American Airlines makes class warfare easier with 9 clear boarding groups

American Airlines announced new names for the groups in its boarding process. This made it much clearer how, if you’re an ordinary non-preferred customer, you’re one step above steerage. The clarity is great: it further weaponizes envy even as it deflect attention from the privileges American is slowly squeezing out of flying. Here’s the email that I (and … Continued

Everything you need to know to write and publish a book

Disruption in the publishing industry is confusing for authors. Getting published in the traditional way is harder now, but there are a lot more ways to get a book done — and a lot more people who can help you. I’ve collected all my book wisdom into this post, with links to more detail. Potential authors … Continued

Why the Susan J. Fowler sexual harassment story at Uber rings true

Susan J. Fowler published a compelling blog post detailing continual sexual harassment — and HR malpractice — at her former employer, Uber. Uber CEO Travis Kalanick has promised an “urgent investigation.” I analyze why her account is so believable and powerful. Women claiming sexual harassment face nearly insurmountable challenges. Managers are more likely to be men. Management … Continued

Beware the thumb on the scale of government data

To make decisions, our politicians need data that only the government can collect. Political tampering with that data marks the beginning of the end for fact-based policy — and for a nation claiming to serve the needs of the people. Imaginary facts are bad enough. Cooked statistics are much worse. For me, the most disturbing headline in … Continued

Mark Zuckerberg on Facebook’s future: the spirit is willing, but the algorithm is weak

Mark Zuckerberg published a 5800-word letter on the future of Facebook. It’s thoughtful, well-reasoned, articulate, and full of truth. It’s also full of wistful promises, which I don’t trust no matter who offers them. Mark Zuckerberg’s letter, Building Global Community, starts like this: On our journey to connect the world, we often discuss products we’re building … Continued

The power of three for idea development

When I work with authors and entrepreneurs on their ideas, one-on-one sessions miss something. So do big brainstorms. The best number is three. One extra person makes a dramatic difference. I’ve done this “idea development” thing about ten times now. (For authors, I call it a “book whisperer” session.) I start with an author, or … Continued

Winners of the 2016 Bullshitty Awards

2016 was a shitty year for most of us . . . but a great year for bullshit. Thanks to your votes, I can now announce the winners of the 2016 Bullshitty Awards. Here’s the live video. Winners listed below. Most disingenuous apology Nominees Cheryl Boone Isaacs, President, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences … Continued

How Facebook makes money for me — and why that worries me

I thought Facebook would help me sell books. Instead, what it has done is to boost my brand among a big group of influential people and give me opportunities to get paid. As a result, I can see how it’s assimilating many Web functions, a trend that worries me. I’m a mid-level business author. While my … Continued