The one quality that sets tradespeople above the rest

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In preparation for buying a house in Maine, selling one in Massachusetts, and moving, I’ve dealt with a bunch of people who offer home services. One thing matters more than any other. Communication. This is so obvious. And yet people still don’t get it. At the top of my list of standout communicators is Olympia … Continued

Stories are bacon

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Like bacon, stories will make everything you write more compelling. They are the most important element of your nonfiction book. (If eating bacon is offensive to you, this metaphor won’t work for you, so don’t read on.) Here is why stories are like bacon: A little goes a long way No one wants a meal … Continued

Why it’s hard to love these Red Sox

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In yesterday’s Boston Globe, Boston’s most visible sportswriter, Dan Shaughnessy, wrote a column about the Red Sox asking, “Are they a team you can embrace?” In case you’re not a Red Sox fanatic like many of us here in New England, here’s the backstory. The Red Sox seemed like a team unlikely to go far … Continued

Why Facebook is filled with hate, anger, and conflict

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The Wall Street Journal says Facebook’s algorithm change in 2018 rewarded outrage. It’s no surprise what happened next. But if you think about it, you’ll see that its evolution towards rage is completely predictable. The article, by Keach Hagey and Jeff Horwitz, is titled “Facebook Tried to Make Its Platform a Healthier Place. It Got … Continued

When it comes to moderation, Facebook’s fairness and PR goals are in conflict

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Facebook claims to have a consistent set of standards for what appears on its platform. But based on the reporting in a recent Wall Street Journal article, it fails. It attempts and fails to apply fair standards to ordinary people. It attempts and fails to treat prominent people who post offensive material more personally and … Continued

Stupid democracy

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Democracy is flawed, but self-correcting with an educated electorate. However, here in the United States, we have the stupidest possible form of democracy. A candidate wins the popular vote for president by 2.8 million votes, but loses the election, as happened in 2016? That’s just stupid. A Senate where senators elected by 43% of the … Continued

Annoying people at scale is profitable. It shouldn’t be.

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I was astounded to read a Twitter thread from a go-getter named John Plumstead, who harassed 58,408 people to get one or two deals. He can do this because there is no cost to harassing people. Let’s change that. Plumstead’s business is finding property owners in financial distress and buying their properties for less than … Continued

Purge the generic crap from your cover letter

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Job applications and resumes often allow you to write a cover letter. If you write the same generic promises as everyone else, you won’t get the job. The purpose of the cover letter is make your application stand out. The recruiters and managers will be reading dozens or hundreds of similar letters. So why write … Continued