Could there be anything more catastrophic to the global economy than World War II? With millions of people quitting their job to take arms, entire cities bombed and countries devastated, one can hardly imagine something more terrible. Yet, there might be a far more dangerous and perinicious threat to the world's economy: PowerPoint.
30 million presentations are created every day. They mobilize the effort of millions of highly qualified employees, during countless hours. While producing very little content, these high-qualification / high-salary employees spend a huge amount of time on low added-value tasks such as formatting. The impact on companies around the glob is breathtaking: we estimated it a 2,400 billion dollars a year!
How is this figure obtained? We based our estimation on the salary and other costs associated to the amount of time spent to create slides as well as to listen to presentation during business meetings. Assuming those 30 million daily presentations have an average of 12 slides each, that the average slide takes 20min to design and produce, and that the average PowerPoint producer costs $60,000 per year to his company in salary and other employer's costs, that's a little over 1,493 billion dollars a day.
Now assuming that a conservative 4 people will assist to the presentation and spend 3 minutes on each slide, that's an additional 896 billions a day. So a total of 2.4 trillion dollars a year!
it means that PowerPoint costs as much as the GDP of the entire African continent. Almost 400 times more than the money required to send men on Mars. More than World War II. And almost 100 times more than the estimated cost that would be required to eradicate poverty!
Although quite simplistic, this estimation provides an interesting perspective and a shocking order of magnitude of how the economy has been impacted by the PowerPointization of the economy. Without a doubt, PowerPoint can be a very efficient tool to help people remember key messages. But it looks as companies have gone way to far.
Business around the world have room for considerable savings. Reducing the number of slides, restricting the use of presentations to relevant situations only, investing in trainings and appropriate tools to help employees save time in the slide creation process would help them save considerable amounts while maintaining the focus on their core business.