What’s the headline on your obituary?

Just after Fidel Castro died, The New York Times revealed that 16 different journalists had been working on his obituary . . . since 1959. (They keep these things on file, just in case a famous person dies.) It made me wonder about my own obituary and how it would have changed over the years. If … Continued

Writing Without Bullshit: How I got here

My book publishes tomorrow. This is the first book I’ve written without coauthors and a company behind me. How did I get here? Why a book on  this topic? I received 10,000 press releases in my 20 years at Forrester. I estimate that 2% of those had any relevance at all. In the ones that … Continued

Killing widows and orphans, and other lost skills

I’ve got a long history in the print business. I’ve got detailed knowledge of an obsolescing technology. I can’t help but wonder what that means. Ink is in my blood. My grandfather was a linotype operator for the long-gone Philadelphia Bulletin (an afternoon paper); he worked with hot lead and his hands were so tough he could pick … Continued

The 6 benefits of thinking like a mathematician

When I was young, I was certain I would be a mathematician. I still think like one. You should, too — and you don’t have to learn math to do it. A little background: I was an outstanding math student in high school and college, won an NSF Fellowship, and entered the math Ph.D. program at … Continued

The perspective of coming home

When you go back, you notice things. Habits you never thought about, you think about. You go back to that place you used to work, meet an old colleague, talk about work. Your brain snaps right into the old habits. The reflex of hitting those quarterly goals and buying into the company strategy. The fear-response … Continued

Talent, skills, and coaching

I am now a writer and a writing coach. I wanted to reflect on the relationship between those two activities. Is writing unconscious? Does deconstructing it for coaching purposes make you self-conscious? Or does coaching help, not just the person coached, but the person doing the coaching? When people are good at something — standup comedy, tennis, … Continued

My visit to Playboy: just like any other content

So, I get this call (this was a few years ago, when I was Forrester’s TV analyst). The Forrester salesperson wants me to do a strategy session at Playboy Entertainment Group, the parent company of the Playboy Channel, the Spice Channel, and all of Playboy’s video assets. I take it, because I’m the TV expert. … Continued