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

My Mike Wallace moment on “60 Minutes”

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In mid-2000 I get a phone call at my desk at Forrester. “This is Jay Kernis from ’60 Minutes,’” the caller says, and that’s the beginning of an experience that will teach me a lot more about how television actually works. I’m a pretty prominent TV analyst at this point. I’ve predicted the future of WebTV … Continued

Orwellian Peeple

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An app called Peeple plans to allow everyone to rate each other. The founders’ language reveals the terrifying, Orwellian logic at the center of this bankrupt idea. Peeple’s idea of rating people is breathtakingly naive. Rating people as drivers or passengers, sure. Rating restaurants and building contractors, that makes sense. But all people are a mix of … Continued

Is it a trend or is it bullshit?

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Trends are hot. Jump on one soon and you may gain an advantage. But some of the “trends” you read about or hear about at industry conferences are hogwash. I’ll explain how to tell the difference and what to do about it. Millennials aren’t having children! Police are predicting crimes before they happen! There’s a reason you … Continued