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

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

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

The self-serving Michael Flynn resignation letter is mostly fluff

Michael Flynn resigned yesterday as Donald Trump’s national security advisor. Media reports stated that he’d lied to Vice President Mike Pence about the content of his pre-inauguration conversations with the Russian Ambassador. Resignation letters should take responsibility, apologize, and say nothing further — but Flynn’s is strangely full of fluffy praise for Trump. Flynn’s letter is … Continued

Coca-Cola Refreshments achieves record low meaning ratio of 4%

If you have bad news, just come out with it. The more you bury it in self-serving bullshit, the more people will just think you’re a dishonest idiot. That’s what happened with today’s spectacularly opaque note from Coca-Cola Refreshments. Here’s the note that J.D. Lowry of Las Vegas found on the break room soda machine. … Continued

HP isn’t actually sorry that it has enslaved your printer and rejected your ink

HP would prefer that you didn’t use third-party or refilled ink cartridges, so it has updated its printers’ firmware to reject “counterfeit” ink. When this upset printer owners, it apologized in the most weaselly, self-justifying way possible. Its statement shows how companies can either apologize, or defend themselves, but shouldn’t do both at once. In March … Continued

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