What would your mother say?

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When I was an analyst, we had an opportunity to accomplish a goal by, shall we say, a means that not everyone would agree was ethical. I asked my boss what I should do. “I always answer these questions like this,” he said. “If everyone knew what you did, would you still feel okay about … Continued

Coauthor or ghostwriter?

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“Seeking a ghostwriter or coauthor,” the email subject line read. Make up your mind, I thought. Because those are two very different roles. A coauthor works with you, while a ghostwriter works for you. How to decide if you want a coauthor or a ghostwriter I get it. You think you need writing help. But … Continued

Why editorial costs vary so much

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“How much will it cost for you to help me with my book?” you ask. “It depends,” I answer. I know that’s frustrating. Here’s what affects that cost — and how you can work cost-effectively. Why talent costs vary I price by the job, not by the hour. But behind the scenes, I am estimating … Continued

PagerDuty sends the worst layoff email ever written

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We have a new winner. In this season of tens of thousands of tech layoffs, I thought Twitter’s short, insensitive, anonymous layoff email was the worst possible. I was so wrong. PagerDuty CEO Jennifer Tejada laid off 7% of the company’s workforce with an email that included this impressive list of sins: And . . … Continued

Ask Dr. Wobs: How do you get people to read to the bottom?

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I recently received this query from a loyal reader: In an era where merit is accorded on the basis of social media ‘likes’ and increasing numbers of TLTR [too longer to read] messages I would like to (read) your comments on how to get the audience to ‘read to the bottom.’ Good question. Is “read … Continued

Slideware

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I’m currently writing some serious business content for a company that has many, many PowerPoint presentations about its ideas. I want to be clear here. This is not a complaint. The ideas are good. The slides are good. And I am certain that the people delivering the presentations were effective in persuading their audiences about … Continued

Funny machines

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I’m obsessed with the question of whether machines can ever be funny. I’ve already shared how ChatGPT just “doesn’t get it” about what a joke is. It seems to understand the structure of a joke, but never quite gets what makes jokes funny. (The last of these ChatGPT jokes is so stupid that is a … Continued