The Milo Yiannopoulos whine is the endpoint of a troll’s lifecycle

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Milo Yiannopolous is a provocateur. A British national stirring up American politics, a gay icon of the alt-right, he takes hateful positions on race and politics that have earned him wrath and protests wherever he appears. He advocated for sex with 13-year-olds. He cheered on Gamergate’s harassment of women. As a result, now, his life … Continued

Why does everyone admire John McCain? Because he was a leader who knew how to argue.

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I have been struck by the overwhelmingly positive and admiring comments about John McCain from people at all points on the political spectrum, including not just Republicans but the likes of Bernie Sanders, Bill and Hillary Clinton, and Barack Obama.There’s a lesson here in leadership for today’s politicians, on how to argue on principle. You … Continued

Facebook is secretly rating your trustworthiness. Excellent!

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According to the Washington Post, Facebook is rating your trustworthiness on a zero-to-one scale. Not only that, they won’t tell you how they rate people. Here’s why that’s a necessary first step in squashing the spread of fake news. First, let’s get this out of the way. Facebook is biased. All social media and search … Continued

Paul Manafort, Michael Cohen, and the risks of analytical optimism

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True analysts cannot afford optimism. To make an accurate prediction, you cannot let what you want to happen color what is likely to happen. But that’s exactly what I’ve seen in the wake of the conviction of Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and the guilty plea from his former lawyer Michael Cohen. Trump-haters are … Continued

How trolls divide America and what you can do about it

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It’s clear that Russians interfered in our elections. But their objective was not primarily to elect Donald Trump — it was to make us hate each other. And they’re succeeding. New information on Russian troll activity is now available, including a corpus of 3 million tweets from Russian trolls who were part of a foreign … Continued

I predicted Apple would die: “Wake up and smell the toast”

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It was 1996. Gil Amelio had just taken over Apple Computer. My job at Forrester was to predict the future. I was certain that Apple would crater and I said so in print. Steve Jobs had introduced the Lisa and then, the insanely great Macintosh, in 1984. It made a hell of an impact, and … Continued

How to write about a trend

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Trends are great topics for writing, because they’re always changing; people are eager for advice on what to do about them. But to write persuasively about a trend, you need to know what stage it’s in. So let’s go over strategies for writing about trends. I’ll start with the Gartner Hype Cycle, which is a … Continued

10 ways you can help when your client is smarter than you are

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If you are a consultant, you’re supposed to be providing a service your client can’t get on her own. The usual dynamic is “I know about my area of expertise; I can help you with that.” But what happens when your client is more of an expert than you are? Your ability to contribute to an … Continued