How we really should teach writing

Here’s a radical idea. Let’s teach high school and college students to write stuff that they’ll actually need to write in life or in an office: emails, blog posts, social media posts, marketing copy, research reports, and presentations. Take time from analyzing Plato, Great Expectations and Catcher in the Rye and spend it instead analyzing great non-fiction writers like Mary Roach, Malcolm Gladwell, Michael … Continued

All customer service failures have one cause: broken promises

All brands and businesses make promises. They promise low prices, fast service, or no hassles. Sometimes they fail to deliver on those promises. Customer service failure is about broken promises. When people get upset, it’s not because products or services are objectively bad. They get upset because of broken promises. Parents who buy their kids a $3.99 … Continued

The ongoing benefits from a viral blog post

Responding to several requests, here’s a follow-up: one viral post on writing tips has made my blog more popular, improved my search rankings, and given me the confidence to take the next step in my journey. Here’s what I learned. Viral blog posts taper slowly. Here’s a chart of the traffic on my blog for the last … Continued

The only way to become a better writer

For all my talk about writing, I’ve found that there’s only one way to get better. Practice. Write. Get feedback. Rewrite. Then write something else. Repeat as frequently as possible.

Mary Meeker’s Internet Trends Report spawns predictable cliches

Mary Meeker’s latest 197-slide Internet Trends report is not bullshit. While some of the stats on the slides are questionable, overall it’s a pretty interesting, international grab-bag of facts. My issue is with what comes next — media and analyst cliché predictions based on those facts. In the tech world, predictions are predictable. There’s a cliché for each stage of technology … Continued

I give you the courage to say what you mean

After two months on my own, I’ve finally figured out what I’m doing. My purpose is to give you the courage to say what you mean. I wasn’t sure what kinds of people my ideas would resonate with. I haven’t pushed consulting, because I wasn’t sure who needed a writing counselor obsessed with rooting out bullshit. Here’s who asked about my services. … Continued

11 key planning tips for writers and the psychology behind them

Crappy writing springs from crappy planning. Like an architect, plan before you build. On a project that takes weeks or months to write, spend at least one day on planning. Follow these planning tips to maximize your chance to create something great. In this post, I show you how to lay the groundwork for a writing project like … Continued

Truth and lies about Charter/Time Warner Cable Merger

You’re going to read a lot about this cable merger. Most of it will be bullshit. Here is the truth (based on more than a decade of closely watching the cable and TV industries): These cable operators will tell regulators that the efficiencies in this merger will enable them to improve customer service. But customer service … Continued