Showcasing Creativity is the Goal
What is the purpose of this website? I'm using it for a variety of reasons that all fall under a general goal of showcasing creativity and changing perceptions people have about presentations.
Firstly, I wanted to change perceptions about Microsoft's Powerpoint software. It is actually incredibly versatile, and remains the benchmark presentation tool for many good reasons. Always the scapegoat for every bad presentation, the truth is usually that the presentation was bad simply because the presenter and the material they put together was bad. In short, Microsoft makes a great product and takes the blame, when the presenter is usually the one at fault.
I'm currently a military briefer for senior and mid-level military leaders, forced to employ the absolute, most hideous slides anyone has ever seen. Think about a Steve Jobs presentation and his supporting graphics......and then realize I brief the exact opposite of those design principles and what you see in those presentations; daily. It hurts my soul.
What do these slides I labor under look like? Is there text filling all available white space on the slide? Check. Font size 10 for an older audience wearing glasses sitting up to 50 feet away? Check. Tables, Charts, maps and graphs strewn about the slide in an unorganized manner with the only logic being to cram as much as humanly possible on one slide? Check. Color palettes that resemble a Rainbow Bright vomitorium? Check. You've seen it yourself wherever you work. It is painful. We can often do better. When we can't, or aren't permitted to do so, then we can do the next best thing and at least show the world it doesn't really have to be that way. That's what this website does. Call it an outlet for some of my workplace frustrations.
A second goal for me here at powerpointparade.com is that I wanted people to think differently about default templates, and other pre-canned layouts within presentation software. Making your own graphics is actually quite simple and allows you to truly customize a presentation exactly the way you want it. I'm a jack-of-all trades Air Force navigator who has been an aviator, a military aviation instructor, an executive officer (a glorified secretary), a Space wargame director, and a geography college teacher. I also have seven years in the grocery industry and picked up a smattering of insider advertising tips occasionally helping build the weekly full-page newspaper ads. I have no formal training in art or graphic design though, and my academic degrees are in history, political science and geography. So, if I can do it, so can you.
Third, I'm a meticulous borderline workaholic. Despite all my hobbies from cycling to numismatics, this is a genuinely fun and satisfying outlet for me. I just enjoy working hard, and relish the focus that comes with crafting creative projects. For me, creating something elegant, appealing, and useful is a reward in and of itself. The cynic in me realizes that art is really exactly the same thing as a military strategy called deception; (all art is an illusion getting you to see something that isn't really there; and this is a very useful military skill for survival). But the goal here isn't victory; just the satisfaction that comes from creativity and educating people.
Lastly, I'm approaching the end of my military career. I have no idea what's next. But after a lot of disappointment in the Air Force, I'd like to return to the civilian world and corporate America; perhaps designing education materials or working in advertising or some other graphic design venue. I have a solid ten years of public speaking for audiences ranging from classrooms to large auditoriums of mid-level and senior government and industry leaders at home and abroad, and would consider that as a gig, (as long as I had control over the presentation material.) I'm hoping potential employers see this website and are intrigued with my work, my unusually broad background, and my "talent stack," as Dilbert creator Scott Adams calls it. What say you?