Ever wondered what you and Jeff Bezos, world's richest person, have in common? It's the hatred for PowerPoint presentations.
Jeff Bezos: Memos over PPTs
Jeff Bezos, whose wealth went down by $14.9 billion in 2019 but he still is the world's richest person, has a very non-conventional management style at Amazon, and according to him, Amazon’s unique twist on executive meetings is the 'smartest thing we ever did'.
“We don’t do PowerPoint (or any other slide-oriented) presentations at Amazon. Instead, we write narratively structured six-page memos. We silently read one at the beginning of each meeting in a kind of ‘study hall," Bezos wrote in his annual letter to Amazon shareholders, last year.
Even though the exact date for his dismissal of the PPTs in the boardroom is not known yet, Jeff hints, “Many, many years ago, we outlawed PowerPoint presentations at Amazon," adding that "And it’s probably the smartest thing we ever did."
For Bezos, PowerPoints often fail to convey enough information and are susceptible to audience interruptions. A narratively structured memo, in contrast, allows one to more effectively communicate the person's thoughts.
Jack Dorsey: Reading and Commenting
Jeff Bezos is not the only one to have a truck with PowerPoint presentations. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey has a similar meeting model to increase productivity. “Most of my meetings are now Google doc-based, starting with 10-minutes of reading and commenting directly in the doc," said Dorsey on Twitter.
The reading is to make sure everyone is on the same page creates an all-hands-on-deck environment that promotes teamwork and critical thinking during meetings. "This practice makes time for everyone to get on same page, allows us to work from many locations, and gets to truth/critical thinking faster," says Dorsey.