Microspeak: PowerPoint Karaoke and the eye chart
The game PowerPoint-Karaoke was invented in 2006 by Zentrale Ingelligenz Agentur. In this game, contestants are called upon to give a PowerPoint presentation based on a slide deck they have never seen. (The German spelling uses a hyphen between the two words. When “translated” into English, the hyphen is often omitted.) At Microsoft, the term has been extended to refer to giving a presentation from slides prepared by somebody else, usually on short notice and therefore with little preparation.
Bob is out sick today, so I’ll be giving the overview. Sorry for the PowerPoint Karaoke.
This is shorthand for “Sorry if this presentation is a bit clumsy, but I’m stepping in on short notice, and I’m not completely familiar with this slide deck.” In the context of PowerPoint presentations, an eye chart is a slide so dense with text that reading it is a test of visual acuity. The term is usually used as part of an apology for having created such a horrible slide in the first place. More generally, the term eye chart refers to any presentation of data in a ridiculously small font. For example, over in the sales/marketing part of Microsoft, there are spreadsheets with titles like FY05 Sales Forecast Eye Chart. Here’s what one of them might look like:
(The abbreviation Y-Y is being used correctly for once. Writing the program to generate all this fake data took far, far longer than writing the rest of this posting! It got a lot easier once I realized that, since this is just fake data, the totals don’t have to add up.) Giving the spreadsheet the title Eye Chart lets people know that this is the spreadsheet crammed with data to the point of information overload. If that’s what you’re looking for. I wouldn’t be surprised if these uses of the terms PowerPoint Karaoke and eye chart are also popular at other companies.
Bonus chatter: Last year, I was asked to give a repeat of a presentation I hadn’t given in several months. I had only a little bit of time to prepare, and there were times where I lost my place and had to refer to my notes (which I thankfully remembered to keep). It’s embarrassing to find yourself playing PowerPoint Karaoke to your own slide deck.