A 2004 email from Jeff Bezos explains why PowerPoint presentations aren't allowed at Amazon

Jeff Bezos Reuters
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is not a fan of PowerPoint presentations.

Anytime an Amazon worker has an idea to discuss, they're asked to structure their pitch in the form of a four-to-six-page memo, which the company calls a "narrative."

They then take their pitches to team meetings, where the first 20 minutes or so are spent reading the memo. After, the presenter fields questions from the rest of the team.

It's an unconventional process, to be sure, but one that Amazon believes forces careful consideration of ideas.

In an email sent to his senior team — also known as the STeam — in 2004, Bezos explained why Amazon would no longer be using PowerPoint presentations.

Pete Abilla, an early Amazon employee and current director of digital, content, and demand generation at HireVue, shared Bezos' email in a recent post on his employer's blog.

The email was sent to the STeam on June 9, 2004, at 6:02 p.m. and had the subject line "No powerpoint presentations from now on at steam."

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It reads:

A little more to help with the reason "why."

Well structured, narrative text is what we're after rather than just text. If someone builds a list of bullet points in word, that would be just as bad as powerpoint.

The reason writing a 4 page memo is harder than "writing" a 20 page powerpoint is because the narrative structure of a good memo forces better thought and better understanding of what's more important than what, and how things are related.

Powerpoint-style presentations somehow give permission to gloss over ideas, flatten out any sense of relative importance, and ignore the innerconnectedness of ideas.

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