Showing posts from April, 2018

Honest Feedback Is Not “Being Hurtful."

A few months ago I went back to teaching marketing, and the first thing I did with the class was an exercise.

The students broke out into groups of two, interviewed each other about their personal brands, then returned to sit in front of the room in pairs. One group at a time, each pair had to sit in front of the class, with Participant A describing the personal brand of Participant B and vice versa. (Each person also had to say whether they had been characterized accurately.)

Sitting around the pairs in the audience, the rest of us watched and commented.

Yes, this was a brutal, brutal exercise.

“NO!” I called out, after someone described his partner in a way that came across as vague and inaccurate.

“NO!” I called out, after someone said that her partner was “cheerful,” and her partner readily agreed.

On and on it went. (In a previous post, I’ve talked about how ruinous “personal branding” is to the human psyche; this exercise was a good example of why, although it did help get across the…

UX without biz dev CX sucks eggs.

Here are some common mistakes business development professionals make.
Not taking the time to understand the user's business.Impersonal, random, canned approach lines.Too many "follow up" emails without value to the reader. But the worst mistake of all is one I rarely see talked about: failing to talk UX in the user's language.

If technology marketers do a shitty job talking in the user's language, it's not because they're stupid. Arguably these are some of the smarter people in the room, generally speaking.

So what is the problem? I would argue that the issue has to do with a dysfunctional organizational culture, one that implicitly conveys a kind of classism: We are better than our customers.

Of course, nobody is actually going to say that they think the customer is stupid. But if you listen closely, you can hear this type of thinking in phrases like this:
"Their system is in the DARK AGES.""Yeah, they REALLY could use some help.""T…

When '30 Rock' Spoofed the Civil Service

Civil servants have long been the butt of mean jokes and equally nasty headlines, frequently stereotyped as lazy workers in a wasteful, gnarled-up bureaucracy. More recently, for a variety of reasons, concerns have been raised about the hidden power wielded by the administrative state.

But deviance is a fact. What that means, in plain terms, is that every social structure, every institution, every organization, every group, and every team will have its dysfunctional aspects as well as a few extremely bad apples.

Deviance is a fact: It doesn't matter who's in charge.

Unfortunately, the unique dysfunctions of the civil service are very hard to understand unless you actually work there. The following hilarious scene, from Season 2,Episode 15 of the hit NBC show 30 Rock (original air date: May 8, 2008), highlights this perfectly.
Click here to watch: "Jack's First Day In Government" In it, "Jack" (played by Alec Baldwin) joins the government and finds out pre…

A Pre-Benghazi Story The Media Should Cover: "Libyan Orphans Sold As Sex Slaves" (2011)

On May 9, 2011, a year and four months before the death of then-U.S. Ambassador to Libya J. Christopher Stevens, someone posted this with the headline: “Libyan orphans sold as sex slaves by the European/NATO people.”

We do not have the provenance of this photo, which appeared on another site, one providing alternative news analysis and opinion.

On August 26, 2011 -- just two weeks before then-U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens was murdered in Benghazi -- the alternative news site posted an article that linked to a video (since deleted) purporting to show "rebels" (who were actually directed by the U.S. and other nations) raping young girls.

The author, Paul Joseph Watson, blamed a politicized media for downplaying the crimes of the rebels, who he claimed were backed by the U.S., U.K., and France and supported by Al-Qaeda. He wrote (archived version here):
"The establishment media’s portrayal of the Libyan rebels as freedom-loving liberators fig…

An Audacious Dream For The Independent Media

Let's get Vice News to do an objective segment on child sex trafficking, in America and around the world.
Here is my dream: Elle Reeves confronting John Podesta.

I have a dream that we prepare Elle Reeves for the interview. We start with John's weird pizza emails.

We start with John's relationship to a controversial artist who paints with sperm and blood.

We keep going with a line of inquiry about John's whereabouts when Madeline McCann disappeared.

