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

“I’m transgender”: Lilly Wachowski makes a statement


There are announcements. There are statements. And then there are statements like Lilly Wachowski’s. The two filmmakers who created “The Matrix” were know at the time as Larry and Andy Wachowski. Both have now transitioned from male to female. Lana announced her transition in 2008 and Lilly, yesterday. Hollywood figures have publicists and announce things in a … Continued

An unboxing video even haters will love

Today’s post is my first unboxing video. The new book by Jay Baer, author of Youtility, is Hug Your Haters: How to Embrace Complaints and Keep Your Customers.  If you’re smart, you’ll give it a look, because customer service is the new marketing.

How extra words undermine trust: a case study


Fear makes people hide their meaning with extra words. It backfires. We know you’re afraid. Adding words make people less likely to trust you. A friend forwarded me an excellent example: a 414-word missive about financial improprieties in the school district of Northborough/Southborough, Massachusetts. I know how this letter must have developed: a panicked set of people at the … Continued