#82 3 Reasons why I'm all in on writing culture.
Jeff Bezos banned the use of PowerPoint in executive meetings at Amazon in 2018. He believed the ‘narrative structure’ couldn’t be communicated effectively via PowerPoint. Opting for 6 page memos instead, reinforcing Amazon’s writing culture.
As someone who has built a gazillion decks over the years, writing culture is something that I’m all in on. Here’s why.
1 - Harder Path is Typically the Better Path
I get it, writing a 6 page memo isn’t easy. Building a PowerPoint is easier. A couple critical things to keep in mind:
Writing requires clear / deep thinking and a structured communication flow to explain your idea, position, considerations, business case etc.
Enables the best idea to win vs the best presenter to win.
Stands on its own two feet and conveys 10X+ the amount of information, faster.
2 - Meetings About Meetings
I don’t enjoy most meetings. More often than not, those meetings are led by long PowerPoint presentations.
Especially meetings about meetings. A quick You.com search helped me find some eye opening stats visualized by Atlassian:
Most employees attend 62 meetings per month
50% of meetings considered time wasted translating to 31 hours spent in unproductive meetings per month
91% daydreamed during meetings, 39% slept during a meeting, 73% did other work in meetings, 47% complained that meetings were the #1 time waster at the office
$37B is the salary cost of unnecessary meetings for US businesses
3 - Optimize for the Meeting Audience Not the Host / Presenter
While the memo is harder on the presenter, it’s better for the audience, the company and the culture.
A well written memo allows for everyone to get on the same page, have a healthy debate, make a decision and move forward. Those are the kinds of meetings I’m all about.
If you’re into writing culture, check out Julian Shapiro (Twitter: @Julian) to get the ball rolling. He shares incredibly valuable writing knowledge and is an absolute writing rockstar.