GBU Wizards of Menlo Park

http://www.gbuwizards.com

Archives of the Wizards of Menlo Park,
the people who created PowerPoint
at Forethought Inc. and at the
Microsoft Graphics Business Unit (GBU)
located in Menlo Park, California 1984-1994.
Some descriptive context for these documents is at:
Bob Gaskins’s Home Page
http://www.robertgaskins.com

All the Wizards

(in order of appearance, 1984-1994)

Bob Gaskins, Dennis Austin, Tom Rudkin, Keith Sturdivant, Robert Lotz, Kathi Baker, Harris Meyers, Aniko Somogyi, Dennis Abbe, Lewis Levin, Bob Lagier, Sharon Meyers, Tuan Nguyen, Bob Safir, Rick Hawes, Pam Miller, Judea Eden, Ron Ullman, Don Miller, Barb Jernigan, Ralph Peterson, Nelia Craig, Lynette Moore, Andre Brogli, Joan Hoshino, Connie Clark, Dave Stearns, Cathy Harris, Dave Parker, Pat Ford, Charleen Mininfield, Lucy Peterson, Kathleen Richards, Nola Donato, Darrell Boyle, Kathy Friend, Linda Fitzgerald, Soo Hahn, Jim Bartram, Laura Tillett, Paul Warrin, Yalin Chen, Bethann Martin, Bruce Lee, Amy Whitehurst, Cindy Goral, Bronwen Martin, Alice Wang, Eunice Yan, Pierre Aoun, Dan Hoffman, Anders Kierulf, Kim Kinzie, Starlene Burgett, Dave Kesterson, Millani Lew, Brendan Busch, Christoph Ammann, Sue Ann Pratt, Annette Kronmiller, Karen Sipprell, Glenn Hobin, Roz Ho, Rich Sneiderman, George Santino, Brian Jackson, Dorothy Adams, Reidun Valo, Hannes Ruescher, Neeraj Maithel, George Chinn, Mike Malloy, Rob Nixon, Bob Gregg, Donna Simonides, Mark Weigand, Ric Bretschneider, Jeremy Giddings, Susan Grabau, Marc Keller, Donna Reynolds, Cathy Albiez, Laura Hoffman, John Tafoya, Vijay Vashee, Chris Burroughs, Ly Hoang, Brian Rose, Merilee Shackleton, Jim Hansen, Mark Carlile, Teresa Fung, Robert Parker, Anil Mehra, Elliott Ng, Robert Scott, Peter Wu, Imran Qureshi, Howard Cooperstein, Melanie Pratt, Waltraut Monroe, Brian Henrikson, Shelly Albers, Dave Pond, Shubhangi Kanetkar, Peter Li, Farhang Zamani, Bakul Patel, Mike Kernaghan, Tony Lin, Eric Wilfrid, Liam Patel, Teresa Conway, Greg Nield, David Gorbet, May Quan, Chris Seitzinger, Kasia Kranz, John Bowler
Honorary:
Mike Maples, Judith Maurier, Michael Maurier, Sandy Beetner, Rosemary Abowd, Tony Meadow

Pictures

Picture from the Microsoft celebration for the current PowerPoint team to mark the 20th anniversary of PowerPoint and its acquisition by Microsoft, held at the Silicon Valley Campus on 17 August 2007. This photo shows special guests Tom Rudkin, Bob Gaskins, and Dennis Austin (L. to R., GBU Wizards #3, #1, and #2) collaborating to solve how to divide a cake into 200 portions. The cake in the photo reads "Happy 20th Year Anniversary PowerPoint!" The headline speaker was Jeff Raikes, now the President of the huge Microsoft Business Division, who had the idea to acquire PowePoint and got the deal done back in 1987.
(Photo by Judea Eden, GBU Wizard #17 in 1988.)

PNG file (1,338 KB)

Pictures of the Graphics Business Unit in Menlo Park in 1992 shown at David Byrne's talk "I (heart) PowerPoint" at the Art, Technology, and Culture Colloquium University of California, Berkeley, on 07 March 2005

PowerPoint presentation (31,483 KB)

Driving directions to the Microsoft Graphics Business Unit, 2460 Sand Hill Road, Menlo Park, California in 1991 (the building in the pictures above)

PDF Document (411 KB)

Microsoft Applications Division Management circa 1989
(Mike Maples, VP Apps, and his direct reports, mostly General Managers of Business Units)
Seated, from left: Jeff Raikes, Bob Gaskins, Pete Higgins, Mike Maples, Susan Boeschen, Tandy Trower
Standing, from left: Charles Stevens, Peter Morse

