The New York Times’ remarkable corporate self-criticism

While The New York Times may be the most successful news organization on the planet, it faces the existential threat of digital disruption. This, as Clayton Christensen would say, is a recipe for disaster. But maybe not. The Times’ 2020 Group has published a manifesto for change. The cogent self-criticism in this document is amazing. Learn from it. The Times’ … Continued

The Edelman Trust Barometer shows how we’ve driven into a ditch

We are living in a portentous moment, characterized by distrust in our leaders and institutions. But what’s the context — is it measurably worse now, and what does it mean? The global communications firm Edelman has released its 2017 edition of the Edelman Trust Barometer, a global survey on exactly these topics. Edelman clearly and evocatively … Continued

The value of predictions (hint: it’s not accuracy)

Thinkers Stowe Boyd and John Battelle published predictions for 2017. They’re going to be wrong about most of them. Their predictions make you think hard, though, and that’s the value of what they’ve created. If you want to make predictions and be right, that’s easy. For example, I predict that Donald Trump will become president this year, and … Continued

Science fiction and analytical thinking

I was a science fiction fan growing up in the 60s and 70s. I was a technology analyst, predicting the future, in the 90s and 00s. Here’s what science fiction and strategic analysis have in common — and what they don’t. How science fiction challenges the mind (and “sci-fi” doesn’t) Science fiction is not the same … Continued

Comcast recovers nicely from a slippery situation

Everybody loves to hate Comcast, America’s biggest cable company. On Monday, in Indianapolis, its repair technicians created a situation that led to multiple car accidents, then behaved arrogantly and denied being responsible. Comcast’s response is not bad; it’s direct, personal, and promises to make things better. What happened in Indy? Several Comcast repair trucks with “cherry-pickers” … Continued

Writing a company profile that’s not awful (Ask Dr. Wobs)

Dear Dr. Wobs Company profiles are some of the most boring pieces of content. How can they be improved?  — Alessandra Dear Alessandra: A typical company profile — often shown on the “About us” section of a Web site — is a political exercise that makes everyone at the company unhappy, even as it mystifies customers. … Continued

How to deal with schmucks (like the guy Delta Air Lines just banned)

There’s a lot more public nastiness since the election. For example, there’s the passenger who, as a Delta Air Lines flight was boarding, starting shouting offensive stuff like “Donald Trump, baby! We got some Hillary bitches on here?” Delta has banned him for life. Is this the right way to deal with real-life trolls? Here’s part of … Continued

Nordstrom: “We sell what sells, including Ivanka Trump”

Should Nordstrom continue to carry Ivanka Trump merchandise? It sells. So Nordstrom will keep selling it. In its rambling email to employees, it wraps that fact in tissue paper and packing peanuts. Why not have the courage to tell the truth? A friend of mine recently emailed Nordstrom to protest its decision to continue to … Continued