Monday, January 16, 2012

On Effort Reuse

When starting on preparing a new set of presentation slides, we often have 2 choices:

  1. To start with an empty set, and add old slides conservatively
  2. Twick an old set of slides to create a new one.

More and more, I find the first option a better one. Ideally, every presentation we make is essentially different from all its predecessors. If that doesn't happen to be the case with a particular presentation we intend to make, we should strongly review the justifiability of making it in the first place. So, once we decide on making the presentation, we should start with that point of novelty and build outward from it and add material as required. In the process, we may prefer to use material from earlier presentations.

The second option gives a feeling that we are reusing our earlier effort. But it puts severe mindblocks in thinking afresh. I inadvertantly tend to forcefit the new story into the old one. In the process, I sometimes completely lose track of the central point of the new presentation. And the worst thing to happen is when on stage I suddenly stumble on a slide I didn't expect to be there. The body language that moment speaks of the speaker's insincerity more than anything else. The audience doesn't view a presentation as a mass produced content from an intellectual factory. Every presentation should have an appearance of being hand-crafted for that particular audience.

The same holds for writeups and computer programs, to some extent.

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