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Everyone needs to learn how to give presentations

Couple of stories before we get going on this post.

1. I went to graduate school (for business/organizational development) from 2012 to 2014. It was a little bit off-task, to be sure. In the first semester of the first year, we had three base classes: one was on Microeconomics, one was on Training and Development, and one was on Stats and Reasoning. (C) is essential. Big data is legitimately “a thing.” (B) is important, especially if you’re interested in helping with training or developing employees, which a lot of people in the program were. (Talking more broadly about HR might be a rabbit hole, though.) Micro-Econ always confused me. It’s important to fundamentally understand, yes, but the focus/function of this program was mostly getting people into corporate rotational jobs — in those jobs, you’re not often drawing S and D graphs, you know? One time, I told the head of the program that Micro should be replaced with a Public Speaking/Presentations course instead, to ground the students in doing that. She deflected it and said it had always been done that way. That’s a common response to a lot of things you say in life, and it sucks. Read more

Let’s all talk about Connor Halliday for a second

There’s a long article on Grantland about the relationship between Mike Leach (potentially the most interesting college football coach of the past 15 years) and QB Connor Halliday up at Washington State, in Pullman. The article is great and laden with anecdotes — you should read it, because it does far more justice to the topic of Leach, Halliday, Air Raid offenses, personal dynamics, and the like than I ever will. Still, though, a few thoughts: Read more

In big U.S. cities, the middle class is dead

Probably no entity in American life has been scrutinized more than the middle class — they rise, they’re left for dead, they rise again, they die again, etc. It’s almost comical sometimes. But in reality, especially after the 2008 downturn, the middle class might be generally eroding. Typically, a good way to determine if that’s actually happening involves housing prices, affordability of housing, and the like. If you look at a couple of sources on that, though, it’s not so promising.

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The worst f’n thing you can call yourself is a “marketing expert”

I had been thinking about this for a couple of days/weeks now, so I decided to write down some thoughts about it. Doesn’t it sometimes seem like everyone on Twitter and in the general content/blogging community is trying to upsell themselves as a “marketing expert?” These are people that have blogs, podcasts, websites, books, Twitters, and spend half their time (seemingly) flying to different conferences to speak about different marketing techniques to large gatherings of able-bodied individuals.

In some ways, it feels like “the marketing renaissance” has become a little bit like what happened with consulting. After a certain period of time when American business was established, it felt like everyone started becoming a consultant. Now it feels like tons of people are becoming marketing experts.

That’s actually not a good thing. Read more

What could have happened with Chelsea Bruck?

Here’s the basic story: Chelsea Bruck went to a Halloween party in Frenchtown Township, Michigan on Saturday, dressed as Poison Ivy (from the Batman movies). She was last seen with an unidentified man at 3am on Sunday morning along Post Road, an area in Frenchtown Township. Here’s a sketch of the man:  Read more

Maybe a smile is the most powerful thing in the world

That sounds like a brutally cheesy headline, right? No doubt. But think about this: I was trolling the Stanford Graduate School of Business website, as I’m wanton to do, and I found a video by Jennifer Aaker (a professor there) about “what makes us happy.” I can’t think of one human being who would come across that headline and not click on it, so that thing best have about 8 billion page views. (That’s how the Internet works, right?) Then I ran into a related post from July 2014 about “how to make yourself happy” (again, 8 billion page views) and that post ends with this nugget:  Read more

How I tried to change my personal mantra

On Saturday, I was walking in Antwerp, Belgium in a fashion-forward area of the city. (If you want to know how I got to Belgium, read this; if you want to see some cool pictures I took in Belgium, read this.) Anyway, I was walking around and I came to a store that’s apparently frequented by Belgian hipster millennials. (I just had the urge to scream ‘Get off my porch!’). It was basically the Belgian version of American Apparel, but a little bit cooler. Outside was the sign you see here in this post:

Stand by your vision and create your own revolution. 

That seemed to be a cool thing to adopt as a personal mantra, so I switched out my old iPhone lock screen picture — a large teddy bear with a santa hat, naitch — for the sign. Then I started thinking about personal mantras. Read more

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