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Category: Humanity

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United Airlines’ Latest Customer Letter Hits the Right Notes

It’s easy to pile on United. More than the mistakes, it’s the type of mistakes, lacking that quality known as common sense. I’ve certainly taken my shots at United over the years with posts ranging from “The Worst Customer Service Narrative in the History of Branding” to the recent “United Enters Third Stage of a …more

United Enters the Third Stage of a PR Grieving: the Shake Down

It’s been a rough week for United Airlines. When my mom — who is still getting the hang of this thing called the internet — asks if I’ll continue flying on United, you know the PR debacle has reached the masses. I have this theory that a PR crisis typically breaks down into five stages: …more

The Best Obituary I Have Ever Read

As a student of business writing, I don’t turn to obituaries for inspiration (probably a good thing). The typical obit adheres to a formula that goes something like this: He or she passed away Source of fame Key achievements Surviving family There’s a reason that newspapers assign the “obit beat” to newly hired college grads. …more

Is $4 Toast and the Tech Industry Still Ruining San Francisco?

Yesterday marked the three-year anniversary since VentureBeat and Jolie O’Dell’s focus group of one correlated expensive toast to the decline of San Francisco. The O’Dell discourse came with jagged edges, damning the tech industry for a cycle that goes something like this: Someone creates a business for consumers with too much money and pretensions of …more

Irish Fans Bring Contrarian Storytelling to the Euro Cup

Playing a quick game of word association with European soccer fans conjures words like hooligans, violence and racism. When my family lived in the UK, my youngest son and I took in a match between West Ham and Liverpool at storied Anfield.The section for the West Ham supporters was literally wired off with police on …more

The “F Word” in Storytelling and Business

Failure. Point to a movie or a book that captivates, and I’ll show you failure. Shrek. Absolutely. Something more high-brow, like the best-selling novel “A Little Life.” Again, failure underpins the story. For it’s the failure — something going horribly awry, the more pain the better — that creates the tension in a story. As …more

Goodness in Stories of Conflict

As a storyteller, I often combine sad stories with one another. Mostly with a positive outcome, but often I use stories without a happy ending. Stories where listeners really have to think about what they just learned. Stories where there is no gold at the end of the rainbow. It’s amazing when such stories evoke …more