Comparing today’s United Airlines statements (mostly right) to what they said before (really wrong)

Two-and-a-half weeks after dragging a passenger off a flight like a rag doll, United Airlines has released a statement about changes to its procedures and emailed all its frequent flyers. Everything they did wrong in the original statements, they’ve now done right. And the two sets of statements give me a unique opportunity to contrast effective … Continued

Hey Marvel Comics, you can’t take a stand in the passive voice

When Marvel Comics artist Ardian Syaf secretly inserted Indonesian political images into his X-Men comics, Marvel fired him. Its passive statement about the incident isn’t fooling anyone. Ardian Syaf inserted secret messages into comic art In the Muslim-dominated nation of Indonesia, some Islamist groups are now in conflict with the Christian and ethnically Chinese governor of Jakarta, Basuki … Continued

Symantec deserves a certificate for shouting about Google

Google’s Chrome browser is going to stop accepting security certificates from Symantec. This is a big deal: for a browser to recognize a site as secure, it has to accept that site’s certificate, and more than 30% of all sites use Symantec certificates. Google announced this is a direct but technical way, then Symantec responded with exaggerated whining … Continued

Amazon’s unwisely lets the nerds apologize for its AWS outage

Much of the Internet was down for three hours last week. Because of an outage at Amazon Web Services (AWS), Amazon’s cloud-based service that powers Internet companies, hundreds of services like Medium, Slack, Quora, Reddit, and Kickstarter stopped working or worked poorly. Amazon’s Web geeks then bungled the response, focusing on jargon rather than clarity and empathy. … Continued

The true meaning of the generalities in the Trump speech to Congress

Donald Trump’s first speech to a joint session of Congress was typical of such addresses. It was unusual for Trump in that it was clear, well-structured, and got most of the facts right — but like the average State of the Union, it was a mixed bag of gritty legislative proposals and pabulum. Let’s take a look at … Continued

A passive-aggressive shareholder letter from GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt

Jeffrey Immelt, CEO of GE, just published his company’s annual report and shareholder letter. It starts off with a veiled protest about the state of the world and the challenges it has created for GE’s leadership. The lede demonstrates clearly how people who want to accuse without naming names (Trump! Trump!) use passive constructions to generate doubt. … Continued

And the Oscar for best apology goes to . . . PriceWaterhouseCoopers

Perhaps you noticed that there was a screwup at the Oscars last night. Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty announced that “La La Land” had won the Academy Award for Best Picture . . . and then had to backtrack, because there was a mistake. “Moonlight” was the actual winner. After the mistake, many people behaved graciously. … Continued