Are Dell and EMC dead? An unclouded perspective.

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Cade Metz of Wired wants us to know that even with a $67 billion merger, Dell and EMC are doomed. The cloud will kill them. The reasoning is sophisticated, but the language is simple. You could learn a lot about powerful writing from this article. Let’s break it down. Titles and opening sentences are crucial when … 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

The Facebook Reactions that Zuck forgot

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Mark Zuckerberg yesterday announced “Reactions,” a set of six emoji that will join “Like” as ways to indicate what you thought of a post. For instance, you can now tap “Yay” or “Wow.” Zuck’s not thinking big enough. When I read a post, the set of emotions I feel isn’t covered by this meager list of … Continued

Arrogance, confidence, and the four kinds of experts

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When it comes to experts, there’s a fine line between confidence and arrogance. I’ve spent plenty of time on both sides of that line. I’ll share my insights about the types of experts and how to get the most out of them. All experts have confidence, but confidence itself is complex. Some people have confidence in … Continued

Please join my first-ever webinar on Writing Without Bullshit

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I’m finally coming out of my shell. In partnership with WriterAccess, a company that matches writers and those who need them, I’ll be doing a free Webinar on Thursday October 22 at 1PM eastern time. I’m excited to put my ideas out there where you can use them. Snarky humor will definitely be included. Here’s the … Continued

Twitter’s Moments reduce social media to a dusty museum display

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Twitter debuted its new feature “Moments” yesterday. Is this the feature the company needs to recharge growth and get people interacting? No, it isn’t. Moments are curated collections of Tweets around news events, like the Yankees losing to the Astros or the  grandmother who won $310 million on Powerball. A lightning bolt icon at the bottom center … Continued

The strandbeest as a metaphor for our role in machine evolution

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Theo Jansen’s “strandbeest” creatures captured my imagination. If you like these eldritch and fascinating machines you can copy his plans and make one yourself. Which makes me wonder: are we creating them, or serving them? Theo Jansen is an inventive Dutch artist who builds creatures called strandbeests (calling them “kinetic sculptures” doesn’t do them justice) out … Continued

When the “meaning ratio” drops to zero, you’ve got a problem

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Every word you write should be meaningful. We can measure this as the “meaning ratio,” which should approach 100%. Conversely, when the meaning ratio nears zero, you’ve got froth, not content, which is an accurate characterization of the job description I analyze today. The brilliant Edward Tufte analyzes graphics with the “data-ink ratio”: the proportion of ink in … Continued