PNG Document, approx 2Kx3K (7,104 KB)

The "signature" Christopher Columbus presentation as prepared by Genigraphics Santa Clara for PowerPoint 3.0 marketing materials, early 1992
(four versions, all resaved in PPT 2003 format)

PowerPoint B&W overheads (380 KB)
PowerPoint color 35mm (208 KB)
PowerPoint color overheads (355 KB)
PowerPoint color video (299 KB)

PowerPoint

Original PowerPoint Description
by Robert Gaskins, 14 August 1984
(2 pages)

PDF document (87 KB)

PowerPoint Design: Screens, Menus, Dialogs
by Dennis Austin and Robert Gaskins, 21 August 1985
(25 pages)

PDF Document (6,170 KB)

PowerPoint Design: Sample Output
by Dennis Austin and Robert Gaskins,
21 August 1985 and 21 February 1986
(14 pages)

PDF Document (3,200 KB)

PowerPoint Specification
by Dennis Austin, Tom Rudkin, and Robert Gaskins,
22 May 1986
(45 pages)

PDF Document (15,394 KB)

PowerPoint Strategy Document ("Product Marketing Analysis")
by Robert Gaskins, June 1986
(53 pages)

PDF document (17,289 KB)

PowerPoint Strategy Presentation ("New Product Strategy and Review")
by Robert Gaskins, July 1986
(28 pages)

PDF document (4,966 KB)

PowerPoint 1.0 About-Box Screendump (running on floppy-based black-and-white Macintosh)
March 1987
(512 pixels by 342 pixels)

PNG image (5 KB)

Report on the First Year of the Microsoft Graphics Business Unit
by Robert Gaskins, August 1988
(20 pages)

PDF document (8,528 KB)

GBU Tenth Anniversary of PPT 1.0
by Catherine Belleville, Lucy Peterson and Aniko Somogyi, April 1997
(8 pages)

PDF document (1,778 KB)

PowerPoint Version Timeline (to PowerPoint 7.0, 1995)
by Dennis Austin, 2001
(9 slides)

PowerPoint presentation (86 KB)

"The World's First Laptop Video PowerPoint Presentation,
25 February 1992, Hotel Regina, Paris"
by Robert Gaskins, 2006

http://www.robertgaskins.com

Press

The Underground Art Of PowerPoint
Microsoft's presentation program is evolving from boring bullet points into an entirely new art form.
by Andy Greenberg
Forbes
11 May 2010
Link to online version

Forbes story (page 1 of 2) HTML document (web page)
Forbes story (page 2 of 2) HTML document (web page)
Forbes story (1 page, no graphics) HTML document (web page)

We Have Met the Enemy and He is PowerPoint:
Enemy Lurks in Briefings on Afghan War
by Elisabeth Bumiller
The New York Times
27 April 2010
Link to online version

New York Times Story (front page), HTML document (web page)
New York Times Follow-up (includes letter from Peter Norvig), HTML document (web page)
Cited essay from Armed Forces Journal, HTML document (web page)
Cited essay from Small Wars Journal, HTML document (web page)

JPG file of the famous slide extracted from PowerPoint

The Problem with PowerPoint
25 Years of PowerPoint
by Max Atkinson
BBC News Website, "Magazine"
07:31 GMT, Wednesday, 19 August 2009 08:31 UK
Link to online version

Note: although the author refers to "25 years of PowerPoint" he means since the initial two-page product idea of mid-1984. The "official" PowerPoint anniversaries have always been calculated based on the Release To Manufacturing date recorded on the diskettes in the product boxes at First Customer Ship in April, 1987. Both the GBU Wizards and Microsoft Corporation observed the 20th anniversary of PowerPoint in 2007, and we plan to hold a 25th anniversary reunion in 2012.

PDF document (text plus slides) (640 KB)
HTML document (web page) (81 KB)
HTML document (for print) (20 KB)

GIF file of slide 01 extracted from slide show (63 KB)
GIF file of slide 02 extracted from slide show (56 KB)
GIF file of slide 03 extracted from slide show (54 KB)
GIF file of slide 04 extracted from slide show (34 KB)
GIF file of slide 05 extracted from slide show (45 KB)
GIF file of slide 06 extracted from slide show (60 KB)
GIF file of slide 07 extracted from slide show (28 KB)
GIF file of slide 08 extracted from slide show (37 KB)
GIF file of slide 09 extracted from slide show (45 KB)

PNG picture (web page showing slide 04) (1,062 KB)
PNG picture (BBC "most emailed" chart for this story--#1) (83 KB)
PNG picture (BBC "most popular" chart for this story--#1) (82 KB)

