High quality printing by RedBubble. Now re-issued as a tote bag for the 25th anniversary of PowerPoint. Choice of sizes, 13 inches mm square, or 16 inches mm square. Same image available as throw pillows, 16 inches mm square, 18 inches mm square, or 20 inches mm square. Want a signed copy of the book? You can get a free personalized bookplate, hand-signed by the author, to be pasted into your book.
Just send an email note and request to robertgaskins gaskins. Also in the WSJ Chinese: Headline speaker was Jeff Raikes, President of the entire Microsoft Business Division, who had the idea to acquire PowerPoint and got the deal done back in This is the same story as Instagram.
The world wanted exactly what PowerPoint was—the first, second, and third times. And … PowerPoint right now owns 95 percent of that market. That is, that is unreal. The presentation would spring directly from the mind of the business user, without having to first transit through the corporate art department. The Improbable Origins of PowerPoint.
Video , view from YouTube 5 mins 33 secs. For why and how the word was coined, see also the history of the name in Conversation with Robert Gaskins. Deal of the century? Tyler Cowen, Marginal Revolution. The original publication was 29 Reasons to Love PowerPoint. Discusses in part how PowerPoint got its name. If electronic media were hazardous to intelligence, the quality of science would be plummeting.
Letters to the Editor: The problem is not in the tool itself, but in the way that people use it—which is partly a result of how institutions promote misuse.
Does the Military Overuse PowerPoint? Audio of the broadcast MP3, 6. Transcript of the broadcast. I still think PowerPoint is a perfectly good application.
The Cognitive Style of PowerPoint: We were PC snobs. A new language is in the air, and it is codified in PowerPoint. Now I would argue that every company in the world, if it would just ban PowerPoint, would see its earnings skyrocket. Vinland Books, , pp. Robert Gaskins kept contemporaneous private notes for his personal use during that whole period, writing these in a succession of permanently-bound lab notebooks.
In these notebooks he documented nearly all meetings, conversations, decisions, and major events, as they occurred. The complete collection of his notebooks 2, pages total is still extant, and was his raw material for the account in this book. The book also cites and quotes from a large number of previously unpublished documents, mostly written during the early development of PowerPoint and during the acquisition negotiations with Microsoft.
Nearly all of these private documents are now on the web, in searchable PDF format, along with the full text of the book, also searchable and with hyperlinks. The documents listed below are unpublished documents about PowerPoint history by various authors, referenced in Sweating Bullets: Notes about Inventing PowerPoint , along with archived versions of a few other referenced documents difficult to consult.
But he also defended its appeal not only as a business tool, but also as a medium for art and theater. I became interested in the concertina, the only native English musical instrument and the high-tech musical sensation of the Victorian age, and learned how to play antique examples of the Maccann duet concertina, a nearly forgotten late-Victorian refinement. I studied its history, did extensive research at British research libraries and museums, and published research articles.
Life member of the London Library. At the same time, I carried out a project for the Horniman Museum in London to digitize parts of their concertina history archives, now free online at www. We lived most of each year in London for ten years — , then moved back to live full-time in our Victorian house in San Francisco that we had purchased in We continued working in the style of a startup and at the same intensity for as long as I was there, through the first three generations of PowerPoint.
These first three PowerPoint versions completed the basic product functionality which has been refined in further releases since then. They were shipped in over two dozen national languages, and won scores of awards worldwide. By then PowerPoint was being used by over million people worldwide, with over 30 million PowerPoint presentations being made every day. In , Microsoft announced that PowerPoint was installed on over a billion computers worldwide.
Only after the success of the physical bundle were the three applications progressively revised to work more alike, provided with a single install program, and packaged together as well as sold separately. Still later the parts of Office began to be specified and developed as an integrated product, with advantages both to users and to Microsoft.
It was this innovation that also required changes to the Microsoft organization, away from the loosely-coupled confederation of independent application business units. While I headed the Graphics Business Unit we grew from 7 people to nearly people, about 70 employees and 30 vendor personnel. Microsoft grew from about 1, people to 12, during the same period. The full story of PowerPoint is chronicled in the book Sweating Bullets: This book was written to commemorate the twenty-fifth anniversary of PowerPoint, recounting stories of the perils narrowly evaded as a startup, dissecting the complexities of being the first distant development group in Microsoft, and explaining decisions and insights that enabled PowerPoint to become a lasting success.
This was followed by an official celebration at Microsoft, and led to a column in Communications of the ACM which included some PowerPoint history.
Many of the early PowerPoint project documents used as source materials for these articles and programmes are now archived online for public access, along with further press coverage.
I joined Forethought when it was a year-old startup that had stalled out and was looking to do a re-start around some new business plan, the focus of which soon turned out to be my PowerPoint idea. I had responsibility for our product strategy, all development, product marketing, publications, and manufacturing. Within a month I had written the original PowerPoint description , the first of a succession of product marketing documents refining the PowerPoint product definition. A couple of months later I was able to recruit Dennis Austin from Gavilan and before that Burroughs to head the software design and development for PowerPoint.
About eighteen months later we attracted Tom Rudkin from VisiOn and before that Intel to head the work on a future Windows version of what was being designed and implemented first for Macintosh. An outside board member was Bob Metcalfe , inventor of Ethernet and chairman of 3Com.
I and all the rest of the PowerPoint people, plus many of our other Forethought employees, became Microsoft employees, just a year or so after the Microsoft IPO.
The New York Times reported on 31 July Forethought makes a program called Powerpoint that allows users of Apple Macintosh computers to make overhead transparencies or flip charts. Microsoft is already the leading software supplier for the Macintosh.
