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

My Bloomberg interview and media mindsets (podcast)

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I talked to Bloomberg Radio last week, thanks to a great guy, Woody Benson, who has a regular spot there. This was fun. I think radio is not necessarily ready for this level of honesty. This was fun, but the most interesting thing is the unspoken bias of where they’re coming from. At about 5:40 in … Continued

How to create “flow” in your writing process

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The brilliant psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi describes the experience of “flow” — of being productive, in the moment, and making rapid progress on work that matches well to your skills. Flow creates great writing, but it happens only if you prepare properly. If you’re writing something longer than 1000 words, it matters how you write it. You’re … 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

The batshit candor of Donald Trump

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Yesterday, Donald Trump announced he’s a candidate. He is a politician like no other. We ask for honesty from candidates. We rarely get it. We are getting it from Trump. Other politicians occasionally let something slip that reveals how they really think. There are no slips with Trump, just a relentless flood of unfiltered candor. Fivethirtyeight’s Harry … 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

Applying “Games People Play” to writers and editors

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In the 1964 bestseller “Games People Play,” Eric Berne showed how transactional analysis (TA) explains emotional conflict. In TA, people interact in one of three roles: parent, adult, or child; when roles get confused, people get upset. These same kinds of conflicts occur, for similar reasons, when writers and editors aren’t clear about the roles they’re playing. Here’s the briefest possible explanation … Continued