Friday, June 29, 2007

Beethoven Didn't Use PowerPoint

Lots of people think songs without singing is not a song. Tell Beethoven that and he'll kick your @ss. -- Eddie Van Halen
I have seen a lot of technical presentations over the years. I have given some, but not recently. I've been thinking that it is time for another, to broaden my horizons.

I have a fantasy to try and pull off a technical presentation without any slides or demos.

I suspect that "lots of people think presentations without slides or demos is not a presentation" (see quote above)....

Is it possible -- no slides? no demos? Consider:
  • A truly good speaker just needs a stage and a chalkboard. After all, professors have communicated sophisticated ideas for centuries without PowerPoint.
  • I have blogged before that the best takeaways from a presentation are not bullet items nor code snippets. Give me ideas.
  • Though I'm no expert, I have taken some acting classes and improv classes. One might say I'm a thespian trapped inside a man's body. The improvisation class in particular was an object lesson for the argument "less is more". A stage and 2 people: go! Hijinx ensues.
Admittedly, there are lots of good reasons for slides, and especially demos, but I'm intrigued. Especially since the SD West 2001 conference in San Jose, where I saw a master at work.

Cliff Stoll gave a keynote address that was fantastic. One part Einstein and one part Robin Williams, he ran around the stage frenetically, talking at 90 MPH, with his arms folded over his head. He ran into the audience, with his disheveled hair bouncing all over the place. He waved his arms; he yelled. He showed a home-built radar detector and ran towards it. A lot of running.... And a lot of very interesting points, often punctuated by a pause: the point would be brought home in a quiet voice, with a direct, knowing look into the audience. The subtext was often: "No, I'm not crazy. I'm dynamic." He spoke for 90 minutes, and received a standing ovation. It was truly spectacular.

Now, it is indeed true that the presentation was about abstract ideas, and not, say, the Java 3D API or Guice annotations.

Plus, it was a high-end keynote: I don't see myself building a radar dectector for a local Java SIG meeting, and running around in front of puzzled Java fans as though I'm in a play, talking crazily to unseen characters offstage.

But, still...... Beethoven didn't use PowerPoint.





3 comments:

Eric Burke said...

"After all, professors have communicated sophisticated ideas for centuries without PowerPoint."

For centuries they did not have PowerPoint.

"Beethoven didn't use PowerPoint"

Again, he didn't have PowerPoint. How would he sound without a Piano? Given modern technology, perhaps he'd feel constrained by a piano and would augment his work with all sorts of synthesizers and computers?

Sure, it is possible to give a great talk without PowerPoint. But there are also examples of great speakers who leverage PowerPoint to make their presentations even *better*. It's just another tool that can be abused, but can also enhance a talk.

Anonymous said...

The devaluation of the fiesta Gold grows faster than we think of it. I hope it is reflects to the management department about the question of the fiesta money.
It is caused by the continuous influx of fiesta online gold market currencies. On the other hand, buy fiesta Gold is one of these questions. The fiesta online money is one of the causes.
So to have a good attack, you should level your skill in cabal online alz. Also, get the highest level jewelry that you can equip in thecabal alz. This step depends on your skill rank, for lower magic ranks get 4 fast notice arrow skills and your cabal gold. Of course, if you have more cabal money, you can get more in the game. By the way, you can buy pet from other players in buy cabal alz.

Anonymous said...

Now do you worried about that in the game do not had enough Archlord gold to play the game, now you can not worried, my friend told me a website, in here you can buy a lot Archlord money and only spend a little money, do not hesitate, it was really, in here we had much archlord online Gold, we can sure that you will get the cheap Archlord gold, quick to come here to buy Archlord gold.

Now do you worried about that in the game do not had enough Atlantica online Gold to play the game, now you can not worried, my friend told me a website, in here you can buy a lot Atlantica Gold and only spend a little money, do not hesitate, it was really, in here we had much Atlantica online money, we can sure that you will get the cheap Atlantica online Gold, quick to come here to buy Atlantica online Gold.