Should you trademark a hashtag?

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Hashtags are great, but you don’t control them — anyone can post on them. So why not apply trademark protection? Because control and enthusiasm are inverses — the more you seek one, the less of the other you get. At one of its recent events, the Massachusetts Biotech Council was tweeting with its trademarked hashtag … Continued

Don’t let version confusion destroy your writing process

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The most fundamental principle in writing is actually . . . version control? It’s an unwritten rule. Like changing your underwear every day. And if you violate it, you are a barbarian. This is the least sexy writing advice ever. But if you and your collaborators don’t share a common understanding of version control, you’re … Continued

Despair, Inc. issues a funny apology

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Despair, Inc. makes posters and tchotchkes that satirize motivational sayings (you know, like “Tradition: Just Because You’ve Always Done It That Way Doesn’t Mean It’s Not Incredibly Stupid.”). And like any other business, they screw up. Unlike other businesses, their apology is self-deprecating and funny. Here’s the email a friend of mine got from Despair … Continued

Facebook, false advertising, and the cost of doing business

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Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook won’t block political ads with lies in them. Facebook has changed its policy on — lets call it what is — false advertising. Zuckerberg characterizes this as a “free speech” issue. This is misdirection, a smokescreen. It’s utter bullshit. I refer you to what I wrote earlier this year, after another trust … Continued

To Meetup: if you’re going to change your prices, be clear about it

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Meetup started charging members of some of its groups $2 to RSVP to events — along with reducing charges for meeting organizers. This made people furious. The messaging was a mess, and they’re trying to clean it up now. As Dani Heahl wrote in The Verge yesterday: Meetup, an online platform that lets you find … Continued

In praise of hard, tedious work

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You know the kind of work I mean. It demands skills you don’t have. It’s slow. It’s disagreeable. And you spend half your time taking breaks, complaining, and avoiding it, because it’s just soul-sucking labor. That work is more valuable than you realize. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi writes about flow, the state you attain as you work … Continued

When I was the whistleblower

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What does it feel like to file a complaint that something’s just not right and watch the process unfold? What’s happening right now in DC is unprecedented, and the stakes and risks for the person who filed the whistleblower complaint are very high. The person who reported on Trump’s activities in the call with Ukraine … Continued