The clarity and candor of Bill and Melinda Gates

Bill and Melinda Gates answered ten tough questions about their charitable foundation in their tenth annual letter. Their writing is in the first person, clear, and direct, and they do a great job of admitting their mistakes. All corporate communications should be as candid and straightforward as this. Let’s look at some excerpts. The questions … Continued

I am your editor and I reject your apology

When writers send me pieces to edit, they all seem to come with an apology. Your apology is meaningless to me. “I’m sorry this is so long.” “I’m sorry this isn’t better organized.” “I’m sorry this seems to wander around a bit.” I have one client who doesn’t apologize, but submits every piece with a … Continued

P&G’s lame response to the “Tide Pod Challenge”

Idiotic teenagers are eating Tide Laundry Pods; poison control centers have reported 39 cases already in January. Procter & Gamble, the company that makes the detergent pods, had responded. I salute its social media response, but the CEO’s statement is tepid. Let’s address one thing right off: failing to talk about this problem isn’t a … Continued

Can Mark Zuckerberg fix Facebook?

Yesterday Mark Zuckerberg said his personal challenge for 2018 was to fix Facebook. This is a good sign, but we need to hold him accountable. Zuckerberg’s brief statement (432 words, posted on Facebook of course) is direct and personal compared to most CEO communications. Let’s take a look at what he’s saying, how he’s saying … Continued

What Apple should have said about slowing down iPhones when the batteries wear out

After news reports revealed that Apple was slowing down older iPhones with worn-out batteries, the company posted a public message to explain itself. It also offered to replace your battery for $29. This statement is clearer and more transparent than most corporate statements after missteps, but not up to Apple’s usual standards. Apple attempts to … Continued

Patreon founder delivers a sincere and effective apology, rolls back its fee changes

Patreon, a crowdfunding site for artists and creators, screwed up with an ill-conceived attempt to change how it charges fees. Now its co-founder Jack Conte has admitted the company’s mistake and asked for a do-over. His apology is sincere, human, and effective. Learn from it. According to Patreon’s blog, its original fee structure had resulted … Continued