We ask her to listen to an audiotape which may or may not be John Podesta screaming "I am your father" at a child who is screaming in fear.

We give her an article where John's alter ego "Skippy" (an angry alter ego) is explored, in the Huffington Post back in 2008. 

We ask her to ask John what he meant when he used the term "wet work."

We ask Elle to ask John to clarify what he meant when he said, "I'm definitely for making an example of a suspected leaker whether or not we have a…

How To Serve A President You Don't Like

The worst bosses I ever had taught me the most important lessons I ever learned about work. For example, they tended to be Myers-Briggs type ISTJ, which is atrocious for me as an off-the-charts "P" ENFP. Like there is zero, zero chance the zigzagging I do is going to make sense to them, and worse yet, it literally triggers their OCD to be in the room with me.

The best bosses I ever had taught me the most important lessons I ever learned about work, too. For example, I learned that other people can see you extraordinarily accurately, no matter what kind of bullshit facade you put on, and so when your boss likes you and gives you feedback, it's best to take that lesson to heart.

It is no secret that the vast majority of Washingtonians dislike our current President. Maybe there's some secret poll going about and the proportion is less than awful, you know, perhaps it's 75-25 instead of 98-2. But here's a quick newsflash, in case this fact isn't clear: By defau…

When Did Thinking Become A Crime?

March 20, 2018: We have now reached the height of lunacy, as CNN bleats: “TRUMP HIRES CONSPIRACY THEORIST TO HIS LEGAL TEAM.”
First of all, Donald Trump is the 45th POTUS. Even if you don’t like him, you should call the President by his proper title. Otherwise you’re trying to rewrite current events instead of reporting on them. 
Secondly, it was the CIA which invented the term “conspiracy theory” to discredit people who questioned the official narrative. The agency also started Operation Mockingbird (see also here), which to this day tarnishes media credibility.

The way to read CNN’s reporting – as encapsulated by a chyron, that little headline running across the screen – clearly is not as descriptive of fact. Rather, it smells a lot like desperation.

What does the CIA say to do when confronting a “conspiracy theorist?” First, know how to identify one.

Per CIA Doc #1035-960, this is someone who:
Reads gov publications criticallyQuestions the official storySurmises that coordinated…

Trust The Plan

Think. Step Back.  We need to talk about The Plan. Trust the Plan. It can be hard to have faith amid the crazy world we live in. There's just no other word for it.
Example After Example We learn that the times before the Messiah will involve a kind of reversal of the normal order of things, and we see this over and over today.
Stormy Daniels As A Heroine For example, I was talking to my mother the other day about Stormy Daniels. "Stormy Daniels?" she said. "I'm so over it. It's like, really?" 
But I continue to marvel at the spectacle. Like, now Chelsea "pee on my face from a sailboat" Handler is defending her.

Terrorists As Folk Heroes Terrorists plant bombs in schools and hospitals, hide behind children, try to storm Israel's border, then make it a human rights issue when they are killed. 
Adults Bowing Down To Children In the aftermath of the tragic mass shooting that occurred on February 14, 2018, at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High Sch…

Roseanne Barr Is A Truth-Telling Hero

What Happened On March 30, 2018, U.S. celebrity Roseanne Barr, speaking from her Twitter account (@therealroseanne), stated: “President Trump has freed so many children held in bondage to pimps all over this world. Hundreds each month. He has broken up trafficking rings in high places everywhere. notice that. I disagree on some things, but give him benefit of doubt-4 now.” Why This Matters: Breaking The Cult Narrative Of Trump-Haters Of course, haters of President Trump rapidly turned apoplectic. Criticism of rained down from all corners, including The Hollywood Reporterwhich blasted the actress for “a series of bizarre new tweets” in which Barr (inconceivably!) “continued to showcase her support for the President.” Reading this, one has to wonder if THR can even take itself seriously, considering that Hollywood itself is known for child sex trafficking, and if you don’t believe that by now, then watch “An Open Secret”, read up on Corey Feldman (or maybe he’s just making all of it …