Paul L. Caron
Dean



Wednesday, April 19, 2006

L.A. Times on CSI: PowerPoint

There is a fascinating article in today's L.A. Times for those of us who have sat through mind-numbingly boring PowerPoint presentation in faculty colloquia and job talks:   Making a (Power)Point of Not Being Tiresome, by Claire Hoffman:

PowerPoint is:

  • Bullet Points
  • A Mysterious Jumble of Graphs and Charts
  • Utter Boredom

But Cliff Atkinson, who runs a one-man, Los Angeles-based company called Sociable Media, wants to change all that. Atkinson published a book last year called Beyond Bullet Point about how to combat "PowerPoint fatigue": the deadening sameness of Microsoft Corp.'s commonly used presentation software. The book caught the eye of W. Mark Lanier, a Houston-based trial lawyer

What happened next sounds like an episode of a ripped-from-the-headlines TV crime drama. Lanier, who was suing Merck & Co. on behalf of a man who died while taking the painkiller Vioxx, hired Atkinson as a consultant to help with his opening argument. The resulting 253-slide presentation was so mold-breaking — so the opposite of boring — that it was dubbed "CSI: PowerPoint." Reporters covering the trial singled out the slides, with one calling them "frighteningly powerful." Jurors apparently agreed: They awarded the plaintiff's family $253 million, coincidentally $1 million per slide. (Merck is appealing that award.)

Check out Atkinson's 5 Ways to Reduce PPT Overload.  (Hat Tip:  Ellen Aprill.)

https://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2006/04/la_times_on_csi.html

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