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Death to PowerPoint!

Microsoft’s presentation software is as reviled as it is ubiquitous. Bullet points are the enemies of thought. People are drawn to narrative storytelling—not slides. Thankfully, the workforce is starting to rebel
Death to PowerPoint!
Illustration by 731; Photograph by Getty Images

Going without slides ‘felt unplugged ... no backup singers, just me. I felt naked’
Illustration by Quickhoney

No matter what your line of work, it’s only getting harder to avoid death by PowerPoint. Since Microsoft launched the slide show program 22 years ago, it’s been installed on no fewer than 1 billion computers; an estimated 350 PowerPoint presentations are given each second across the globe; the software’s users continue to prove that no field of human endeavor can defy its facility for reducing complexity and nuance to bullet points and big ideas to tacky clip art. On June 18, the Iranian government made the case for its highly contested nuclear program to world leaders with a 47-slide deck. (Sample slide: “In the Name of ALLAH, the Most Compassionate, the Most Merciful, Why Enrichment is an Inalienable and Chartered Right under the NPT?”) A few weeks later, scientists at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) announced the momentous discovery of the Higgs boson, or “God particle,” using 52 PowerPoint slides in the Comic Sans font that inspired more mockery than awe. Two years back, the New York Knicks tried to woo LeBron James with a PowerPoint pitch, which may explain why James won his first NBA championship in Miami.