Thursday, March 3, 2011

RSA Conference: Ben Rothke: Security Reading Room: Everything I need to know about PowerPoint, I learned from Adi Shamir

One of the highlights of the annual RSA conference are presentations from Adi Shamir; the S in RSA.  For those that don’t know who he is; let me put it this way; if there would be a Mount Rushmore for information security, he would be on it.  


With that, Shamir along with Ronald Rivest and Len Adleman were awarded the RSA Conference Lifetime Achievement Award at the conference this year.


Shamir is a most unassuming person.  If you saw him get out of a cab, you might think he was the driver.  His ensemble for a talk is a t-shirt, running shoes and jeans.  He does not have to dress for the part; his accomplishments do that for him.


Shamir’s presentations are more unassuming than he is.  No clip art, no flashy images and certainly no animation.  I don’t think that he has changed his font in over a decade.  And therein lays the rub.  Shamir is so overwhelming with content, that his presentations require zero flash or animation.  People come to his talks knowing that he is full of form and substance, with zero hype or funky PowerPoint animation.


Most of us can’t bring to the presentation the same firepower and brainpower that Shamir does.  Nonetheless, what we can all learn from him is to focus more on the content and substance, and not on the font.

After attending to a lot of useless sessions at RSA, I cannot agree more with Rothke on this one. If you have content to show, the wrapping doesn't matter.

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