Jack Dorsey’s Twitter layoff email shows the value of honesty

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Days after taking over as Twitter’s permanent CEO, Jack Dorsey has laid off 336 people. You could learn a lot from the straightforward, honest, and sensitive way he tells his company about it. The corporate layoff is a communications trap for leaders. It makes them insecure, so they they adopt HR bullshit and talk about “reduction in force”, … Continued

With email, you can prove you’re an idiot in 150 words or less

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Short email is a great idea. But even a short email can be vacuous. A short, dumb email is the quickest possible way to make a bad impression. Learn not to be boring. Here’s a recruiting email that Ken Camp received. It’s not only short, it’s spectacularly content-free. Here’s the whole thing, meaningless words in bold: Subject: Opportunity Good … Continued

Even the New York Times’ apology is in passive voice

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I wrote yesterday about the Times’ journalistic lapses and passive-voice innuendo in reporting about Hillary Clinton’s email account. Later on Monday, Margaret Sullivan, the New York Times‘ public editor, explained how the paper screwed up in an article called “A Clinton Story Fraught With Inaccuracies.” While her explanation clarifies what happened, it uses passive voice to allow … Continued

The Times’ passive-voice innuendos about Hillary Clinton

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If you opened your New York Times on Friday, you got the impression that the Justice department was opening a criminal investigation into Hillary Clinton. Actually, it isn’t. After the newspaper recognized its errors, it papered over the original article and headline with passive voice. You’d expect this sort of innuendo from outlets with a conservative … Continued

Satya Nadella’s mission for Microsoft is an icon of clarity

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Sixteen months ago, Satya Nadella took over as Microsoft CEO. Today he emailed Microsoft’s 100,000 employees about the company’s mission. His email is an icon of clarity, focus, and motivation. Thanks to GeekWire, you can read the whole email. Consult your local analyst for an opinion on whether Microsoft can execute on this vision. But regardless, you could learn … Continued

Trying to rally the troops? Jargon is not the answer.

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If you were a mad scientist working on a formula for overblown, passive, jargon-ridden prose, you’d combine three powerful bullshitogenic ingredients: government, health care, and information technology. Today we’ll hear from someone who did just that, and revealed how a long immersion in bad writing can overwhelm even the most diligent workers. If you’re stuck in a world like this, I’ll … Continued

The bizarre poetry of Infosys’ influencer email

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Infosys is the second-largest systems integrator in India, the epicenter of outsourcing. One of their analyst relations people recently sent a friend of mine an entertainingly baroque email. Systems integrators are huge companies that have trouble articulating their differentiation. They have various technical strengths and will build what you ask them to build. Differentiating is … Continued

Why is Twitter’s CEO leaving? Because “Everything is Awesome”

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Twitter’s got problems. Its active users grew only 18% year-over-year. Profits are a mirage in the distance. While Twitter’s users are reading tweets, they’re not clicking on them very much. And the CEO just announced he’s leaving. But if you read what they publish, you’d say “Everything is awesome!” Here are some excerpts from the … Continued