Death by Powerpoint

by Volker Weber

deathbypowerpoint

Yesterday I travelled to Munich for a short presentation. It was an 11 hour round trip for an 18 minute presentation. So this is not about killing an audience with PowerPoint but about how information dies in PowerPoint.

I was asked to hold a one hour talk with 30 minutes for questions and answers and I was very firm in that I would not be talking for an hour. My client scheduled for an hour and in the end we needed that hour, but my talk did not take up half of that time. If you ever have been to one of my presentations then you know I don't need an hour to get my point across. And I simply cannot sit through other people's one hour (or 50 minutes) presentations.

Long presentations are a sign of laziness. You fill up a file with lots of slides and you fill up all those slides with lots of bullet points and thus you covered your ass. I remember that around 2000 I was giving an update to a group of IT people and one of them took notes in effing PowerPoint. I had written a full report but this person wanted to present the results as he grasped them in this very moment to his superiors. No time lost. Meeting over, PowerPoint file done. It's incredible how much fine point we lose by relying on condensed information in bullet lists on slides.

I wasn't going to do this. This slide above is my illustration of a Firewall. An illustration that can explain all aspects to business people who do not know what a border router is, nor do they want to. But they will understand, what a firewall does, and they will understand it does not protect them from CEO fraud, phishing or 0days. It takes me about one minute to explain that.

I was hired to explain to a group of business owners how they can improve their IT security. And I have a feeling I did a pretty good job. This information is not on the slides. It's now firmly implanted in their heads.

Corollary: hire me. I explain difficult concepts in simple ways.

Comments

Oh mein Gott, was ist denn da schief gelaufen.

Das war mein erster Gedanke bei der Überschrift. Ich dachte echt das dein Surface Pro und PowerPoint die während einer Präsentation im Stich gelassen haben.
Um so positiver das es dann dich nicht so war.

Christian Ott, 2017-03-12 19:02

Was genau ist das da für eine Stadtansicht?

Kristof Doffing, 2017-03-12 19:44

Frankfurt vor einem halben Jahrtausend.

Volker Weber, 2017-03-12 19:52

Klingt nach einem spannenden Vortrag. Und eine schöne Zeichnung, damals allein der Vorstellungskraft abgerungen.
Ohne Budget bleibt nur ein Versuch des Rückwärtsengineeren: Der Wandel von Modellen der Sicherheit, die Löchrigkeit und der Verfall des Perimetersicherheitsmodells?
Für das Notfallmanagement eine illustrierende Sache, die ich neulich erst erfahren habe: Um sozusagen halbwegs sichere Kommunikation unter dem gehackten Himmelsraum zu gewährleisten, grub man in Frankfurt Keller unter die Keller einiger Häuser und verband diese miteinander. Das wird es in Darmstadt und anderen Städten dann wohl auch gegeben haben.

Andreas Schmidt, 2017-03-13 01:31

@Volker: Frankfurt war mir klar. Aber welches Dokument genau? Gibt es das online irgendwo? (Ich habe da so eine Sammlung ... ;-)

Kristof Doffing, 2017-03-13 13:47

Nicht ganz vollständig: http://www.burgenwelt.org/deutschland/ffm_sm/ansi.jpg

Volker Weber, 2017-03-13 13:57

Ah, danke. Diese Ansicht kenne ich noch nicht. Schade, dass die da drüben nicht weiter erläutert wird.
Aber man erkennt ein paar nette Dinge, auch interessant im Kontext einer Firewall. Im Main sind ganz oben verm. Reusen errichtet (Fishing!) und darunter vor der Brücke sieht man Eisbrecher.

Kristof Doffing, 2017-03-13 14:11

PS: Jetzt gefunden: https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Datei:Frankfurt_Belagerungsplan_1552.jpg
Schön!

Kristof Doffing, 2017-03-13 14:18

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Ceci n'est pas un blog

I explain difficult concepts in simple ways. For free, and for money. Clue procurement and bullshit detection.

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