In my last two to three years at RealNetworks, I began a personal revolt against powerpoint, in favor of long form memos (which, by the way, I am not sure my colleagues ever read, too little time). I found .ppt often encouraged, and thus resulted in, simplistic analysis and thinking.
What a nice serendipitous moment today when, in the course of some research, came across this recent Tufte essay on .ppt and NASA. Take the time to read his analysis and essay — it’s good — but for those of you don’t have sufficient time or attention for this, here is his conclusion:
Serious problems require a serious tool: written reports.
While I am a native inhabitant of this digital world, and make my living from it, I often wonder how much our individual and collective analytical powers, critical thinking skills, and attention spans are being eviscerated by chat, e-mail, fragmented blog posts, mobile text messaging and the hundreds of other activities which overhwelm us.
The click — on the tv remote, on the mouse, on the next e-mail or blog feed, on the hyperlink — may be the opiate of our age. No time to digest, only time to consume.