Orwellian Peeple

Continued">

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?

Continued">

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

Top posts and reflections on 6 months of daily blogging

Continued">

I blogged every weekday for 6 months (150 posts). I got lots of advice and didn’t listen to it. I did popular posts on writing, politics, social media, and corporate doubletalk. And damned if I didn’t create an identity for myself. My friends told me that I shouldn’t use bad words. They said daily blogging was … Continued

The Facebook privacy hoax illuminates the viral bullshit machine

Continued">

A message purporting to preserve your privacy rights on Facebook is making the rounds. It’s a hoax. But it’s a great example of how the current state of the Internet is perfectly suited to spread bullshit. As briefly as possible: the idea behind the hoax is that Facebook is going to charge you for privacy … Continued

Post-John Boehner, New York Times unleashes metaphorical tsunami

Continued">

How many metaphors can The New York Times pack into one article about the resignation of House Speaker John Boehner? Enough metaphors to choke a . . . c’mon, help me here. To choke a something-or-other. Can you spare a metaphor? Metaphors are a great way to frame a story; knowledgeable people will often supply one in a … Continued

How to judge people

Continued">

Am I a failure? Let’s look at the evidence. I went to a state university and left after three years. I dropped out of graduate school. My first marriage lasted less than five years and ended in divorce. I was left with nothing. My first job was writing software manuals. I’ve never joined a company … Continued

Volkswagen’s diesel fraud euphemism: It’s an “irregularity.”

Continued">

Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn is gone. But on his way out the door, he described the company’s massive, deliberate fraud on his customers and the environment as an “irregularity.” That’s bullshit. Here’s what happened: Volkswagen jiggered the software in 11 million of its diesel cars to conceal how much they polluted. “Clean Diesel” is a pillar of Volkswagen’s marketing. … Continued

Turing CEO Martin Shkreli reveals how passive voice is the last refuge of a scoundrel

Continued">

Martin Shkreli, the CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals, announced a huge increase in the cost of his drug for a life-threatening disease. Then he backtracked. By analyzing his passive statements, you see exactly how a scoundrel evades responsibility. After acquiring the drug Daraprim, used to treat the sometimes deadly parasitic infection toxoplasmosis, Turing Pharmaceuticals hiked the price from $13.50 to … Continued