The personal software industry has been buzzing with acquisitions lately. Microsoft has purchased a employee Berkeley company called Dynamical Systems and has invested in another company, Natural Language Inc. But the acquisition of Forethought is the first significant one for Microsoft, which is based in Redmond, Wash. Forethought would remain in Sunnyvale, giving Microsoft a Silicon Valley presence. This building featured windows so narrow that they had apparently been designed as arrow slits, through which we could shoot our defensive crossbows against attackers.
One hopeful sign in favor of joining Microsoft was that, where other potential acquirors had sent accountants to do due diligence by reading our bank statements and interviewing our bookkeeper, Microsoft instead sent Dave Moore to actually read through the text of all our program source code and to interview our developers. Fortunately Microsoft turned out to be an excellent fit, and our group remained intact and maintained an amazing degree of organizational independence within Microsoft for as long as that made sense.
After that I volunteered to join the leaders of a European subsidiary team for a crunch project to create and ship a line of networked personal computer and server products, hardware and software, designed for 9 languages. Within 14 months we shipped the first Intel—based personal computers in Europe, based on Microsoft system and application software which was how I came to know Bill Gates.
Based on my experiences traveling around the world for this project and receiving hundreds of presentations from people who used overheads and slides and flipcharts a few made on computers, most not , I began to think about the possibility of a new application to make presentations using the then-undelivered future graphical personal computers such as Macintosh and Windows—the idea which would later be the basis for PowerPoint.
For my first job out of school, I set up a new department at the principal U. Heroes of the Computer Revolution. Dijkstra, followed by a course of forty-nine lectures from Dijkstra, C. This was a four-week residential course, held on the campus of the University of California at Santa Cruz, August, Classes were held in a steeply-raked auditorium with a raised aisle behind every curved row of desks.
It was unnerving when he stopped and lingered behind your chair. From another trip report EWD While a graduate student, I co-authored with Laura Gould a textbook on programming for linguistic and humanities research , used in courses at Berkeley and Stanford, and in summer sessions for college teachers in the humanities organized by the American Council of Learned Societies.
I did extensive consulting with Berkeley faculty members on the use of computers to study literature, languages, arts, and music.
I was graphics consultant for the Berkeley Campus Computer Center. I spent some years as chief programmer for Berkeley machine translation research Chinese to English. I did the programming of ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic fonts and typesetting for the Berkeley Late Egyptian Dictionary.
I wrote a program to generate haiku, which was embedded in the idle loop of a campus CDC and became the most prolific poet up till that date, with a selection published in an anthology of computer poetry edited by Richard W. Bailey Computer Poems, One of my motivations for choosing Berkeley was Professor Bertrand Bronson in the English Department, who had pioneered the study of the traditional tunes of English and Scottish popular ballads by coding the music and transcribing it to punched cards for analysis on tabulating machines; I was able to help him with computer analyses and concordances.
There were many more projects in graphics and music and natural language. I was admitted to the Ph. My wife was admitted to the Linguistics Department for a Ph. I entered with a Special Career Fellowship from the Ford Foundation for five years of complete support. My intention was to specialize in Shakespeare and follow an academic career teaching literature and linguistics, but before I registered for my first classes, I read in the catalogue and discovered classes in the Computer Science Department in the College of Letters and Science, spun off from the Math Department.
My advisor, Josephine Miles, the poet, agreed that some exposure to computers would be broadening, so I enrolled in a beginning programming class. I was immediately enthralled, took more classes CDC assembly language from Butler Lampson was memorable , and soon I formally broadened my program; this was possible because the Special Career Fellowship made me independent of any department. This was a wise step for the purpose of getting an education, but not necessarily wise for the purpose of ever completing the degree.
The computer scientists thought I was reasonably smart, at least for a student whose interests were in such nebulous areas as analyzing literary language and music. The literary people thought I was a tolerable critic, at least for a student whose interests were more in linguistic structure of language and in computer analyses.
The linguists thought I had some useful observations, at least for a student whose interests were more in formal languages and literary language than in collecting field data about obscure tribal tongues. Over the next ten years, I passed: But by , after ten years at Berkeley, I had decided I needed to write that dissertation far less than I needed to move to Silicon Valley, where I could get the experience to do a software startup for the new single-user personal computers.
The first Apple ][ had been introduced only a few months before. And just as had been a great year to move to Berkeley, was a great year to move to Silicon Valley. I transferred to the University of Southern California as a junior, and joined the honors program in the English Department.
There, one of my major advisors was Professor Virginia Tufte, who was particularly encouraging in helping me to gain admission offers from several leading graduate schools. Her son Edward Tufte, who was about my same age, would later attract a great deal of attention for his important work on presentation of information, and incidentally also for his opinions about PowerPoint.
I re-entered conventional higher education at Los Angeles City College , a large and well-established two-year community college located on what had once been the original campus of UCLA in central Los Angeles, where I studied English literature and was selected to be the editor of the campus literary magazine. I was expelled from high school for showing disrespect of administrators, a charge that was undeniably true. My beef was that they allowed a poor math teacher to choose a textbook not sophisticated enough for the Honors Mathematics track.
I was happy to be expelled indefinitely, and just dropped out permanently. I never completed high school or any equivalent, never took any equivalency test, and nobody ever cared. My scores on national exams gave me admission to universities anyway, and I tried out two of them for one semester each, but I was interested in studying other things. I interrupted university for a self-directed three-year program to study libertarian economic theory and history.
In that first year, I mostly read in their large library the classic books, which were in those days out of print and hard to find, talked with frequent important visitors to the Foundation, and made occasional field trips to visit individualist luminaries such as Rose Wilder Lane. The second year, I lived in Manhattan and regularly went to listen to the weekly open seminars of Ludwig von Mises at New York University. This is a fabulous service!
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