Sunday, January 11, 2015

No PowerPoint in Amazon

Jeff Bezos’ PowerPoint prohibition | Philanthropy Daily
"More than a decade ago, it was estimated that 30 million PowerPoint presentations were given each day—the number must be much higher today. Just think of how many millions of hours are spent every day sitting through truly terrible PowerPoint presentations.

So it’s noteworthy that Amazon founder—and new Washington Post owner­­—Jeff Bezos’ proscribes PowerPoint presentations at Amazon.

Bezos instead requires that employees compose 6-page narrative memos, and he starts meetings with quiet reading periods—“study halls”—in which everyone reads the memo from beginning to end."

As Bezos put it in a 2012 interview:

When you have to write your ideas out in complete sentences and complete paragraphs, it forces a deeper clarity of thinking.

“We have study hall at the beginning of our meetings.” says Jeff Bezos.“The traditional kind of corporate meeting starts with a presentation. Somebody gets up in front of the room and presents with a powerpoint presentation, some type of slide show. In our view you get very little information, you get bullet points. This is easy for the presenter, but difficult for the audience. And so instead, all of our meetings are structured around a 6 page narrative memo.”

"There is no way to write a six-page, narratively structured memo and not have clear thinking."
[The six-page narratives are structured] like a dissertation defense:
  1. the context or question.
  2. approaches to answer the question – by whom, by which method, and their conclusions
  3. how is your attempt at answering the question different or the same from previous approaches
  4. now what? – that is, what’s in it for the customer, the company, and how does the answer to the question enable innovation on behalf of the customer?
"And then the meeting operates in flipped mode: people are working together in real time on the issue, not spending 45 minutes listening, while checking email and day dreaming."
Screenshot 2013-10-18 09.10.06

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