Sad Ending, Happy Ending: Cautionary Tales For Entrepreneurs

It’s not news that larger companies sometimes buy smaller ones just to kill potential competition. For some entrepreneurs, this isn’t entirely a bad thing. You can adopt Hemingway’s advice about selling stories to Hollywood, which was to take the money at the California border and don’t look back. If you feel you’ve been adequately compensated for your idea and hard work, you may feel only a twinge to let your innovation die. And then you can move on to your next project.

But for those who care passionately about the products they have developed and the customers they intend to serve, this outcome to a “sweetheart” deal can be devastating. Here are two true, cautionary tales, and some thoughts about how you can protect yourself. Read more

How Can There Be Any Sin In Sincere?

How to prevent tone-deaf messaging from undermining your careful (and expensive) brand positioning


How can there be any sin in sincere? Where is the good in goodbye?

So begins one of the many charming and wry songs in Meredith Wilson’s The Music Man. The flowery expressions of sincerity that follow are about as insincere as you can get, and very funny. It’s not funny at all, however, when Read more

How To Make A How-To Video

9 Simple tips For Success On Your Next How-To Video

In an Adobe webcast of a new-product event, an MC is introducing the presenters to an audience of product users. As he calls each name, the individual steps forward to polite clapping. But when he calls the name “Terry White”, the  audience erupts in cheers and wild applause. Some people jump to their feet. Later, during breaks in the presentation, people ask for his autograph.

So who is Terry White to inspire such devotion? Technology visionary? Hipster coder? European design guru?

Nope. Terry White explains things. In short, efficient videos, Read more

Kicking Off The Dust Of This Old Email: The Zero-Message In-Box

On August 23, 2014, I moved out of my email program. The place had grown crowded and overwhelming, a musty storeroom crammed with teetering boxes of stuff that was mostly necessary, but much too hard to manage.

I wanted to spend more of my time in the rest of my work, which is a lot more fun and many times more productive. I wanted to hang out in our team project-management app, where the light is better and there are other people. (And, not incidentally, I’m paying for it every month.)

So over the course of fourteen days — an hour before work, two or three hours after, and three weekends of very long days — I reduced my email from 16,500 and change to zero.  Read more


Another in the occasional series of Ad Poetry Fridays. 

I cannot say I have vast experience
Being interviewed by the press
On my few occasions, I have enjoyed it

I found it pleasant, and flattering
And if they use your quote
You can tell your friends on LinkedIn Read more

Smart Guy

Another in the occasional series of Ad Poetry Fridays

I know you have two PhDs
and a Masters in Engineering
I have seen your diplomas
On the wall of your office
In the conference room
In the lobby
And for some reason I don’t quite understand
Posted over the mirror in the ladies’ room

Read more