Companies with a purpose

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Do your customers know who your company is? Do you? After my critique of Inovalon’s impenetrable “Who We Are” page, I began to wonder about purpose statements. My hypothesis is that companies with powerful, clear, differentiated statements about who they are have more effective employee teamwork and strong brands. Note that I don’t say that the statement causes … Continued

Send me your awful emails, job descriptions, and web pages

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I need your help. Withoutbullshit.com needs fuel. I know you’re drowning in crappy stuff. I want to help. My post rewriting Inovalon’s “Who We Are” page was very popular. But I need more. Feed me! And I can keep things confidential. Send me: The email you got from your managers or HR department. The pitch … Continued

The cowardice of the “expected”

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The word “expected” is a clear sign of bullshit in any written material. Here’s why: Writing contains two kinds of easily distinguished statements: facts and opinions. The writer vouches for the facts. And over time, you can see if the opinions turned out to be true. But a statement with “expected” is an opinion stated … Continued

David Ortiz: Big Papi without the bullshit

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The Boston Globe did a whole section focused on Red Sox slugger David Ortiz today, including a Q&A interview. I was struck by just how direct Ortiz is, especially in contrast to the bullshit-laden interview with an NBA Players Association official that I wrote about last week. Athletes of this stature usually have two modes: … Continued

Inovalon’s impenetrable Web description and how to fix it

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It’s not that hard. People who visit your Web site want to know what you do. If you can’t describe your company simply in a few sentences, you’re screwed. Which is why I was astounded when a visitor to this blog suggested I look at the site for Inovalon. This is where clarity and brevity … Continued

Railing against Sturgeon’s Law

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The great science fiction writer Theodore Sturgeon was once asked why 90% of science fiction was crap. His justification was this: “Yes, 90% of science fiction is crap . . . but 90% of everything is crap.” Sturgeon guessed way low. Any idiot with a keyboard now can and will write and publish in some form, from … Continued

The 4 kinds of pushback that generate more powerful ideas

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Being hard on ideas makes them better. Great ideas are clear, brief, and not boring. Don’t stop until you get there. For my last 8 years at Forrester — at least since I started working on my first book — I’ve had a sort of smartass attitude towards the world. If you ask people what I was like … Continued

Your regular, daily bullshit: financial markets news

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Every single day, the Wall Street Journal and other financial news outlets publish a financial wrapup. And you can count on it including a healthy helping of bullshit every day, too. Here’s the problem: the numbers are facts, but news requires a “story” to wrap around the facts. Creating a story from the fluctuations of … Continued