Powerpoint vs. Prose

Legions of professionals use Powerpoint to present ideas. Powerpoint is quick, concise, easy to use, suitable for groups and nearly universal. Most of all, it is convenient.

However, Jeff Bezos does not like them. He banned them at Amazon meetings to replace them with narrative memos – 6 page documents that explain proposals in flowing prose.

A narrative memo is painstaking. It takes long to read, and even longer to write. It requires a lot of thought to structure your ideas, break them down into paragraphs and write them with correct grammar, spelling and style. In one word, it is inconvenient. In fact, Amazon employees spend up to half an hour to simply leaf through the memos and digest them before each meeting.

Nevertheless, inconvenience is desired here. A good proposal is convincing, well thought out and structured. As Bezos says, “there is no way to write a six-page, narratively structured memo and not have clear thinking”.

Powerpoint isn’t always the best medium. Convenience isn’t always the goal.

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