Thursday, January 29, 2004

Legal Case Or Overreacting?

You decide: vs

A 17-year-old student in Victoria was sued by Microsoft for copyright infringements. "Since my name is Mike Rowe, I thought it would be funny to add 'soft' to the end of it," said Rowe. He never expected the giant corporation would sue. "I didn't think they would get all their high-priced lawyers to come after me," Rowe added.

Worth quoting:

Rowe registered the name in August. In November, he received a letter from Microsoft's Canadian lawyers, Smart & Biggar(1), informing him he was committing copyright infringement.
So, what did the young computer techie do when Smart and Biggar(2) lawyers were indeed coming after him? He stood his ground. "It's not their name. It's my name. I just think it's kind of funny that they'd go after a 17-year-old," Rowe said.

1: Suggested tagline: "Smart and big companies hire Smart and Biggar lawyers."
2: A philosophical question: If the partners' names were Tonny Dumb and Jackie Dumbar, would the company be called "Dumb & Dumbar"?


During my internet research for "PowerPoint Presentation Techniques," I stumbled upon a relieving fact. I'm not alone. There's a large number of people who already knew that Microsoft PowerPoint is responsible for the increasing amounts of bad presentations nowadays.

"It is?" you prolly ask.

Here's a satire look at it. Lured by the simplicity of its templates and wizards, too many people simply fill the pages up with bulleted text. Instead of conveying a story, which is what a presentation is all about.

The use of PowerPoint has spreaded so wide, that I once read (in 1999) that a mother used PowerPoint to her children to make them do house chores. The children had nightmares about it. And there's even a complaint about a bad hotel done in one. “It’s like alcohol in the hands of a drunk,” said Bill Wheless, an executive trainer and coach in Greenville, S.C., who occasionally has to restrain clients from an overzealous use of PowerPoint. “What we need is moderation.”

It's all good. As long as we don't forget the main point: Presentation is about conveying a message, or a story. Not about indexed items that can only be comprehended by the presenter. And not about complicated charts with objects as visible as bacteria.

For those interested in learning further, Seth Godin's Really Bad PowerPoint (And How to Avoid It) is a good way to start. And here, if you're interested in the ongoing debate, PowerPoint: Yay or Nay?

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