Monday, March 17, 2008

PowerPoint presentations damage your brain. If you look at too many, you become immoral.

--- Yossi Vardi, Israeli entrepreneur, quoted in Nick Paumgarten, "Smart, Useless", The New Yorker, 16 Oct 2006 - an article about Gadgetoff, an annual convocation of gear-heads. Found via a Vardi profile in The Economist, 5 Jan 2008.

Quote in context:

"The person who perhaps best embodied the smart-and-useless parameter was Yossi Vardi, the tech investor and distinguished prankster, who had come to New York from Israel with his older brother Didi. Vardi, who is sixty-four, helped found ICQ, the Instant Messaging program. When asked what he planned to do with his three and a half minutes, he said, “I’m going to demonstrate how you can transfer data faster with snails than with broadband.” He said that he had sixty PowerPoint slides, but, he warned, “PowerPoint presentations damage your brain. If you look at too many, you become immoral.

"In the church, he presented meticulously researched, technically correct, but completely ridiculous charts and graphs. He compared various data-transfer systems: ISDN, ADSL, Wi-Fly (that is, pigeons). Then he showed a slide of a snail hitched to a tiny chariot with DVDs for wheels. If each disk contains 4.7 gigabytes of data, and if the snail (chasing a scrap of lettuce) travels at 0.000023 metres per second, the snail-system performance rate is over thirty-seven megabits per second. That blows ADSL out of the water. (There are flaws, however. As Vardi noted, “In some regions, most notably France, culinary habits may pose a denial-of-service problem.”) Dubno rang a bell and shooed Vardi from the stage."