Weekly Download 14.11

download-158006_640Here’s a recap of news and notes from around the Web that caught my attention over the past week or so.

Did PowerPoint Ruin GM? This interesting WSJ article describes the potential that facts relating to the ignition switch fault were edited out of long PowerPoint presentations at GM. It reminds me of a much older Edward Tufte essay that discusses the pitfalls of what is now commonly referred to as “death by PowerPoint.” Tufte also analyzes a Boeing presentation to NASA, and takes the company to task for oversimplifying and obscuring crucial information. How often do we let monotonous slides and the related editing process dictate the flow of conversation? Wouldn’t it be better to just write a report and not present anything? I have moved away from PowerPoint-driven meetings as much as possible, sometimes even handwriting the key points I want to discuss. How do you make sure the right dialogue is occurring in your meetings?

handdrawn meeting presentation

Sketch and photo by Mark Baker

I remember writing a blog entry (a rant, really) about six or seven years ago on why email needs to go away. We allow valuable hours to be driven (like Pavlov’s dog) by what arrives in our inbox. With the number of communication and information points today, it becomes unruly to manage the sifting and sorting. A Company Without Email? Not So Fast discusses a couple of solutions that are picking up traction.

You never know where simple, profound inspiration may be found. Like in a fortune cookie. Great Things are Made from Little Things cites one of my favorite quotes:

 “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”—Aristotle

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