I Read 10 Years’ ...


As a form of self-torture, I cruised through the 800+ posts I’ve written since the blog went live July 10, 2008. Dipping into my Yiddish vocabulary, “Oy vey.”

I’ve reflected on the blog’s 10-year anniversary and stuck a microphone in front of 10 suspecting individuals for their takes on the state of storytelling. Now, I’m going to curate the all-time worst posts that have found their way into the blog (as if I were an innocent bystander).

BTW, the image above comes from the TechCrunch quote, “The man who bites the dog is more interesting than the dog who bites the man.”


I thought I had coined a clever term for content that blurs the line between paid media and earned media. The term didn’t get traction.


Why would I devote a post to YouTube promoting a webcast on storytelling? I don’t know.


I decided to make fun of an ad from Oklahoma City touting its short commutes. I’m trying to figure out why such minutia prompted me to write on the topic.



We designed a wildly successful infographic called “Storytelling vs Corporate Speak.” I figured let’s take the same concept and create a video. The action was sure to reach a younger demographic and expose them to the blog. It’s bad t.v. (to put it gently). If only I had tried this the following year riffing on Psy and Gangnam Style.


Pointing out BusinessWeek’s gift for language for describing a new coffee maker as using a unique “shower head dispenser” does not beget a post. I take that back. It did, just a dreadful one.


My crack research team, that would be me, discovered that Japan established a woman’s professional baseball league with two teams. Okaaaay. But I still like the name of one of the teams, The Hyogo Swing Smileys.


Again, my crack research team sent me careening down the wrong path, “catching” KFC offering tips for picnic planning.


After careful analysis, I’ve concluded that I was so thrilled to receive free cupcakes, I had to give the baker exposure to my “vast” readership.


I invented a category of posts called “Moes Takes” after an old client who had a way with words. I thought it would be both fun and revealing to capture sound bites that didn’t stay in between the lines. It wasn’t.


I decided to attack ESPN for launching a channel, espnW, because “storytelling is important to women.” Making a case that storytelling is gender neutral didn’t exactly ignite debate.


This goes down in history as my all-time worst post. I thought there were lessons to be had from dissecting the City of Middleton’s proclamation on National Mustard Day.


I exhausted considerable energy and time to prove to the world that Intuit could afford to pay more than 100 bucks for a 300-word blog post. I even showed financial acuity in analyzing slides from Intuit’s latest earnings announcement. There’s that question again. Why?


Like “Moes Takes” I tried to create a regular feature around the idea of taking a media story and pitting two journalists against each other and grading out their writing on the topic. What works on the Food Channel (Iron Chef show) isn’t necessarily a natural for a blog on business communications. Weirdly enough, I heard from the WSJ reporter, Paul Glader, who took issue with my analysis.


Certain patterns emerge from this collection.

First, I might want to get a sanity check the next time I decide there’s a story in minutia.

I also think we can see there’s a difference between being an esoteric smart ass and a smarty pants. The latter isn’t particularly flattering.

On the positive side, most of the bad stuff occurred in the early years of the blog.

I’ve always thought of my blog as a type of laboratory where I can experiment, so I don’t expect the bombs to come to an abrupt halt.

But a reduction would be OK.




  • Frank Strong

    I was in tears laughing as I read this. Good for you, Lou! Self-deprecating humor goes a long way. I might borrow this play from your book in the future. I hope I am capable of the same transparency. We’ve all got bombs, and yes, a reduction would be okay.

    • Lou Hoffman

      That’s the ultimate compliment. Consider “levity” the killer app in communications. And by all means, borrow away. Lord knows I do.

  • Krim Stephenson

    I just realized I need to work on my pearned media strategy. I’VE BEEN DOING THIS ALL WRONG!!! Thanks for sharing, this was hilarious.


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