The batshit candor of Donald Trump

Yesterday, Donald Trump announced he’s a candidate. He is a politician like no other. We ask for honesty from candidates. We rarely get it. We are getting it from Trump. Other politicians occasionally let something slip that reveals how they really think. There are no slips with Trump, just a relentless flood of unfiltered candor. Fivethirtyeight’s Harry … Continued

Why is Twitter’s CEO leaving? Because “Everything is Awesome”

Twitter’s got problems. Its active users grew only 18% year-over-year. Profits are a mirage in the distance. While Twitter’s users are reading tweets, they’re not clicking on them very much. And the CEO just announced he’s leaving. But if you read what they publish, you’d say “Everything is awesome!” Here are some excerpts from the … Continued

Applying “Games People Play” to writers and editors

In the 1964 bestseller “Games People Play,” Eric Berne showed how transactional analysis (TA) explains emotional conflict. In TA, people interact in one of three roles: parent, adult, or child; when roles get confused, people get upset. These same kinds of conflicts occur, for similar reasons, when writers and editors aren’t clear about the roles they’re playing. Here’s the briefest possible explanation … Continued

Christopher L. Gasper’s passive voice approach to fixing the Red Sox

“Something must be done.” It’s the passive-voice cry of the handwringing editorial or the concerned memo. And it’s vacuous and worthless, since it doesn’t say who must do what. I’ll illustrate with Christopher L. Gasper’s article in today’s Boston Globe: “It’s time for the Red Sox to call for a changeup.” The story so far: despite a high payroll, the Boston … Continued

The economics of cord-cutting at my house

When I cut the cable cord, I did it to get more of what I wanted (speed), not to save money. The economics are reasonable, but the benefits are a lot better. My earlier post that described how I cut the cable cord was far more popular than I expected. Several of you asked about the actual … Continued

McDonald’s announcement of marketing hires isn’t very meaty

Troubled McDonald’s announced a new chief marketing officer and PR head. While the press release is as bland as a Big Mac with no secret sauce, the media swallowed it whole anyway. Here’s the actual news: McDonald’s hired Robert Gibbs, former Obama press secretary, as EVP, Global Chief Communications Officer (that is, head of PR). It … Continued

Effective titles and summaries: You had me at ‘Hello.’

Every email, document, or post you write now competes with hundreds of other items for your reader’s attention. Two strategies will get them to read it: fascinate and summarize. In this post I explain how to balance these two concepts to create titles, subject lines, openers, and tweets that win over readers quickly. (A complete guide organized by … Continued