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

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

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell: many words, hardly any meaning

Roger Goodell gave his “State of the NFL” press conference yesterday in the run-up to Super Bowl LI. Reporters asked difficult questions, and he gave mealy answers. If you’re looking for a tutorial on how to not answer questions, this is your chance to learn a lot. I’ll translate for you. (Based on the NFL’s transcript, … 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

The Edelman Trust Barometer shows how we’ve driven into a ditch

We are living in a portentous moment, characterized by distrust in our leaders and institutions. But what’s the context — is it measurably worse now, and what does it mean? The global communications firm Edelman has released its 2017 edition of the Edelman Trust Barometer, a global survey on exactly these topics. Edelman clearly and evocatively … Continued

The value of predictions (hint: it’s not accuracy)

Thinkers Stowe Boyd and John Battelle published predictions for 2017. They’re going to be wrong about most of them. Their predictions make you think hard, though, and that’s the value of what they’ve created. If you want to make predictions and be right, that’s easy. For example, I predict that Donald Trump will become president this year, and … Continued

Science fiction and analytical thinking

I was a science fiction fan growing up in the 60s and 70s. I was a technology analyst, predicting the future, in the 90s and 00s. Here’s what science fiction and strategic analysis have in common — and what they don’t. How science fiction challenges the mind (and “sci-fi” doesn’t) Science fiction is not the same … Continued