At Apple, the customer comes third.

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The most important thing to Apple is the product. After that comes employee efficiency. Customers? They’re in third place. Here’s how I learned that: Yesterday I finally brought my iPhone with its failing battery into the Apple Store in Burlington, Massachusetts. When I showed up, the bright and happy Apple guy in the front of … Continued

Why I love the first workday after a vacation

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I’ve been on vacation for two weeks. I’m writing this at 6 a.m. on my first day back. I’m eager to get started. The page proofs for a book I’m working on have come back. I’m eager to review them, so we can turn this manuscript into an actual book. This is where my knowledge … Continued

Bad reviewer and editor habits (is this you?)

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“Please review the attached draft,” reads the email. Now it’s your job to make things better by applying your expertise. You can be helpful . . . or you can be hated. See if you recognize yourself in the list below; if you do, resolve to stop behaving like an ass and help your writers … Continued

What do your customers need to know?

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I’m visiting Belgium. In Bruges, we stopped into Jilles Beer and Burgers — look, not every meal can be a gourmet experience — and found this on the last few pages of their little menu booklet. I’m sure the servers, sick of answering “Are there nuts in the Cheesy Nelson?” and a 300 other permutations, … Continued

Insights from ABC’s pitch-perfect slap-down of Roseanne Barr — plus commentary by Melissa Agnes

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On Twitter, Roseanne Barr described Obama’s aide Valerie Jarrett as the offspring of the Muslim Brotherhood and Planet of the Apes. After this profoundly offensive and racist statement, ABC cancelled the very popular reboot of Barr’s sitcom “Roseanne.” ABC’s statement was the epitome of brevity, clarity, and punch: Statement by Channing Dungey, president, ABC Entertainment Roseanne’s … Continued

Can you have fun with a GDPR announcement? JibJab did

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Your mailbox is full of GDPR announcements. They’re obligatory, and you’re almost certainly ignoring them. Writing in this context is a challenge — but humor and video site jibjab.com decided to have a little fun with it. On the policy side, though, it’s still legalese all the way down. Here’s the email my friend got … Continued

Adobe acquires Magento to become “shoppable” — and maximally buzzword-compliant

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Adobe announced yesterday that it would acquire commerce platform Magento for $1.68 billion. It’s clear that an army of lawyers and PR people spent days crafting the 1001-word announcement, with is laden with highly refined, state-of-the-art tech-vendor bullshit. So let’s take the announcement apart. I’ll highlight jargon in bold and meaningless weasel words in italic, and … Continued

How take a compliment — and how to give one

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The New York Times published an absurd article called “How to Accept A Compliment,” by Carolyn Bucior. Like all of us, I have struggled with this question. Here I offer a practical suggestion on what to do about it (which is more than the Times did). The Times article quotes the Center for Advance Research … Continued