How to see the future

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I’ve learned to anticipate what’s going to happen. You can, too, if you combine experience with seeing. I’ll be bombing down a busy city street on my bike, as I have for the last 40 years. I can read the car that’s angled 15 degrees to the left, the truck idling anxiously at the red light, … Continued

The whole truth about The New York Times – Amazon feud

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Two months after The New York Times‘ devastating takedown of Amazon’s culture, Amazon fired back. Where’s the whole truth here? There is none. Because by definition, stories always leave out more than they include. As briefly as possible, here’s what happened. On August 15, the Times wrote about Amazon’s “bruising workplace.” Jeff Bezos emailed his employees a non-denial … Continued

On Thursday, a webinar where anything could happen

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You know, the Webinar I’m doing tomorrow is live. Anything could happen. I might say just about anything. No one can stop me. Sign up now and tune in tomorrow, Thursday, at 1PM. Here’s what I can guarantee will happen. I will tear apart some really bad writing, teaching technique and making you smile at … Continued

The Boston Globe’s oversimplified analysis of candidate speech

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In a front-page article, the Boston Globe sneers at Donald Trump for speaking at a fourth-grade level. They imply that simplicity is equivalent to stupidity. In fact, a bias toward complexity — the same bias inherent in this article — is what has given us a world pervaded by bullshit. The Globe ran the candidates’ speeches … Continued

Explaining digital disruption to three-year-olds

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As an analyst, I told stories about complex technology, but I learned to tell them simply. When you’re trying to get your point across, that’s essential. One night in 1999 I was giving my three-year-old a bath. My kid was bright, good with language, and, like Dad, a bit of a smartass. And like many three-year-olds … Continued

Donald Trump, memes, and the dangers of post-factual politics

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In 1998, Donald Trump told People Magazine “If I were to run, I’d run as a Republican. They’re the dumbest group of voters in the country.” That’s the meme, accompanied by the graphic at right. Rosemary Olsen posted it on Facebook and said “I fact checked this. It’s true.” 14,901 people shared it. And it’s completely false. … Continued

Ridiculous email disclaimers

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Don’t waste words. That includes meaningless disclaimers at the bottom of your emails. This week I dismantled a recruiting email with an astoundingly low meaning ratio of 6%. At the bottom of that email was the following disclaimer: Please consider the environment before printing this e-mail. This message (including any attachments) is confidential and may be privileged. … Continued

Those polls you’re reading? They’re bullshit.

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I’m sick of people treating presidential poll numbers as if they are facts. They’ve got no connection to the upcoming election. Drawing precise conclusions from a sample of 450 likely voters a year before the election is bullshit. Look, I’m no newcomer to consumer surveys. I spent 18 years launching and working with Forrester’s broad … Continued