As Uber president Jeff Jones quits, CEO Travis Kalanick ignores the toxic context

The bad news at Uber keeps on coming. This weekend, its President of Ridesharing and second-in-command, Jeff Jones, quit after only six months. This was an opportunity for Uber’s founder and CEO, Travis Kalanick, to take responsibility for problems that contributed to this departure. He failed. The context for the Jeff Jones departure First, some background. … Continued

Wishbone can’t wish away a data breach

The quick polling app Wishbone, popular with teenagers, lost 2 million of its users’ email addresses and 287,000 phone numbers. Then it posted no apology — just a “no big deal” email to its users. Most of the apologies I critique are too defensive or company-centric, but I’ve never before seen one that’s basically says, … Continued

The Paul Ryan PowerPoint presentation about healthcare is excellent

Republicans attempting to repeal Obamacare and replace it with the American Health Care Act are taking a pummeling. Everyone from the American Medical Association and the AARP to the Tea Party Patriots have come down against it. House Speaker Paul Ryan took to PowerPoint to explain and defend the law, and his presentation technique was quite … Continued

Amazon’s unwisely lets the nerds apologize for its AWS outage

Much of the Internet was down for three hours last week. Because of an outage at Amazon Web Services (AWS), Amazon’s cloud-based service that powers Internet companies, hundreds of services like Medium, Slack, Quora, Reddit, and Kickstarter stopped working or worked poorly. Amazon’s Web geeks then bungled the response, focusing on jargon rather than clarity and empathy. … Continued

Why American Express should shout about its bad news, not hide it

A frequent flyer friend recently received an email regarding the American Express Platinum credit card. It includes some unpleasant news, but unless you’re the type that reads every word of every email, you’d probably miss it. That’s a mistake, because burying the bad news creates a backlash, now that everyone spreads news on social media. Here’s the … Continued

The Uber lesson: behave like an asshole and people never forget

What’s Uber’s future? Consider these three principles: If you frequently and publicly behave like an asshole, people think that’s who you are. If you behave like an asshole with employees, contractors, regulators, competitors, and reporters, then you’ll be seen as an asshole, regardless of how nice you are to customers. It’s very hard to recover … Continued

Democratic response from Steve Beshear shows no audacity, no hope

Steve Beshear, a Democrat and former governor of Kentucky, presented the Democratic response to Trump’s speech to Congress. Where Trump delivered platitudes mixed with policy in front of Congress, Beshear gave us platitudes mixed with whining (in a diner). It probably didn’t help that Beshear doesn’t know who he is. Here’s his confused opener: I’m … Continued

The true meaning of the generalities in the Trump speech to Congress

Donald Trump’s first speech to a joint session of Congress was typical of such addresses. It was unusual for Trump in that it was clear, well-structured, and got most of the facts right — but like the average State of the Union, it was a mixed bag of gritty legislative proposals and pabulum. Let’s take a look at … Continued