More questions. More help. Introducing Mastering Table Topics Second Edition.

Anatomy of a hoax

Facebook URL

Recently, a hoax went viral on Facebook telling people to copy and paste text into their status to protect the privacy of their photos and posts. I responded by giving my own version of the text showing why it was a hoax. Here is what I posted.

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Sonic bust: How bad design ruins the user experience

Chevrolet Sonic nameplateI have a theory about rental cars: Rental car companies fill their lots with the most uninspiring, unenjoyable, and unsellable fleet vehicles imaginable so that you are motivated to return them. It doesn’t matter how old or dumpy the car you own is. You will love it like the day you bought it after you’ve spent several days in some underpowered rental car with a smelly cabin.

Last week, we rented a 2014 Chevrolet Sonic while our 2013 Honda CR-V was being repaired. I could tell how overjoyed we would be to get our car back the moment I got behind the wheel of the Sonic. It has the worst user interface I’ve ever seen on a vehicle.

Something that seems as minor as the layout of a dashboard can have a big impact in how we view a product. It can determine whether we will enjoy driving the car or dread it as a typical rental vehicle. Here’s why.

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The Apple Watch and how customers “get to yes”

Apple Watch Sport

And Mickey’s smiling face was too hard to resist

As I wrote earlier, I didn’t rush out and buy an Apple Watch when they first came out. I waited four and a half months. What made me go from “It may be best to wait” to “Here’s my credit card”? Although good technology is useful technology, one has to see the usefulness. It took a combination of the experiences others have had with the Apple Watch, how Apple supports the product, and what capabilities Apple’s partners offer in order for me to see the usefulness of the product.

Here are several lessons I’ve learned in my process in becoming an Apple Watch owner. They can help anyone who wants potential customers to “get to yes.” Read more »

Star Wars: When villains are more likable than the heroes

Sample Star Wars toy ads(Spoilers ahead.) The first set of Star Wars: The Force Awakens toys hit the shelves in the United States, and I already see a problem. The villains seem more likable than the heroes. Have you seen the new Stormtrooper action figures and Rylo Ken with his dual exhaust lightsaber? With the exception of that beach ball BB-8 droid, all of the cool toys are those of the villains. While having fascinating and attractive villains can add to a story, the danger is when the villains overshadow the heroes. And Disney and Lucasfilm may be making the problem worse by selling toys of the characters before the movie comes out.

To see why this is a problem, let’s look at the original Star Wars movie from 1977.

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What Shark Tank can teach you about public speaking

Image from ABC (via Wikimedia)

Image from ABC (via Wikimedia)

Shark Tank is a popular TV show where entrepreneurs pitch their businesses to a panel of successful investors (called the Sharks) to encourage them to invest their money in exchange for a share of equity.

The entrepreneurs give a brief presentation and must then endure a tough Q & A session with the Sharks as they determine if their business is worth the investment. If the Sharks are interested, they will make an offer to the entrepreneurs. If the Sharks aren’t interested, or if the entrepreneurs can’t come to an agreement on the amount of equity they would give, the entrepreneurs walk away empty-handed.

An entrepreneur’s performance on Shark Tank can make or break him or her. Businesses picked by the Sharks have gone on to incredible success. Those who haven’t are often never heard from again.

If you listen to the speeches by the entrepreneurs closely, you can find out who the Sharks will choose — regardless of the type of business, the amount of money requested, and the percentage of equity being offered. Here’s what to look for.

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