让Point更Power:
"More Power to Point"
Interview with Robert Gaskins
(in series "Expert Voices")
by 冯磊 (Lori Feng)
CIO INSIGHT/信息方略》,
8 August 2009, pp. 20-24
Link to online version (less photo)

PDF document (10,600 KB)
HTML document (lacks photo) (132 KB)

Speaking Truth to PowerPoint:
Should We Blame PowerPoint or the People Using It?
by David Feith
The Wall Street Journal,
31 July 2009
link

“And yet the PowerPoint juggernaut rolls on. The reason is not just PowerPoint users’ laziness, or the software’s many attractive features. It’s that PowerPointers and SourPointers offer different answers to a basic question: Are poor slide presentations the fault of the presentation tool or the presenter? “Any general opposition to PowerPoint is just dumb,” argued Harvard psychologist Steven Pinker in an email. “It’s like denouncing lectures—before there were awful PowerPoint presentations, there were awful scripted lectures, unscripted lectures, slide shows, chalk talks, and so on.” Computer programming pioneer Larry Wall has argued similarly, stating: “I do quarrel with logic that says ‘Stupid people are associated with X, therefore X is stupid.’ Stupid people are associated with everything.” So perhaps all we can say is, “next slide.” And please pass the doughnuts.”
—David Feith

HTML document (138 KB)

Wow Factor Added to Corporate Presentation
The Onion,
issue 45-29, 17 July 2009
link

HTML document (58 KB)


PNG document (notional implementation) (90 KB)

Creating PowerPoint: the man who changed the way the world presents
interview with Linda Cleary, ed.,
Mindjet Connections: The Official Mindjet Newsletter,
Aug 2008

“It seems to me most people choose the wrong time periods for thinking about work/life balance. … A startup is a chance to balance out your work and life over many decades.”—Robert Gaskins

HTML document (389 KB)

Big Boost from Berkeley
by Dick Cortén
The Graduate (published by the Graduate Division, UC Berkeley),
Volume 20 Number 1 (Spring 2008), pp. 11-15

Photos and brief stories about 13 UC Berkeley graduate students and alums who made contributions to the personal computer revolution: Doug Engelbart, Steve Wozniak, Butler Lampson, Ken Thompson, Eric Allman, Bill Joy, John Gage, Jeff Hawkins, Gordon Moore, Andrew Grove, Paul Otellini, Eric Schmidt, and Bob Gaskins for PowerPoint. Rather amazing company; PowerPoint must have made an impression in the universities.

PDF document (whole issue) (2,126 KB)
PDF document (article only) (656 KB)

PowerPoint at 20: Back to Basics
by Robert Gaskins
Communications of the ACM,
Volume 50 Number 12 (December, 2007), pp. 15-17

PDF document (95 KB)
HTML document (15 KB)

Less is More When Developing PowerPoint Animations
by Steve Mahar, Ulku Yaylacicegi, and Thomas N. Janicki,
University of North Carolina Wilmington
Information Systems Educational Journal,
Volume 7 Number 82 (22 July, 2009), http://isedj.org/7/82/

PDF document (569 KB)

Can Google Kill PowerPoint?
Slate Magazine,
by Paul Boutin, 30 October 2007

HTML document (51 KB)

PowerPoint Turns 20,
As its Creators Ponder
A Dark Side to Success
by Lee Gomes, Portals column, Wall Street Journal,
(US edition), 20 June 2007, page B1.
(An interview with Bob Gaskins and Dennis Austin.)

English (US edition) WSJ website
Backup copy HTML document (98 KB)

Page A1 (callout) PDF document (404 KB)
Page B1 (column) PDF document (316 KB)

Chinese (Simplified) WSJ website
Backup copy HTML document (104 KB)

Chinese (Traditional) WSJ website
Backup copy HTML document (56 KB)

University of Chicago, Graduate School of Business, beginning with the Fall 2008 term requires students to submit PowerPoint presentations as part of their applications for admission.
"In four slides or less, please provide readers with content that captures who you are."
Associated Press story,
by Justin Pope, 30 July 2007

HTML document (66 KB)
UC GSB webpage backup (23 KB)

Don't Hate PowerPoint; Hate the PowerPointers
Freakonomics Blog, New York Times,
by Stephen J. Dubner, 20 June 2007

HTML document (23 KB)

PowerPoint Turns 20
Blog, PC World,
by Tom Sprint, 20 June 2007

HTML document (41 KB)

