To find the right words, you need 15 degrees of separation

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Here’s what I’ve learned: for great writing, you need minds that don’t think alike. They have to think similarly, but there must be a bit of space between them. People come to me to find the right words. I especially like working with leaders of small organizations. They know who they are (or think they do). They’re … Continued

The perils of television

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Television nearly killed me. Here’s how it happened. For several years in the 90s in Boston, I ran a group called the Multimedia Roundtable. It was a little developer group that eventually swelled to a lively 300 people. It met monthly at 6:00pm in a big room in Cambridge in the building of Course Technology, where … Continued

Has Roger Goodell made himself clear? It’s “more probable than not.”

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Say what you will about NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, but he finally figured out how to publish something clear on deflategate. Or putting it in the terms that the Wells Report used, it is “more probable than not” that you can actually figure out what Roger Goodell is saying. Look, Goodell is a mess. It took … Continued

Even the New York Times’ apology is in passive voice

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I wrote yesterday about the Times’ journalistic lapses and passive-voice innuendo in reporting about Hillary Clinton’s email account. Later on Monday, Margaret Sullivan, the New York Times‘ public editor, explained how the paper screwed up in an article called “A Clinton Story Fraught With Inaccuracies.” While her explanation clarifies what happened, it uses passive voice to allow … Continued

5 bullshit things about health care and the reasons behind them

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Do you find the health care system in America baffling? Me too. But industries work the way they do for a reason. With help from independent health care analyst Skip Snow, I did my best to reveal the perverse logic of American health care. It all comes down to one thing: when the people who use a service … Continued

The Times’ passive-voice innuendos about Hillary Clinton

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If you opened your New York Times on Friday, you got the impression that the Justice department was opening a criminal investigation into Hillary Clinton. Actually, it isn’t. After the newspaper recognized its errors, it papered over the original article and headline with passive voice. You’d expect this sort of innuendo from outlets with a conservative … Continued

Avaya should learn the buzzword lesson of its own parody video

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Avaya put out an amusing video (embedded below) that pokes fun at all the buzzwords we use around the office (“disruptor,” “hit the ground running,” “seamless”). It’s embarrassing, since we all use these buzzwords. Including, unfortunately, Avaya. Here’s an excerpt of what it says on Avaya’s “Company Overview” page (I’ve highlighted the buzzwords and meaningless claims … Continued

Improving the customer experience of the surgery waiting room

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My son, who is 19, had surgery two days ago at Emerson Hospital in Concord, Massachusetts. I was impressed with the ways in which Emerson improved the experience of waiting for a surgical patient. I also have a few suggestions. The surgery was successful and my son is recovering nicely. Everybody is fine. The surgical’s team’s number … Continued