Write the marketing pitch first, before you build the product

Trying to figure out what you’re building? Figure out first how you’re going to sell it. Write that. Then you’ll know what to build. When Charlene Li and I sat down to plan our book, we needed to start somewhere. She had a lot of great ideas about social media, but we didn’t know which of those … Continued

Jon Stewart: The best defense against bullshit is vigilance

Jon Stewart inspires me. In my moments of absolute fantasy I imagine I am in some small way contributing to the work he began. So it gives me great pleasure that he devoted the final moments of his final show to the theme “Bullshit is everywhere.” He cites, for example: The bullshit of infinite possibility: … Continued

Post-debate, my radical prediction about Donald Trump

Like many of you, I’ve been trying to answer the question “What in hell is Donald Trump actually doing?” I know now. I can also make a prediction about how he will change the 2016 election, and it’s not just “hand it to Hillary.” As he has all along, Donald Trump said things last night that … Continued

Great writing about food: Combat-Ready Kitchen

Now I know who’s responsible for all the packaged, processed food in the supermarket. It’s the Army. I’ve just read Anastacia Marx de Salcedo’s Combat-Ready Kitchen: How the U.S. Military Shapes the Way You Eat, a new book published this week. I’ve known Anastacia a long time, but I had no idea she could write … Continued

Facebook video fight: strong accusations vs. weasel words

YouTube video producer Hank Green says Facebook cheats, lies, and steals. Facebook product manager Matt Pakes responds that everything is fine. He’s not willing to admit that Facebook is the Borg. The question here is simple: If you have a popular video, are you better off uploading and embedding it in Facebook or just linking to it YouTube? … Continued

How to lie and deceive at work

Don’t lie. Don’t deceive. Be honest. But if you must lie or deceive, do it the right way, for the right reasons. Let’s be frank. You cannot occupy a position of any responsibility in a business and be perfectly honest and transparent. Don’t believe me? Here are some examples: A client requests that your work with … Continued

Making Twitter relevant

Twitter is boring. It’s a random stream of content, mostly promotional. It’s great for celebrities broadcasting to their fans, but for the rest of us, it needs help. And with the CEO gone and the company disappointing investors, it’s time for a change. I’m not talking about financial engineering, CEO candidates, or “sell it to Google.” … Continued

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

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