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‘You don’t understand’ is the worst-ever way to begin a sentence

I got drunk with one of my friends a few months ago; I was in his town on a business trip, and we just met up and grabbed some beers/burgers. Very basic American male-bonding type stuff. One element of note is that we’ve both gotten married in the past 30 months or so, so one topic that came up was father-in-laws. Both of us love our father-in-laws, but admittedly, the relationship is always a little odd. Let’s be straight and put it right out there: you’ve probably had sex with that guy’s daughter. It’s never going to be a 100 percent amazing dynamic, even when it seems great. My friend was telling me that he thinks his father-in-law tosses some side comments at gatherings that are designed to put down his choices (my friend’s), and I was telling him, as I got drunker, that all father-in-laws do this. (I’ve seen it more times than I can count.) My friend asks me, “What’s the thing your father-in-law does that annoys you, then?” I thought for a while. He’s a good guy, for sure. But he does start a lot of sentences with “You don’t understand…,” and that can get annoying. Here’s why.  Read more

2015 Business Trend: Synthesis in, analysis out

For a lot of people, the words “synthesis” and “analysis” might be synonyms in a work context. In fact, they technically mean different things. Synthesis is the process of building information up, and analysis is the process of breaking information down. You can make an argument that we’ve reached a place with “Big Data” and analytics where the goal is synthesis. Basically, you want to take a whole bunch of data points and figure out which ones, when tied together, give you a complete view of the behavior you’re trying to analyze. In short, “synthesis is in.”  Read more

Jennifer Lawrence’s e-mail, peanutbutt, should be a lesson to marketers

Jennifer Lawrence’s e-mail alias is apparently “peanutbutt.” If that’s true — it’s info from the Sony hacks — then it furthers America’s obsession with Jennifer Lawrence and how real / authentic she is (depending on whether you believe she really is). Think about this pretty simply, though: she’s a girl who rocks the off-the-cuff remark, makes young women aspire to be her BFF, sends sexy photos to dudes (SFW), and uses “peanutbutt” in her e-mail. She’s basically the girl on your block, but she’s mega-famous, has an Oscar, helms a major franchise, etc.

What’s the lesson here?

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How To Set Priorities: Start with clarity about what matters most

I want to write a bunch on this blog in 2015 about the notion of setting priorities, because I think it’s one of the most interesting aspects of human existence (sorry to oversell that), especially as it gets ramped up and more people have more responsibilities and social and technology and yadda yadda yadda insert your own narrative here. Your day — every day — basically comes down to a series of choices about what you need to do and what you want to do. Close to 45 percent might be habit, yes, but ultimately you’re setting priorities based on a complex web of factors. Problem is, I think often people get misguided in this sense. They believe hierarchy means too much — which is an attitude probably never going away — and so they allow themselves to get stressed out at work because, as we all know, at work everything is a priority to everyone, so if you get an edict from someone who out-ranks you, you immediately prioritize that. (People should contextualize what’s important a bit more, but remember — most managers aren’t great.)

So the question is: how do you set priorities? It’s a very deep, nuanced question — but here’s a start. Read more

Ironically, the holidays are probably the least transparent time of the year

I always find this funny, every single year, at every single job I’ve ever had and with almost every friend I’ve ever known and their subsequent co-workers: people run around from Dec. 6 on talking about how busy they are, how slammed they are, how everyone wants everything by EOY, how there’s absolutely no time to get it all done, and then, like clockwork, pretty much everyone stops working at about 1pm on that Friday before Christmas, even if Christmas is a Thursday (which, lo and behold, it is this year). I don’t mean people in Amazon fulfillment centers — I assume they’re working as I type this — or oil refineries or anything. I mean standard, white-collar office jobs. Everything is a priority. Everything needs to get done. But at the same time, we can duck out for multiple holiday parties and go off the grid for two weeks just because.

Again, irony. The holidays are some of the least transparent times of the year. Read more

James Holmes’ parents, Robert and Arlene, probably shouldn’t be talking about the death penalty

You might have seen this: James Holmes’ parents, Robert and Arlene, are saying he should be spared the death penalty — and a trial — and instead just be institutionalized.

First things first: if your child is one of the major American ‘crime horror stories’ of the past decade, the decisions you make can sometimes be perplexing. Peter Lanza ended up giving a profile to The New Yorker; there were certainly pros and cons to that approach. We have absolutely no idea how these parents feel, the decisions they made that they question, the small moments they turn over, etc. We cannot possibly relate to their experience.

That said, they probably shouldn’t be talking about this case in the media.  Read more

Here’s more evidence the middle class is dead/dying

Via here:

Middle Class Wealth Gap

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