A passive-aggressive shareholder letter from GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt

Jeffrey Immelt, CEO of GE, just published his company’s annual report and shareholder letter. It starts off with a veiled protest about the state of the world and the challenges it has created for GE’s leadership. The lede demonstrates clearly how people who want to accuse without naming names (Trump! Trump!) use passive constructions to generate doubt. … Continued

And the Oscar for best apology goes to . . . PriceWaterhouseCoopers

Perhaps you noticed that there was a screwup at the Oscars last night. Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty announced that “La La Land” had won the Academy Award for Best Picture . . . and then had to backtrack, because there was a mistake. “Moonlight” was the actual winner. After the mistake, many people behaved graciously. … Continued

The Waymo-Uber lawsuit: how to call someone a thief

Waymo, the autonomous-car division of Google’s parent Alphabet, is suing Uber and its autonomous car division Otto. Waymo claims Otto stole its intellectual property. To win a battle like that, you need credible facts and an unemotional approach. Waymo does it pretty well. As I described earlier this week in another case against Uber (it’s been a … Continued

American Airlines makes class warfare easier with 9 clear boarding groups

American Airlines announced new names for the groups in its boarding process. This made it much clearer how, if you’re an ordinary non-preferred customer, you’re one step above steerage. The clarity is great: it further weaponizes envy even as it deflect attention from the privileges American is slowly squeezing out of flying. Here’s the email that I (and … Continued

Everything you need to know to write and publish a book

Disruption in the publishing industry is confusing for authors. Getting published in the traditional way is harder now, but there are a lot more ways to get a book done — and a lot more people who can help you. I’ve collected all my book wisdom into this post, with links to more detail. Potential authors … Continued

Why the Susan J. Fowler sexual harassment story at Uber rings true

Susan J. Fowler published a compelling blog post detailing continual sexual harassment — and HR malpractice — at her former employer, Uber. Uber CEO Travis Kalanick has promised an “urgent investigation.” I analyze why her account is so believable and powerful. Women claiming sexual harassment face nearly insurmountable challenges. Managers are more likely to be men. Management … Continued

Beware the thumb on the scale of government data

To make decisions, our politicians need data that only the government can collect. Political tampering with that data marks the beginning of the end for fact-based policy — and for a nation claiming to serve the needs of the people. Imaginary facts are bad enough. Cooked statistics are much worse. For me, the most disturbing headline in … Continued

Mark Zuckerberg on Facebook’s future: the spirit is willing, but the algorithm is weak

Mark Zuckerberg published a 5800-word letter on the future of Facebook. It’s thoughtful, well-reasoned, articulate, and full of truth. It’s also full of wistful promises, which I don’t trust no matter who offers them. Mark Zuckerberg’s letter, Building Global Community, starts like this: On our journey to connect the world, we often discuss products we’re building … Continued