Dodging a Major Bullet
Getting dumped via email, phone, or PowerPoint is happening with astonishing frequently. Over the past few years, I've heard of quite a few instances of email, bullet-point breakups. It's the new age equivalent to the "Dear John" letter, I suppose -- the gutless, cowardly way to put an end to a personal relationship.
Apparently, people took the movie title "10 Things I Hate About You" a little too seriously.
If you've never seen the Laura Boles Breakup PowerPoint online, let me summarize it: it's a 16 slide, mean-spirited PowerPoint presentation that follows the Microsoft templated format of "Communicating Bad News". You can picture it: bullet point lists of Laura's flaws, graphs to represent her mood swings, etc.
I can't link to it because this is a G-Rated site, and there's some mild PG stuff in there. If you really must see it, Yahoo! it.
Know this: if someone uses technology to end a personal relationship: he or she is good riddance. So you got hit with an onslaught of bullet points in PowerPoint, email, what have you.....the worst is over.
You dodged the one major bullet that counts, my friend!
PowerPoint is CamelCase
I was reprimanded for yesterday's post on Camel Case. I didn't include PowerPoint, iPod, or iTunes.
And I didn't list a whole bunch from the RSS syndication world: FeedBurner, iPodder, GreatNews, MagpieRSS, NewsGator, NetNewsWire...the beat goes on.
No doubt the widespread commerical use of CamelCase has its roots in programming. If a company wants to seem hip: they use the camel. It looks cleaner than dashes-between-words. Takes up less bitspace, too.
SpongeBob SquarePants is still my favorite, though. He came to be in the dotcom era, so why wouldn't his name be in camel case?
- Imagine how tacky he'd be if his name was Sponge-Bob-Square-Pants.
That's so "I was too late to get the URL I wanted." Not hip at all.
- Or how about the Title Case "Sponge Bob Square Pants"?
That seems like a 1950's formal announcement. Why not just call him "Sir?"
too ee cummings...maybe even orwellian futurespeakish..
Grammarians, take note. The widespread commercial use of CamelCase is bound to impact our futurespeak....if indeed, futurespeak is even in the future. I'm not aware of any CamelCase words in the Oxford English Dictionary yet....but I could be misinformed.
Anybody know of any CamelCase or Orwell's futurespeak words in the OED? Please inform me of common use words only....I can see that there are too many commercial camel case words!
Camel Case or Title Case?
I heard the phrase "Camel Case
" this week....I always thought it was a slang term for using title case: you know, where you capitalize the first letter of every major word in a title. I thought we called that "Camel Case" because the letters humped up and down like a camel.
Turns out that I'm wrong: CamelCaseUsesNoSpacesBetweenWords! (per the wikipedia definition -- link above.)
- This is Title Case.
Camel case is principally a naming convention for programming languages -- but we saw the camel case convention rather frequently in the 1980's and 1990's to lend a"new and hip look" to mostly tech companies and products. Think of eBay, CompuServe, PageMaker, PlayStation, etc.
And then, the camel case practice went mainstream for non-tech companies and products: PriceWaterhouseCoopers, DaimlerChrysler, and SpongeBob SquarePants.
And when ye olde Radio Shack changed its spelling to "RadioShack" in 1996....you gotta wonder. What benefit does a company get from using Camel v. Title? How does Camel v. Title make you, the consumer, feel about the product or company? What image are you trying to project when you use the camel?
Does the camel imply "new, technical, connected, and hip"? Or is the practice getting a little dated and tired?
Autumn PowerPoint Templates
I celebrated Autumn and the full moon this past Saturday by cavorting around a bonfire.
How will you celebrate? If you're Microsoft, perhaps you'll make little green apple PowerPoint templates
- for a happy first day of fall (or as my desktop calendar says "First Day of Autumn".)
Side note: why does my calendar say "Autumnal Equinox-Japan" on September 23, when it's on September 22 here in North America? It's a puzzlement...
And for more fall fun, download this gorgeous autumn-inspired photo and use it as a PowerPoint Background
(My friend Ursel painted it.....thanks, Uschi!)
Happy Autumnal Equinox! Go frolic!
PowerPoint and the Trophy Wife...
I have a beautiful (young) friend who aspires to trophy wife status. "I'm pretty," she insists. "So the plan is to marry a rich guy, so I can live in a nice house, wear great clothes and shoes and stuff and never have to worry about anything."
When I asked her why a wealthy man would want to marry her, she looked at me as if I were dim.
," she explained.
It's a little short sighted
of her, I think. It's more than likely that a man of character and taste would require more than mere physical beauty. But she did say that she wan't interested in character or taste, only the money...and of course, the shoes and stuff that the money buys.
and shallow to focus only on thinking pretty. In thinking of style over substance. "Pretty" is ephemeral....and there is always someone who will be prettier than you.
"Pretty" in itself is a (pretty) bad long term investment.
I countered that she might want to develop character and substance...that these qualities will last longer than physical beauty and ultimately have a much higher return on investment than the right makeup or outfits. Pretty is OK: but ultimately, people long for something more.
I've seen absolutely beautiful PowerPoint presentations fashioned by world class designers. Without a compelling story behind the gorgeous designs, the presentation quickly becomes hum-drum.
Conversely, I saw the world's ugliest PowerPoint presentation last week. When it came to design and color, the presenter did everything wrong. Colors that clashed. Bullet points with a font that was unreadable. Graphs and charts that made almost no sense.
None of this mattered. I barely glanced at the slides as the speaker performed for close to two hours. He knew his stuff. His content was compelling. He told us lots of stories. He was likeable and friendly.
