CIO Symmetry

Apr 10 2008   8:26PM GMT

Bullets for PowerPoint. And I’m not talking about lists.

Glen Weaver Profile: The Weave


I hate meetings. 

Not the couple times each week I get together with my editors for a “what’s going on” sort of roundtable. Not that. 

I’m talking about those mandated sort of sit-downs that leave me with sunken eyes and a raging headache. And even worse, feeling like my momentum for the day has been lost, all that precious caffeine time wasted.  

Back when I was a local newspaper reporter, I had a nasty habit of stumbling upon breaking news just before these meetings, which usually involved PowerPoint presentations. Frankly, I’d rather be working. 

Man, just thinking about PowerPoint hurts my eyes. I’ll grant that the program has its benefits when used correctly, but why can’t people just talk to me?  I totally know how to take notes. 

However, I am only a lowly reporter. Paul Levy, the CEO of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, though, he’s got clout. 

Levy today posted a blog entry entitled “Throw off the crutches of ppt!”  In it, he lists seven very good reasons to use PowerPoint less often, including “Oops, did I say ‘eye contact?’ That was already lost when the lights were dimmed for the presentation.” 

He argues that PowerPoint presentations are often cumbersome and counterproductive, with presenters focusing more on the presentation than on their audience. Or at least that’s how I interpreted it. 

Levy is the same guy who tossed his BlackBerry, for equally valiant reasons. Which is kind of funny, because his CIO, Dr. John Halamka, loves his BlackBerry. So much so that he shot an ad for RIM. I had been wondering what the story was behind that, but Halamka cleared that up in a blog entry of his own. Turns out he was paid scale, a paltry $100, and donated it to the hospital. 

OK, point is, I hate PowerPoint. It hurts my eyes. And you should be reading Levy’s blog. I’ve been a fan since last year, when he quite publicly dressed down his staff for poor hand-washing compliance. How refreshing to have a CEO writing an intelligent, insightful blog and actually be addressing issues that other executives would only broach behind closed doors. Halamka’s blog is worth seeing as well. He runs a “Cool Technology of the Week” column there. 

And I would be remiss if I didn’t admit that I came across all of this at the indispensable, which aggregates Boston-area blogs, pitching out news, photography and other bits of general interest. I give it more face time each morning than I do, The Boston Globe’s website. Live in or around Boston? Bookmark it now. 

Actually, now that I look at the comments on, I notice one addressing how a fourth-grader is being taught PowerPoint in school. I’m just going to go punch my eyes into the back of my skull. 

One last thing: The Gettysburg Address in PowerPoint.

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