Beyond bullet point thinking

If not immediately but over the years I have realized growing misuse of PowerPoint in the business world. Earlier on this blog I have shared my deliberate attempt to overcome PowerPoint driven bullet point thinking in the business world. Today I would like to share few things I tried and still trying outside business world.

E-mails: I know, I know but yes thinking about emails differently helped. Instead simple blurb, I started writing appropriate level of details. Proper sentences rather than bullet points. I even got good feedback sometimes which encouraged me to keep using new way of writing emails.

SlideShare: I posted few slideshows on SlideShare. I developed story first and then slides were created based on the story. As you guessed by now, stories were written in simple word document. I revised them several times before creating slides. Stories provided reason for me to write more than bullet points.

Blog: I started blogging back in 2009. It was important for me that I write often. As often as couple of posts each week. Some posts stayed as draft only while others were published. I was fully aware of my shortcomings with writing style and I still am. But my need to express thoughts in words is much higher than worrying about correct writing style.

Now designX6 work brings lot more challenges and many opportunities to go beyond bullet points. Within our small team we are fortunate to have some good writers. They can write good poems too, see below HallowsThieves game poem as an example. We are really enjoying what we are developing.

Happy writing.

If “PowerPoint” limits your thinking use “Word”

My cousin, Sameer always likes to ask about book(s) I am reading when we talk. Probably he likes recommendations from someone he knows rather than anonymous reviews on Amazon and other book stores. Few weeks back when we were having a conversation, apart from other topics as expected he asked about books I was reading. I was reading an interesting book “How PowerPoint Makes You Stupid…” by Franck Frommer back then with one or two other books. After our conversation I sent him an email with links to the books I was reading. As I was writing the email to Sameer, various thoughts crossed my mind about subject of the book, the infamous PowerPoint slides.

Looking back at my fifteen or more years in small and big companies, I could not agree more with Franck’s observations about PowerPoint (or include Apple’s Keynote as well) usage and growing popularity of the same in the business world. It is true that in the business world PowerPoint usage is so ubiquitous that meeting without PowerPoint slides is almost unthinkable.

All these years I have created hundreds of PowerPoint presentations for business meetings. In recent years though I started realizing shortcoming’s of PowerPoint / bullet point thinking more and more. As much as I wanted to point fingers to practices followed in the business world, it dawned on me that I am also not doing anything different to break away from what it seems like a norm now. In the process it’s me who is now reduced to few good bullet points and that’s all. The thought was very very scary. Anyway I am trying different things in the business world in last 3-4 years and more so in life outside business world. Today I thought about sharing what I am doing in the business world to ensure my thoughts are not reduced to only few good bullet points.

I started creating a word document per project. Yes a word document which captures all my thoughts about what is that we are trying to do, who is target customer, competitive information, sales strategy, risks and mitigation’s, value proposition, and so on. All the elements of a typical business plan. I capture all this with one twist though. I do not use predefined standardized business plan template. I believe use of template leads to same mediocre thinking which comes with starting with PowerPoint slides. Goal of writing such document for me is to liberate from bullet point thinking. Express my thoughts more like a story instead a disciplined business document. Act of writing such document is helping me enormously. I am more prepared than ever on the subject and at the same time able to satisfy my creative needs. I will post things I am trying outside business world in some future post(s) till then “Happy Writing!!”