How do you decide who to vote for? I see three ways people are deciding: policy, team loyalty, and trust.

Rational Papers Posts are directed at the group I call the deciders: conservatives, moderates, undecided, and third-party voters considering their choices in the 2020 US Presidential election.

Choosing based on policy

In a traditional election, policy is the deciding factor. Voters determine who they feel will be a better choice for the economy, health care, taxes, foreign policy, and the like.

This is what was behind the James Carville 1992 quote suggesting that the election between Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush was about…

It’s hard to think long-term right now, with everything changing rapidly. But you don’t have to react — and communicate — as if your time horizon is measured in hours. Think a few weeks ahead, and your messaging will look a lot smarter.

I thought of this because of the string of messages I got recently from my doctor’s office (on my health portal — so I had to click through to see if they were personal or urgent). The series of messages looked like this (all of these are abridged, I’m only sharing the beginning of each message):


Cartogram by Mark E.J. Newman, U. Mich.

Google will stop targeting political ads based on behavior. That’s a start. I call on every platform to end all targeted political ads (except by geography) — and for Congress to make this the law.

Here’s what happened with political ads so far in 2019:

  • Twitter banned all political ads.
  • Google just announced that for election ads, the only targeting it will continue to allow is by age, gender, adjacency to content, and location (at the postal code level).
  • After relaxing its fact-checking of political ads, a Facebook spokesman said “we are looking at different ways we might refine our…

News reports suggest that President Trump is interested in purchasing the island of Greenland which is currently a possession of Denmark. We join the President at his first campaign rally in Nuuk Stadium, capacity 2,000, a football stadium in Greenland’s largest city.

Wow. What a warm welcome!

Not an empty seat in the house. Seems like half the population of Greenland is in here.

Damn it’s cold. No global warming here, I see!

My gosh, I’ve never seen so many white people in one place.

Let’s talk. Let’s talk about what’s going to happen when Greenland becomes the biggest, most…

Photo: m01229 via Flickr

A decade ago, in the social media business book Groundswell, Charlene Li and I described online social technologies as an uncontrollable grass-roots movement. I had hoped social media would be a force for good. But now Facebook, along with its subsidiary Instagram, dominates that movement. It controls more of our collective attention — and gathers more of our collective data — than any other entity on earth. And it’s flailing.

Facebook has now admitted that Cambridge Analytica abused its data to influence the election; that its job, housing, and loan ads were discriminatory; that it shared data with 150 other…

Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg announced a major strategy shift towards messaging and “privacy.” Don’t be fooled. It’s not about making you feel safer — at all.

At the center of this two-step are two different definitions of privacy.

When you think about privacy, you are thinking “I don’t want my private information shared.”

That’s not what Zuckerberg means. When he says “privacy” he means “We’ll encourage you to send more ‘private’ messages and make fewer public posts.” …

The wizards from Black Mirror have delivered a new kind of entertainment on Netflix: a “choose-your-own-adventure” interactive drama called “Bandersnatch.” It involves the viewer (player?) in a way that’s goes beyond both games and film. I think “Bandersnatch” is a harbinger of amazing new kinds of entertainment to come.

“Bandersnatch” is the story of Stefan Butler, a young guy building a computer game in 1984. Stefan’s game is based on a “choose-your-own-adventure” book, also called Bandersnatch, and like the book, the game design allows you to make binary choices at various points in the game and see the consequences of…

Image: Pixabay

This is the year! 2019. Are you going to write a book this year?

If all you have is burning desire and willpower, you will fail. You need a plan.

This is that plan. (While this plan is designed for non-fiction, much of this advice may help fiction writers as well.)

Here’s what not to do: start writing. Writing without a plan is as useful as setting out a trip and driving in random directions — it’s unlikely to get you anywhere you really want to go.

Here are some steps I recommend taking — in order — if you…

Red Sox photo by Jae C. Hong, AP

Congratulations to the Boston Red Sox for winning the World Series. What made the difference? Was it the heart and talent of the players? Or was it the cold, hard Moneyball analytics that have made baseball as much science as art?

It was a combination of both. This is “Coralytics,” the new approach of Red Sox first-year manager Alex Cora. And once you understand how Coralytics works for Alex Cora, it might change your approach to how you manage your team.

The Boston Globe described Coralytics in an article by the stats-loving baseball writer Alex Speier, titled “What’s Coralytics? When…

Tim Berners-Lee, the man who created the Web, is frustrated with how giants like Facebook and incompatible apps rule our online experience. His solution is Solid, and open-source project that will allow you to control your own data. Solid is a long shot — unless Apple gets behind it.

Berners-Lee described his vision in a blog post. Here an excerpt:

[T]he web has evolved into an engine of inequity and division; swayed by powerful forces who use it for their own agendas.

Today, I believe we’ve reached a critical tipping point, and that powerful change for the better is possible…

Josh Bernoff

Bestselling author of “Writing Without Bullshit.” Follow me at

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