Innovators: Robert Gaskins
25 Years of PC Magazine: Year Six 1987, by Cade Metz, 2007
(Contains a photo of the whole GBU group)

HTML document (63 KB)

The Top 8 Innovators of the 1980's
25 Years of PC Magazine: Top 8 Innovators of the 1980's, by Cade Metz, 2007
(1982: IBM PC BIOS, Dave Bradley; 1983: 1-2-3, Mitch Kapor; 1984: HP's PCL, Ernie Covelli; 1985: Framework, Robert Carr; 1986: PC journalism, John C. Dvorak; 1987: PowerPoint, Robert Gaskins; 1988: Intel 386, John Crawford; 1989: Virus scanning, Fred Cohen)

HTML document (33 KB)

Five Experts Dispute Edward Tufte on PowerPoint:
Extracts from Interviews by Cliff Atkinson, www.sociablemedia.com, 2004

HTML document (17 KB)

Don Norman, PowerPoint Usability
Interview by Cliff Atkinson, www.sociablemedia.com, 2004

HTML document (13 KB)

Bob Horn, The Visual Language of PowerPoint
Interview by Cliff Atkinson, www.sociablemedia.com, 2004

HTML document (13 KB)

Richard E. Mayer, The Cognitive Load of PowerPoint
Interview by Cliff Atkinson, www.sociablemedia.com, 2004

HTML document (16 KB)

Gene Zelazny, Say It (or Don't) with PowerPoint
Interview by Cliff Atkinson, www.sociablemedia.com, 2004

HTML document (12 KB)

Seth Godin, Really Bad PowerPoint Revisited
Interview by Cliff Atkinson, www.sociablemedia.com, 2004

HTML document (12 KB)

PowerPoint is Evil
by Edward Tufte, Wired Magazine, September 2003

HTML document (6 KB)

Killing Me Microsoftly with PowerPoint
by Julia Keller, Chicago Tribune, 05 January 2003

HTML document (34 KB)

Die Revolutionäre des Büros
Ihre Produkte kennt mittlerweile beinahe jeder – doch wer
sind die Köpfe hinter Word, Excel und Powerpoint?
by Steffan Heuer, Brand Eins, March 2002 (in German)

PDF document (German) (352 KB)

(The Revolutionaries of the Office
Just about everyone in the world knows their products—but who
are the brains behind Word, Excel and PowerPoint?
English translation by Susan Grabau)

Word document (English) (44 KB)

The "Power Mad" episode of "In Business"
presented by Peter Day, produced by Neil Koenig
broadcast on BBC Radio 4, 07 February 2002, 8:30 PM GMT
repeated on BBC World Service, 08 June 2002, various times worldwide

MP3 audio (6,531 KB)
HTML transcript by the BBC (30 KB)

Absolute PowerPoint
by Ian Parker, New Yorker, 28 May 2001

HTML document (34 KB)

PowerPoint Invades the Classroom
by Lisa Guernsey, New York Times, 31 May 2001

HTML document (11 KB)

What's Your Point, Lieutenant?
Please, Just Cut to the Pie Charts
by Greg Jaffe, Wall Street Journal, 26 April 2000

HTML document (11 KB)

The Linus Interview
(Linus Torvalds on PowerPoint)
by Adam Goodman, Matt Welsh, and Lee Gomes, Linux Magazine, 15 May 1999

HTML document (76 KB)

PowerPoint Obsession Takes Off
by Kevin Maney, USA Today, 12 May 1999

HTML document (7 KB)

Words Go Right to the Brain, but Can They Stir the Heart?
by Laurence Zuckerman, New York Times, 17 April 1999

HTML document (12 KB)

The World According to PowerPoint
by Robert W. Lucky, IEEE Spectrum, volume 35 issue 1 (January 1998), page 17

PDF document (862 KB)
HTML document (11 KB)

Scott McNealy Bans PowerPoint
by Keith Bostic, San Jose Mercury, 03 August 1997

HTML document (1 KB)

David Byrne ♥ PowerPoint

David Byrne Really Does Love PowerPoint
by Bonnie Azab Powell, UC Berkeley News, 08 March 2005

Webpage (182 KB)

David Byrne’s Journal for March 2005
by David Byrne, 08 March 2005

Webpage (1,016 KB)

One Talking Head
by Heather Jeno, Art Blogging LA, 08 March 2005

Webpage (110 KB)

What Tufte is Missing, Says Byrnes
by Willem Daman, BlogWAD, 09 March 2005

Webpage (188 KB)

David Byrne Hearts PowerPoint
by David Pescovitz, Boing Boing, 10 March 2005

Webpage (140 KB)