I think he only developed PowerPoint slides to remind himself to move from topic to topic. Ten minutes into his talk, I realized that I quit looking at his slides at all....and I'm pretty sure most of the audience did, too.
The speaker received a very high evaluation on his talk...and very well-deserved, too.
In this case, pretty didn't pay the biggest dividends. Content and character did.
Can you be filled with knowledge and character and still be pretty? Sure you can.
But you can easily take the focus off pretty and still give a great PowerPoint performance.
PowerPoint as a Tattoo...
Twenty years ago, we didn't see many tattoos in polite society. Today, I can't help but notice the mass proliferation of tattoos on the bodies of (mostly) young people.
Some of these tattoos are quite creative, personal objects of art or a statement of conviction. But most simply scream "I wanna fit in, look cool, rebel for the sake of rebelling."
Tattoos communicate visually and personally, and so can PowerPoint. So why don't we see more charts and graphs, or lists of bullet points tattooed on our arms? Could it be that a long list of bullet points just isn't that visually compelling?!
Think about that the next time you create a PowerPoint presentation. Is it a PowerPoint presentation that wants to fit in with all the other presentations? Iis it a presentation that wants to be different for the sake of being different? How does it effectively communicate your convictions?
Thinking about the tattoo makes me want to use it as a visual metaphor in my next business presentation. Every slide should be reminiscent of a tattoo: a brief visual, maybe one or two words of text. That's it.
I'm not talking about showing skin here! I'm talking about every PowerPoint slide being a virtual tattoo. Tattoos communicate visually and personally, and so can PowerPoint. Why not?
Friday Fun with PowerPoint and Puppets...
I received an email this week from Andrew Young, Creative Director for the World's Angriest Puppets. Andrew writes:
Hi Laura,I just wanted to drop you a line because I have been enjoying your blog for a little while now and I've just recently started a PowerPoint blog of my own that you might find interesting - "Death to (bad) PowerPoint" - all about the evils of bad PowerPoint presentations and how to communicate better using it. It's less of a "how-to" or "tips and tricks" site and more about the theory behind using the software and making good presentations. You can check it out at http://power-points.blogspot.com/ and if you know anyone else who might be interested by all means please spread the word!
I printed Andrews letter in its entirety for oh, so many, many reasons:
- The blog is just sooooo visually appealing --- great job!
- The world needs to better appreciate the crucial bond between puppetry and PowerPoint ("Hey, why PRESENT when you can PERFORM, right?")
- I gotta give "link love" to a fellow Canadian.
- I'm scared. I don't want an angry puppet to show up at my door, threatening to beat the stuffin' outta me for not showing proper respect!
Go visit the new blog Death to Bad PowerPoint. It's the Friday thing to do.
You'll be glad you did!
Local Stock Art Can Excite Imagination...
We have too much visual clutter -- too much junk mail, trade floor show clutter, inbox madness, ads on park benches, sides of busses, etc.
Question: How much of it really excites your imagination or connects with your soul?Ban the Cliches.
Give hackneyed visuals and clip art a rest.
- Got two hands shaking to represent a partnership? Purge it from your PowerPoint.
- A smiling group of yuppies with laptops & cell phones leering at the camera to represent your company's tech-savvy team spirit? Get them off of your website's homepage.
- A lightbulb representing your bright ideas? Banish this evil from your ad campaign.
Seriously re-think your images. Don't go to the same old stock image sites that deliver the same tired metaphors. Do something different.Here's a thought:
Step away from the computer! Go visit new and interesting local
places where you can feel a real emotional and spiritual connection. Creative people and their output come from all over the world, not just one or two big, fat American cities.
For example, I'm going to a gallery opening in Grand Rapids this week. The gallery is called "Eyekons" and the show is called "Listening with Your Eyes
" --- which sounds compelling enough on its own. But go visit the gallery's stock art
section, and you can download unique stock images that are anything but average.
We need more specialty creative sites like this. There are too many me-too stock photos online that look exactly alike, that cater to the same tired metaphors.No matter where you live in the world -- go find a local art gallery.
Don't just see: touch. Talk. Listen. Connect. Experience art with all five senses. Give some of the large corporate stock image sites a rest. After all, creative people live EVERYWHERE - and they don't all work for the same large company, in the same big town.
Go local: and get a universal perspective on the nature of your very soul!
Labor Day Quotes part 2
Over the long weekend, I got a few more quotes via email. Here's a great one:
"Genius begins great works; labor alone finishes them." Joseph Joubert
And I had to laugh at Paul Gimbel's email:
"I was in labor for THREE DAYS and pushed for FIVE HOURS and THIS is what I get in return!??!" - My Mom.
Wait, maybe that's the wrong kind of labor. Oh well.
And in the mean time, Curt Rosengren over at Worthwhile Magazines blogs "Put Your Favorite Quotes to Work
". Mr. Rosengren has a point: how do you put great quotes to work on a daily basis?
Try his approach on a few of your "pet quotes". You can get past the soundbite and start applying meaning "...in a conscious, rubber-meets-the-road kind of way."
Labor Day PowerPoint...
Include some words of wisdom about the nature of labor in your PowerPoint presentations this week. Here are some of my favorite labor quotes:
- "You can't do it unless you organize." Samuel Gompers
- "Join the union, girls, and together say 'Equal Pay for Equal Work.'" Susan B. Anthony
- "The fight is never about grapes or lettuce. It is always about people." Cesar Chavez
- "There is no labor a person does that is undignified; if they do it right." Bill Cosby
- "Without labor nothing prospers." Sophocles
- "Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will." Mahatma Gandhi