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1 May 2000

Carolyn Burnham: Whose car is that out front?
Lester Burnham: Mine. 1970 Pontiac Firebird. The car I always wanted and now I have it. I rule!
-- American Beauty

How not to persuade reporters to write about your business:

  • Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam [The Standard, seen on tomalak's realm]
    I can't help with lease rates in Silicon Valley or the high cost of late-night pizza to keep your staff fed. But I can recommend one way to save on overhead. Fire your PR consultants and replace them with 8-year-olds from the neighborhood. The kids will be cheaper, and at most companies they couldn't do any worse.

    When you're writing a real message, you have to devote some iota of thought to who should receive it, and why it might be worth their time. With spam - that is to say, with most dot-com PR - you just open the hydrant and let the addressees figure it out.

I saw my first "Make 7" / "Up Yours" t-shirt in the wild today. It was a little funny.

I was going to point to 7-Up's site just now for fun, but their site gives you a splash screen with some JavaScript and a Flash movie and NO link (even in the source) to a low-bandwidth, readable page. Without having all the idiotic bells and whistles turned on, all you get is a blank green screen. Really and truly pathetic.

The proposed five-word acceptance speeches that Jason Kottke's collecting, on the other hand, are very funny. It looks like he's decided on one. My own thought was, "I won! Me! I RULE!" (which, yes, is derivative of the today's quote, but too bad).

PowerPoint's not the only culprit here, it's just the most obvious one... splashy, flashy web design is not so different:

  • Pentagon cracks down on ... PowerPoint [ZDNet]
    Just as word processing made it easier to produce long, meandering memos, the spread of PowerPoint has unleashed a blizzard of jazzy but often incoherent visuals.

    "There is an arms-race dimension to it," says Peter Feaver, a military expert at Duke University and frequent PowerPoint briefer at various war colleges. "If there are three briefings in a row, and you are the one with the lowest production values, you look really lame."

    It seems that e-mailed military briefings larded with electronic "slides" of booming tanks and spinning pie charts were gobbling up so much of the Defense Department's classified bandwidth that they were slowing more-critical communications between headquarters and units in the field.

    Navy Secretary Danzig announced late last year that he was no longer willing to soldier through the slide shows. He maintains that PowerPoint briefings are only necessary for two reasons: If field conditions are changing rapidly or if the audience is "functionally illiterate."

    "If we really wanted to accomplish something we shouldn't be teaching our allies how to use PowerPoint," [Duke U. military expert Peter Feaver] says. "We should give it to the Iraqis. We'd never have to worry about them again."

This reminds me of an old Scott McNealy (Sun CEO) quote, apparently from an old SJ Merc article:

We had 12.9 gigabytes of (Microsoft) PowerPoint slides on our network. And I thought, "What a huge waste of corporate productivity." So we banned it. And we've had three unbelievable record-breaking fiscal quarters since we banned PowerPoint. Now, I would argue that every company in the world, if they would just ban PowerPoint, would see their earnings skyrocket. Employees would stand around going, "What do I do? Guess I've got to go to work."

Yeah, yeah, I should change the page colors for the new month. Maybe later.

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