot of time by printing out a one-page project report and delivering it to each person. No, the reason we do presentations is to make a point, to sell one or more ideas.

Every time you make a presentation, you’re trying to sell your point of view. And to sell anything, you need to connect emotionally to your audience. Don McMillan does that in every presentation, even while he’s making fun of bad PowerPoint.

Reading your slides or ticking off bullet points won’t help you create an emotional connection with your audience. Neither will charts and graphs. So how SHOULD you use PowerPoint? Seth has come up with five rules everyone should follow. I’m paraphrasing:

– No more than six words on a slide. EVER. There is no presentation so complex that this rule needs to be broken. (I love this rule!)

– No cheesy images. (Translation – no clip art) Use professional stock photo images.

– No dissolves, spins or other transitions.

– Sound effects can be used a few times per presentation, but never use the sound effects that are built in to the program.

– Don’t hand out print-outs of your slides. They don’t work without you there.

Seth also recommends that you make cue cards for yourself so you remember to say everything you wanted to say, that your slides reinforce your words (not repeat them) and that you create a handout that reinforces your presentation and give it out after you’re done.

You’ll know when you’ve done it right. Seth says:

The home run is easy to describe: You put up a slide. It triggers an emotional reaction in the audience. They sit up and want to know what you’re going to say that fits in with that image. Then, if you do it right, every time they think of what you said, they’ll see the image (and vice versa).

Sure, this is different from the way everyone else does it. But everyone else is busy defending the status quo (which is easy) and you’re busy championing brave new innovations, which is difficult.

I think I want to dig a little deeper into this idea of using PowerPoint to emotionally connect with an audience. I’ve asked a colleague to start a thread called PowerPoint Help over in the QnA part of this site.

I’ll begin the answer and we’ll try to get people (that would be you) to improve upon it. The QnA section is a wiki, so you just have to log in and edit or add to what’s there. If you’ve never tried a wiki before, here’s your chance. You can’t mess anything up. It’s impossible. Just click “improve this answer” and add a rule.

And since I’m talking about using PowerPoint to create an emotional response, I’ve set up a rant section for you to share your worst PowerPoint experience. Feel free to express your emotions. : -)

January 10, 2008  12:46 PM

Overheard: Death by PowerPoint

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse

Corporate comedian Don McMillan is sharing part of his “Life After Death by PowerPoint” presentation on video. If you haven’t been at a conference where Don spoke, you’ve missed out. The last time I heard him, it was 8 o’clock in the morning and this guy had people laughing so hard, you’d swear there was an open bar behind the bagel trays.

[kml_flashembed movie="http://youtube.com/v/GxSQ-0FWHNk" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

January 10, 2008  3:15 AM

Overheard: Microsoft is hot on viral marketing

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse

Extreme Makeover–Server Room parody. I just wish it was funnier.

[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/Br1WUSEwGwc" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

January 10, 2008  3:05 AM

Overheard: Mommy, why does Microsoft want us to buy a server?

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse

[kml_flashembed movie="http://youtube.com/v/YNHwgnpzY9w" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

This children’s book parody is a viral promotion for the Windows Home Server campaign. The author, Tom O’Connor, and his PhD are bogus. The small print on the title page explains that he’s made up. Whoever did write this deserves credit, IMHO. Very clever. Yes, that’s me reading the book.

The campaign is indicative of unusual creative approaches by big advertisers as they seek to break through in cluttered categories like technology. Among the most popular are so-called viral campaigns, so named because they are intended to be passed from one computer user to another with an endorsement implied by such personal sharing.

Stuart Elliot, What Next, Having the Office Christmas Party at Home?

January 10, 2008  1:08 AM

Overheard: Don’t use gMail for business

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
david-airey.jpg I’ve read in the comments on other websites that I deserved what I got, and that to use Google’s free GMail service for anything business-related is naive.

David Airey, WARNING: Google’s GMail security failure leaves my business sabotaged

Mr. Roger’s mother told her little boy that when bad things happen, look for the helpers. If you have a few minutes, read through David Airey’s nightmare experience. A cracker hijacked David’s business domain name and then tried to sell it back. It seems the evil-doer had access to David’s email and timed the hijack with David’s vacation. Very scary story.

Then come back and read about the helpers. David’s story has a happy ending and the world is a friendly place.

January 10, 2008  12:06 AM

Overheard: Microsoft buys out FAST in hopes of nailing down enterprise search

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
paul_mcdougall.gif With its planned $1.2 billion acquisition of Fast Search & Transfer, Microsoft is looking to become a player in one of tech’s next big growth markets — software that lets business users quickly troll through the reams of unstructured information that’s locked away in corporate databases.

Paul McDougall, Microsoft’s Fast Search Bid Puts Heat On Google, IBM

Enterprise search “is for workers tomorrow what Internet search is for consumers today — an indispensable tool that helps them quickly find the information they need,” said Microsoft Business Division president Jeff Raikes, speaking Tuesday on a conference call.

And it could be a gold mine for the first big vendor that gets it right.

January 9, 2008  11:08 PM

Overheard: Who gets to be the copyright police?

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
brad_stone.jpg Network-level filtering means your Internet service provider – Comcast, AT&T, EarthLink, or whoever you send that monthly check to – could soon start sniffing your digital packets, looking for material that infringes on someone’s copyright.

Brad Stone, AT&T and Other ISPs May Be Getting Ready to Filter

All this talk about the future responsibilities of ISPs reminds me of a jigsaw puzzle. I’ve been saving all the pieces and putting them together in various ways, but the picture always turns out the same. Tiered Internet Services.

January 9, 2008  4:46 PM

Overheard: Wireless charging demo’d at CES

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
cellphone.jpg Imagine walking into a room and your phone suddenly beeps with a green LED flashing at the corner indicating a wireless charging source is available in the vicinity. Your handphone/iPod/moblie device then asks you to allow/deny charging. You press “ALLOW” and your phone is wirelessly charging.

Techie-Talks, CES: Showcasing the best of wireless charging

YES! I love technology.

January 9, 2008  3:26 PM

Overheard: FBI gets confused by their phone bill just like the rest of us

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
ryan-singel.jpg The FBI routinely failed to pay telecom companies promptly for providing phone and internet lines to the FBI’s impressive domestic surveillance architecture — resulting in at least one phone company cutting off a foreign intelligence wiretap until the FBI paid its bill,

Ryan Singel, FBI Wiretap Cut Off After Feds Fail To Pay Telecom Spying Bills

Ironically, it seems that some of the problems stemmed from the FBI’s inability to decipher and keep track of the charges on their phone bills. Welcome to the real world.

January 9, 2008  1:35 AM

Overheard: John Jilly becomes Mozilla CEO – no plans to go public

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
john_lilly.jpg As in a relay race, the key to a successful enterprise is often the hand-off, a change in leadership at the top.When it’s messy the whole company can suffer. It can die or be taken over. When it’s done right the chief operating officer slides into the chief executive’s chair, the old CEO waves buh-bye, and there’s not much to see.

Dana Blankenhorn, A clean hand-off at Mozilla

Dana is right. This does seem to be one of the smoother hand-offs.  John Lilly is now the CEO at Mozilla, the developer of the open-source browser Firefox. The New York Times did a good job covering the politics of the hand-off, although the photo they ran makes him look ridiculously young. The announcement was made on John’s blog.

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