What Do Fake Rolexes, Overpriced Wine, and iPhones Have in Common?


What do fake Rolexes, overpriced wine, and iPhones have in common?

They’re sold the same way to the same types of consumers.

Luckily, the wine and iPhones haven’t hit the spam-bucket the way watches have recently. Watch spam is probably running a close third to 419 spam (“Esteemed sir, I am requesting for urgent business relationship….”) and [...]

Yet Another Stupid Attack on PowerPoint


This article from Harvard Business Review attacking PowerPoint is one of the least sensible ones I’ve seen. Somehow, I assume that folks at HBR have some real-world and not just B-school “B” experience (as in the “B” in HBR). Indeed, David Silverman has written some very good posts in the past, so this one just [...]

“PowerPoint Makes Us Stupid,” Part II


Yesterday, I shared a slide from a New York Times article about the use and misuse of presentation software. I railed about the misuse of PowerPoint, offering four real issues instead of the shibboleth put forth in the Times article:

Bad presentation design is making us stupid.
Bad presenters are making us stupid.
The use of bullet points [...]

“PowerPoint Makes Us Stupid” — True or False?


There’s a lot of brouhaha today stemming from a report in the New York Times about PowerPoint negatively affecting the US military apparatus. Super-smart graphics maven Nancy Duarte, for example, chimes in here.

A lot of discussion centers on the complex chart topping the NY Times article. Ex-McKinsey consultant and PowerPoint guru explains (and partly defends) [...]

“Oops” UI of the Week


I was filling out an online form today when I came to this section:

It says Mailing Address in big red letters. Then it says Mailing Address in bold black letters. The cursor goes automatically to the first edit box.

So what do I — and I suspect most other folks — start typing? My mailing address, [...]

“The Worst Abuse of Microsoft Excel Ever”


A NYTimes article on analyzing video of basketball games contains the delicious quote, ” ‘It’s probably the worst abuse of Microsoft Excel ever,’ said Kevin Pauga….” Pauga is apparently referring to the use of Excel rather than a database to track all the stats associated with every play of every possible opponent in college [...]

Google Voice (Mail)


One of my business lines is tied to Google Voice. Today I got a voice message that was automatically transcribed by Google.

I’m impressed.

It wasn’t perfect, but the subject matter was very abstruse. However, it nailed all of the normal-speech parts of the conversation.

Based on experience, my guess is that most voice messages are fairly straightforward. [...]

The Bogosity of “We Are a Data-Driven Culture”


I was going to write this article, but a few days ago Ron Ashkenas at Harvard Business Press in effect wrote it for me.

He nails four issues around believing that data = truth:

Are we asking the right questions?
Does our data tell a story?
Does our data help us look ahead rather than behind?
Do we have a [...]

Three Uncommonly Common Meeting Mistakes


Andrew Buck over at the Project Hut has a post today on Meeting Behaviors: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.

It’s a good post, but it oversimplifies in a few areas. More specifically, it falls into the trap of “all meetings have the same purpose.”

Ain’t true.

Buck’s comments are dead on for many meetings, but there’s [...]

Twenty Tip for Great First-Line Management


Tom Peters (a/k/a TomPeters!) has a terrific post today about building great first-line managers. I won’t repeat all 20 points here, but I want to call out a few specifically because they are so often overlooked in lists of this sort:

5. New 1LMs should “shadow” senior 1LMs for a significant period of time. (“1LM” is [...]

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