Salesforce puts customers on the execution block with jargon assault

Salesforce is a great program for small business. Each of its customer sites has an administrator, many of whom are non-coders. That’s why a recent “critical update” featuring “block execution” sounded scary — but incomprehensible — to many. The salesforce email: simultaneously opaque and terrifying A correspondent working in a small financial advice firm forwarded … Continued

With Hurricane Harvey approaching, the Weather Channel wastes copy on weather porn

Hurricane Harvey looks like a devastating storm. But with the media deploying superlatives so frequently, is there any capacity for alarm left for this actual emergency? I analyze the lead hurricane article from The Weather Channel for precision, clarity, and effectiveness. The lesson here: context is crucial when describing a potential disaster. Start with this: … Continued

As the Marketo screw-up shows, you can’t apologize in the passive voice

Marketing automation company Marketo had an oopsy last week — they forgot to renew their main domain name. This caused a day’s disruption for their customers. The CEO’s passive apology fails to be direct and honest. Why is this so hard? Let’s take a look at the CEO’s email to customers. In what follows, I’ve … Continued

Air France aims its new airline, Joon, at credulous millennials

Air France announced a new subsidiary targeting millennials, Joon. It apparently believes that millennials will select an airline based on branding and style, unlike everyone else who buys on price, convenience, and a reduced chance of being assaulted. The resulting announcement is as airy as a fresh-baked Parisian croissant. The Joon announcement is breathless My … Continued

Finsbury Park terrorist becomes invisible in passive news headlines

A 48-year old man drove a van into a crowd of people in the Muslim neighborhood of Finsbury Park in London, but he’s mostly missing from the news headlines about the attack. Why? Is it journalists’ passive writing habit, bias in a case where Muslims were victims rather than attackers, or just a need for … Continued