My debut as a horror writer

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Tomorrow you will get to read my first ever horror story — and it’s a paid gig. Here’s how that happened and why it probably was inevitable. My ghostwriting agency, Gotham Ghostwriters, regularly sends out emails with specific ghostwriting needs. I’m very selective about which ones I pitch, because my value is in writing tech-focused … Continued

Why does Trump’s letter to Erdogan seem so odd?

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Last week, Donald Trump sent a letter to Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Starting with “Let’s work out a good deal!”, it’s the strangest communication between national leaders ever revealed. Ridicule from both liberals and never-Trump Republicans has spread rapidly. But even as we point and snigger, nobody has really asked, “Why does this letter … Continued

To Meetup: if you’re going to change your prices, be clear about it

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Meetup started charging members of some of its groups $2 to RSVP to events — along with reducing charges for meeting organizers. This made people furious. The messaging was a mess, and they’re trying to clean it up now. As Dani Heahl wrote in The Verge yesterday: Meetup, an online platform that lets you find … Continued

Why I write

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In six decades on earth, I’ve learned that these things are worth doing. Learning. Because knowing a thing you didn’t know before is a joy in itself. This is as essential to me as it was when I was small — it keeps me going. Teaching. Because that is how you can bring the joy … Continued

How not to improve your company’s Net Promoter Score

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HBR published an article called “How to Improve Your Company’s Net Promoter Score.” What a misguided goal! About the quest to improve NPS A little background here. Bain fellow Fred Reichheld invented Net Promoter Score (NPS) decades ago. In NPS, you ask your customers, “How likely is it that you would recommend this product or … Continued

Sleazy marketing destroys your own brand

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When you descend into unethical and annoying marketing tactics, your desperation shows. You destroy your reputation in pursuit of questionable gains. And it’s permanent. Today, I’ll share two marketing messages that are object lessons in how marketing can backfire. Each was an automated message directed at me in a personal communications channel, but in this … Continued

Your book launch hero crew

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If you’re working on an advice book, here’s a way to get a lot of people to hear about it. I call it the hero crew. Do this, right now — before writing (if you haven’t started yet), before you do anything else. Nail down your audience. It might be women entrepreneurs, CIOs embracing the … Continued

The 5-step fast edit

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You have a piece to edit and limited time to work on it — and the piece is a mess. How can you fix it quickly? While every author has their own idiosyncrasies, some problems are common, easily fixed, and make a dramatic difference in readability. Here are the five quick steps to make writing … Continued