Presentations for the VP

One of my many jobs at the Enterprise is putting together presentations for Directors and VPs. My objective is to make the shortest presentation with the highest content. They have limited time and I can’t include all the details. So I’m careful with my word choice and I try to use lots of white space.

Again, the objective is to convey the essence of the computer systems and how they all interact.

I was asked to put something together by our VP. I solicited feedback from a director, other software architects, and systems programmers. My intent was to make sure I didn’t miss any key elements but make it as simple as possible.

So today I went before the VP with my “deck.” (A “deck” is a stack of paper with words and diagrams. I don’t know why they call it a deck. They just do.)

We got to page three and the VP began to type on his Blackberry so I stopped in mid-sentence. He finished and I continued. Soon again he was typing away on his Blackberry. I stopped. This continued throughout the meeting.

Then he began quoting movie lines that I didn’t know. He told me I ought to see more movies if I expected to move to the next level. Seemed a strange comment for the context.

When I came to the part about including another business unit in our next design of the system, he went off on a tangent and used his middle finger to illustrate his point.

Then he began running his pen through the words on the page. One of my sentences read: “The application is an Internet facing pure HTML solution.”

He took issue with that. Said that Internet and HTML were redundant. “Just say HTML.” And told me to remove “pure” since there was no such thing as “pure HTML.” I was shocked. I just couldn’t believe my ears. At that instant I looked at him and imagined him wearing a bozo wig and red nose. It was that weird. I swear I heard organ grinders and saw monkeys sitting around the table.

How could a VP in IT be so ignorant?

If you are ignorant, at least be silent.

I simply can’t tolerate mediocrity.

There was no desire to understand the systems. I was simply entertainment.