Byrne, Baby, Byrne!
by Doug Harvey, LA Weekly, 10 March 2005

Webpage (523 KB)

David Byrnes Apparently Loves PowerPoint
by Sam McPheeters, OC Weekly, 10 March 2005

Webpage (178 KB)

No Backing Band, Just David Byrne and PowerPoint
by Thaddeus Hanson, Seattle Times, 08 March 2005

Webpage (102 KB)

With the Lights Out
by Laura Cassidy, Seattle Weekly, 15 March 2005

Webpage (82 KB)

David Byrne Explores the Artistic Possibilities of PowerPoint
by Jane Ganahl, San Francisco Chronicle, 11 March 2005

Webpage (98 KB)

"PowerPoint inventor Bob Gaskins was in the audience ..."
by Leah Garchick, San Francisco Chronicle, 11 March 2005

Webpage (91 KB)

Parody

A few cartoons about PowerPoint (Dilbert, New Yorker, Barron's) collected since PowerPoint emerged as a popular topic beginning in the mid-1990s.

PDF document (397 KB)

PowerPoint Remix of Tufte
by Aaron Swartz, 23 May 2003.

HTML page (5 KB)

PowerPoint Ranger Creed, parody from the Wall Street Journal to accompany the Jaffe article (press, above), "furnished anonymously by a Pentagon power briefer", 26 April 2000.

PowerPoint presentation (1,188 KB)

The Gettysburg PowerPoint Presentation,
by Peter Norvig, 21 December 1999.

PowerPoint presentation (30 KB)

The Making of the Gettysburg PowerPoint Presentation,
by Peter Norvig, 21 December 1999.

HTML document (13 KB)

The PowerPoint Anthology of Literature,
by Daniel Radosh, June 2003.

Website homepage (11 KB)
http://www.radosh.net/writing/ppaol.html

Jim Placke's PowerPoint Humor Collection,
(Chemical, Biological, and Nuclear Warfare)

Website homepage (66 KB)
http://www.nbc-links.com/powerpoint.html

Videos

FLV file player to download (right-click)
from www.martijndevisser.com

Installer .EXE (3,254 KB)

Power(Point) Ballad by Suite Dreams
“An ode to our favorite office presentation program …
made using said program.”
Words by Suite Dreams
(Sara Schaefer and Erik Marcisak)
Vocals by Cock Lorge
Edited by Sara Schaefer

FLV file (7,231 KB)

How Not to Use PowerPoint by Don McMillan
“Don McMillan gives a short comedy sketch around PowerPoint presentations and the common mistakes that people make.” Don believes that he is “the only comedian working in PowerPoint”; that’s clearly not true (every day you see quite a few in meetings), but he’s certainly a lot funnier.

FLV file (8,078 KB)

Making PowerPoint Market Share by Microsoft GBU
Comedy videos to punctuate Microsoft company meetings were made by individual business units using strictly internal resources and talent (and amusing only to insiders). This one was shot in 1992 with cast and crew of GBU Wizards at our “Sand Hill Road Studios” in sunny California for a large Apps Division meeting to be held in rainy Redmond. Written, produced, and directed by Robert Safir, GBU Wizard #14.

MOV file (27,623 KB)

Flatland
… a new way of telling Edwin A. Abbott’s classic novel Flatland, [1884] a story set in a 2-dimensional world featuring a quadrilateral narrator/protagonist. … Flatland was a favorite story of mine in childhood, recommended to me by one of my favorite math teachers. The story is partly about expanding one’s mind, partly about math, but it’s also a social satire of the sexism and social hierarchy of the Victorian times … . Because (almost) all of the characters in Flatland are two-dimensional geometric shapes, PowerPoint actually seemed like a natural tool to use to tell the tale in a more visual way to a modern audience.”
(Not a video, but a PowerPoint presentation—39 MB.)
Flatland, by “A. Square” [Edwin A. Abbott], 1884. (Original publication digitized.)
Remix/Design Zeus Jones
Score/Audio Zeus Jones
Presented at Microsoft’s Art of Office

PPT presentation (38,808 KB)

Scans of Early PowerPoint Product Boxes

PowerPoint 1.0 Mac (front)

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PowerPoint 1.0 Mac (back)

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PowerPoint 2.0 Mac (front)

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PowerPoint 2.0 Mac (back)

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PowerPoint 2.0 Win (front)

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PowerPoint 2.0 Win (back)

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PowerPoint 3.0 Mac (front)

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PowerPoint 3.0 Mac (back)

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PowerPoint 4.0 Mac (front)

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PowerPoint 4.0 Mac (back)

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