Saturday, November 10, 2012



fall silhouette 2 by netalloy -

I guess I was spoiled by our long stretch of beautiful days and balmy temperatures. But Seattle has seasons and is prone to remind one of that fact with some vigor. Today was beautiful, but chilly. Cold is a better word.

When I was researching the U.S. Army, I sat through so many PowerPoint briefings, that I grew to hate the things. However, to be fair to Microsoft, PowerPoint can be quite effective if properly used—which it rarely is.

In fact a military friend of mine, who once worked for the Chief of Staff of the Army once unkindly commented that the only thing the generals he briefed seemed to understand were the actual dots that started each bullet point. The content invariable eluded them. Mind you, given the Army’s aversion to using the English language with any clarity—acronyms are always preferred—that may not be so surprising.

But me get back to my personal interest in the graphical expression of ideas. I seem to have picked a Saturday to work it out. Saturday is my self-designated day of rest which normally means I work, but kid myself that I don’t have to—and makes me feel that I can explore things that interest me with a clear conscience. There is a great deal to be said for moderate self-delusion.

Today, I decided to tackle summarizing a Marketing Plan graphically instead of in words. Being a writer I tend to be biased towards words (to put it mildly) but I was dealing with something, which, although not innately complicated, still contained more elements that I seemed to be able to remember with ease. In effect, my brain was letting me down. I could recall X but needed to remember Y.  What to do? Panic—always an appealing option—somehow eluded me.

For the hell of it, I decided to experiment with a flow chart yet again, or something of that ilk. Now, for some reason I have never got on with such things in the past—and when in business always delegated them. (as with spreadsheets). But this time around, I was stuck with me—a “bear of little brain” at times, if I may quote from Winnie The Pooh.

I hunted around the web and ended up with a program called Visio which had the added advantage of being free. I expected I would fail because I have never got on with such an approach; and I have experimented more times than I care to admit. To make it worse, I started badly because not only did I not know the program, but I have never learned the basic concepts.

To my absolute amazement, I have ended up with exactly what I was looking for. For some weird reason, I have been able to do something which has consistently defied me in the past.

The mind is a funny thing. You think you are stuck, and then suddenly: EUREKA! Could it be that all this intense focus on writing has relevance elsewhere. I’m increasingly beginning to think it has. In fact, I tend to think of writing as a cognitive force multiplier.

Mind you, I still haven’t had breakfast—and it is now late evening. But the struggle was fun.


Orso Clip Art




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