Earlier this week, a serial entrepreneur named Ryan Allis decided to share online the nuggets of motivational wisdom that he’s accumulating over his 30 very busy years. On its face, that doesn’t sound like a terrible idea. Allis is, by any measure, a very successful businessperson, having launched a couple startups and selling one of them — the email marketing service iContact — for $169 million in 2012. He may be only 30, but he certainly knows a thing or two about being successful.
There’s just one problem. Instead of posting an article or short video, Allis uploaded a 1,285-slide powerpoint presentation detailing everything—and it does appear to be everything—that he’s learned over the past 10 years. Each slide contains just a few colored words in giant, sans-serif letters. Most convey the kind of common-sense motivational bromides we’ve all heard many times — the kind of stuff that, no matter how true or useful, often fails to have an deep effect on people precisely because they’ve heard it so many times.
Other pieces of advice, meanwhile, come across as a little weird. At various points, the iContact founder urges readers to ditch any friends who don’t “inspire” them; suggests moving to a “cultural center” if they don’t already live in one; and recommends finding a mentor by sending unsolicited email or Twitter messages — or even by just showing up at their office. What if that doesn’t work? He suggests you keep up the charm offensive for at least six months.
But what’s really most notable about Allis’s presentation is its sheer length. As I skimmed it, I had to wonder: Would the people who most need to hear Allis’s advice reallyslog through all those slides? I seriously doubted it — and was reminded of something that that greatest of motivational writers, Benjamin Franklin, once wrote: “I have already made this paper too long, for which I must crave pardon, not having now time to make it shorter.”
Figuring that Allis must be too busy to cut his opus down to size, I thought I’d take a shot. You can read my one-slide summary above.
Now you’re ready to succeed in business, make boatloads of money, and eventually write your own motivational slideshow. You’re welcome!