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Microsoft Office kills productivity (part 1)

BusinessEdward KiledjianComment

The future of productivity

In addition to my day job (as the CISO of a large multinational manufacturer), I do a tone of pro-bono work with startups. My goal is to share my knowledge and expertise and hopefully help these crazy entrepreneurs start something that becomes massively successful.

Even though many of these startups are on the cutting edge of technology, most still rely on old productivity paradigms that have plagued us for the last 30 years.

Microsoft Office kills productivity

Reflect on your current productivity workflow. Take the time to list the tools you use most 

  • Write down why you use it
  • Write down what you expect that tool to deliver
  • Write down how that tool falls short of being the perfect tool
You'll very quickly realize that the tools you though were perfect may not actually be fit for purpose. 

One example I love sharing with people is the fact that Microsoft Office launched in 1983. Office was created during a very different time when users where transitioning from paper to computers. In order to make the transition as painless as possible, the Microsoft Office interface was designed in a very specific way to feel comfortable and familiar. 

When you open Microsoft Word, you are greeted with a "paper imitating" interface. As we think about Microsoft Office and the reason it is designed the way it is, I want you to think about your current workflow. How often do you print documents these days (on paper)? Most of our information is prepared, stored and transmitted digitally. So why then are you working with a tool that forces you to think about elements that may no longer be relevant like:

  • margins
  • line spacing
  • etc

Most modern companies prize efficiency and these antiquated elements are irrelevant and thinking about them is a waste of time. 

Another product I want to pick on (and pick on really bad) is Microsoft Powerpoint. The entire Microsoft Powerpoint paradigm is based on the concept of slides. Most employees in the workforce today haven't worked with physical slides or transparencies. So why then are we using "productivity" tools that perpetuate this antiquated presentation model? 

In order to become truly productive, we need to give up on these antiquated concepts of efficiency that are actually holding us back and making us less productive.

Anytime you are faced with choosing a tool, you need to take a step back and remember that the only important concept in modern productivity is powering the free-flow of ideas and sharing of those ideas. Anything else that slows down this simple 2 step model should be shunned. 

Most of us are knowledge workers and we are paid to come up with great ideas not do the work of a graphic artist and waste time on layouts (which we do badly anyway).

How are you going to get your work done in the most effective and efficient way?

Part 2 coming shortly...