The dark side of Donald Trump’s presidential deal making

Adam Davidson’s New York Times Magazine article, “What Donald Trump Doesn’t Understand About ‘the Deal’,” provides fresh insight into Trump’s deal psychology. If you take the analysis a bit further, you get a window into the Trump presidency. In an ordinary deal (say, a consumer buying a washing machine or teams trading baseball players), there’s some transparency and … Continued

The remarkable candor of Taylor Huckaby, voice of @SFBART

Taylor Huckaby, who posts on the Twitter account of the San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART), just turned honesty into a full-fledged funding debate. I’ll show you what’s special and effective about his tweets. Here’s what Huckaby tweeted in response to a complaint. @shakatron BART was built to transport far fewer people, and much … Continued

The eShares offer letter: write like a human, not an HR robot

Bullshit gathers where lawyers and human resource people meet. But as Henry Ward, CEO of startup eShares, shows with the company’s offer letters, it doesn’t have to. Using the power of clarity, simplicity, and graphics — eShares is welcoming new hires — and it’s probably getting a lot more of them to say “Yes.” Ward published a sample … Continued

The 4 qualities of powerful ideas

What makes an idea powerful? That’s a question I’ve been pondering for the last five years. Powerful ideas have to be right, new, and big. But they have to be simple, too — or at least simple to express. The realm of pure ideas is Darwinian. Some spread, some die. If you have an idea, you need … Continued

The 4 kinds of bullshitters (and where Trump fits)

Donald Trump rates high in polls on “tells it like it is.” And yet he seems to just make stuff up on the fly. How is this possible? Based on my extensive study of bullshit, I think I’ve got a handle on why: he’s a type of bullshitter we haven’t seen much of in America. … Continued

A bias toward change

When you plan, do you imagine things will change, or stay pretty much the same? Both are biases; both are right; both are wrong. Technology analysts won’t ever come out and say it, but they have an inherent bias. They always see change coming over the horizon. Your business is shifting to the cloud. Television … Continued

The cure for jargon (video)

If you think too much jargon is creeping into your writing, try reading it aloud. If it sounds anything like this, you may have a problem.

11 key skills of a true analyst

If you want clear and useful thinking, you need a true analyst, not just somebody who calls themselves an analyst. True analysts pursue thinking as a discipline. Let’s look at the qualities and skills that define that discipline. If you watch TV or read the media, it seems like you’re always hearing from analysts — … Continued