Winners of the 2016 Bullshitty Awards

2016 was a shitty year for most of us . . . but a great year for bullshit. Thanks to your votes, I can now announce the winners of the 2016 Bullshitty Awards. Here’s the live video. Winners listed below. Most disingenuous apology Nominees Cheryl Boone Isaacs, President, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences … Continued

Chipotle’s weasel words are sickening

Chipotle Mexican Grill’s CEO Steve Ells is “deeply sorry” after 141 of his customers in Boston College contracted Norovirus. This comes in the wake of virus outbreaks in nine other states over the past year. The restaurant chain has deployed a team of copywriters to solve the problem. Their efforts on the company’s website gave me a stomachache. … Continued

The whole truth about The New York Times – Amazon feud

Two months after The New York Times‘ devastating takedown of Amazon’s culture, Amazon fired back. Where’s the whole truth here? There is none. Because by definition, stories always leave out more than they include. As briefly as possible, here’s what happened. On August 15, the Times wrote about Amazon’s “bruising workplace.” Jeff Bezos emailed his employees a non-denial … Continued

When the “meaning ratio” drops to zero, you’ve got a problem

Every word you write should be meaningful. We can measure this as the “meaning ratio,” which should approach 100%. Conversely, when the meaning ratio nears zero, you’ve got froth, not content, which is an accurate characterization of the job description I analyze today. The brilliant Edward Tufte analyzes graphics with the “data-ink ratio”: the proportion of ink in … Continued

The parable of the troublesome product manager

Once there was a product manager named Joan who worked at an Italian foods company called Patitucci’s Delights. Joan loved Italian food, and she loved helping her company sell it and make a profit. She was in charge of prepared dinner products, working alongside two other product managers for pasta and sauces. Joan had a … Continued

Why there is so much bullshit: an analysis

All day long we read on our various screens. This has vastly increased the demand for content, which comes to us through many channels. But those who create it have forgotten what good writing is. Think back to the world of 1980. The average consumer or businessperson at that time had no email, and there was no Internet. What … Continued

You’re the victim of bullshit. Tell me your story.

You just got an email. It might be from HR, or your boss, or the head of some other department. And you’re scratching your head and saying “Is this real? Does someone actually think this makes sense?” Don’t just cringe. Don’t just lean over and whine to the guy in the next cube. Don’t write … Continued