The Worst PowerPoints

Dr Stuart Woolley
Published in
7 min readDec 4, 2022


So bad you just can’t look away, like a bad smell you just can’t stop sniffing.

Photo by RODNAE Productions on Pexels

If you haven’t come across metonymy before, and lets face it I have to keep looking it up as I keep forgetting the word myself even though I’m familiar with what it means — then it’s fundamentally the practice of using an attribute of something as a kind of slang for the thing itself — using a presupposed relation in shared culture as a shortcut perhaps.

A good example would referring to a businessman as a suit, using Silicon Valley as a name for the tech industry, or (as will become relevant) calling a slide presentation a PowerPoint.

It’s really come to this hasn’t it — and what a sorry facet of the grand game it all too clearly represents when non-technical types¹ start referring to their abominations of slide presentations, created² with what is possibly the most awkward, counter-intuitive, bloated, filled with things that Should Never Be On Slides, over-engineered piece of software ever³.

The Worst of Times

We’ve all sat through those meetings that included someone with a 15 minute slot, within a longer session.

They open up their laptop, spend 5 minutes figuring out how to share the screen, and then kick off a 27 slide PowerPoint to see if we have enough stamina not to jump out of the window, disconnect the call, or feign an urgent call from the heart specialist.

An hour later the people that aren’t asleep are pinching themselves so hard to stay awake that they could easily be certified clinically insane if there were a medical professional present.

It’s absolutely worse when it’s someone’s first presentation and they’re trying to cram their career history into a deliberately short slot in an attempt to impress.

Oh the times I’ve seen grown adults wince, their brows furrowed, their nostrils flared, as they repeatedly check for the nearest door whilst taking yet another stealthy look at their Apple Watches.

It gets worse.

Old Favourites

Using transitions between slides has been frowned upon since about 1992, if I remember correctly, when I as an intern may, (or may not⁴, have witnessed a particular…



Dr Stuart Woolley

Worries about the future. Way too involved with software. Likes coffee, maths, and . Would prefer to be in academia. SpaceX, Twitter, and Overwatch fan.