Mary Meeker’s Internet Trends Report spawns predictable cliches

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…

Truth and lies about Charter/Time Warner Cable Merger

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…

The bullshit in Philadelphia Magazine’s “No Bullshit Mayoral Election Guide”

The bullshit in Philadelphia Magazine’s “No Bullshit Mayoral Election Guide”

Elections and bullshit go together. That’s why I was intrigued to get several suggestions to analyze Philadelphia Magazine’s “No Bullshit Mayoral Election Guide.” Sadly, I think bullshit is an essential element of all election guides, including this one. Patrick Kerkstra, writing in Philadelphia Magazine, describes his guide this way: … [W]e’ve put together this bottom-line assessment of the…

Farhad Manjoo misinterprets the history of tech adoption

Farhad Manjoo misinterprets the history of tech adoption

Writing in the New York Times, Farhad Manjoo decries “A Tech Boom Aimed at the Few, Instead of the World.” But he ignores the history of how successful tech adoption inevitably spreads experiences to everyone. According to Manjoo: The tech industry used to think big. . . . These were dreams of vast breadth: The founders of…

Word pollution
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Word pollution

Lack of discipline pollutes your writing. Multiply by the whole world of “content creators” and we’re all consuming brown, dirty prose. I’ve spent time in Beijing and São Paulo. While the people were wonderful, the air was awful. A light brown miasma cast a pall on everything, making our eyes itch and making every incredible cityscape appear…

The truth vs. the story: How not to report an earthquake

The truth vs. the story: How not to report an earthquake

Jonathan Katz was a wire reporter in Haiti when the earthquake hit in 2010. In a fascinating piece in the New York Times, he explains how reporters covering a natural disaster — like the recent earthquake in Nepal — follow a script determined by what they have access to, rather than what’s actually happening. This script…

Who sounds like a deflategate liar: Robert Kraft or the NFL’s lawyers?
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Who sounds like a deflategate liar: Robert Kraft or the NFL’s lawyers?

Two people are arguing in print. Who do you believe? The one who writes more clearly, not necessarily the one that’s right. Which brings us to deflategate. When the Patriots played the Colts in this year’s AFC championship game, officials found some of the balls to be underinflated. The NFL just finished investigating whether the Patriots intentionally let air…

The recipe that generates Dr Oz’ bullshit
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The recipe that generates Dr Oz’ bullshit

Start with a topic that’s of crucial interest to a lot of people. Add a high degree of uncertainty. Season with media. Stand back and watch the bullshit appear. For example: which direction will stocks go? Everybody cares but nobody knows, so there’s lots of entertaining opinion on both sides. Add CNBC and you’ve got entertainment….

Comcast customer service transformation, in Philadelphia Magazine
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Comcast customer service transformation, in Philadelphia Magazine

When you read about corporate transformations, be wary. Reporters love to tell these stories, because they humanize companies. We love to read them. But they’re stories, which is not the same thing as truth. Take this article about about how Comcast is transforming its customer experience, “Comcast Knows How Much You Hate Them,” by Richard Rys, in…