Your Typography Does Not Constitute My Interest

There is a site I follow on RSS that prefixes the following to posts:

I spent lots of time on typography, so you should read this article in its original form at …

Nope. I shouldn’t. No one should.

I could be wrong, but there is no style over substance argument outside of certain political and artistic circles.

If your site or blog or content or whatnot relies on typography and you’re not first and foremost an artist, you’re doing it wrong.

Accessing Facebook …

Quick summary of how I use Facebook:

  1. Launch a VPN
  2. Use a private browser (with ad blocking) to navigate
  3. I do my Facebook stuff
  4. I log out of Facebook and then out of said private browser after clearing my browsing history
  5. I disconnect from the VPN

The moral of the story is that I use Facebook so long as it offers me value. However, I do not use it trivially. If and when I log in, it is with purpose and my session lasts exactly as long as I want.

I set myself up for success:

  • I have no app connections or integrations (with my personal website posts going away soon)
  • I don’t use Facebook for authentication anywhere
  • I do not have any of the mobile apps installed (other than Instagram, and only for the moment)
  • I set up two-factor authentication for Facebook login using an Authenticator app (not SMS or email)

What I thoughtlessly shared on Facebook is out there. Time and experience will tell the usefulness of that information and the impact of my data hygiene regimens.

What are you doing to reduce your social media surface and/or take ownership of your data?

Reviews: Hollow, Go On Forever & Full of Stars

When I first managed people, just as I’d taken over a troubled retail sales department and had to do performance evaluations, I got a great piece of advice from my then mentor:

If all your reviews are a 5 you are doing it wrong. You may have reasons to rationalize such scores, but you do no one – especially yourself – any favors by doing so.

We, my new team, turned the department around quickly. I ignored my mentor’s advice and went ahead with my “All 5” reviews (the best possible) and … they were rejected. I had to do them all over again, this time with supervision.

My mentor rightly chastised me for ignoring his guidance and then gave me the next nugget:

If your team is all 5s, they’re all 2s.

Meaning if your baseline is so high and everyone gets the highest level, normalize the baseline. And it’s probably still too high.

If people don’t have a challenge to overcome they will tend toward complacency.

I was lucky to have smart leaders. They saw my naïveté as an advantage. My short sighted management style was converted into a galvanizing experience for the team. Meanwhile, I reassessed.

Fast forward to today. We rank all kinds of things: Amazon purchases and podcasts and Lyft drivers and restaurants and beers and so on. How many of us default to 5 stars or equivalents? What about vapid or useless “me, too” comments? And how about the essay review? My approach is evolving, but in short:

Am I adding value and what value am I adding?

If I experience something enjoyable but otherwise unremarkable, am I doing anyone any favors by assigning a 5? Better to make 2.5 the baseline.

What about the skew toward high scoring? Am I not making it worse for some things?

I try to add content to the review. A 3 beer, for example, is better than the average mass produced brew. If I give a beer such a score I will add the context to the score. Maybe it’s dry or fruity or hoppy or has some other attribute placing it above the norm.

Until this becomes normal I do not rely on straight up scored reviews for anything substantial. Again with beer or food I will trend toward the high scores with high review counts.

I suggest all embrace circumspection in scoring of things, services & people.

Let me know if you can identify the post’s title reference.

Golden Week 2018

This week, 28 April through 06 May, is Golden Week in Japan. The holidays are:

The middle bit are usually two vacation days. Some have to work but can telecommute, which is acceptable. Some poor souls have to go into the office for those two days.

I thought I was going to be one of those poor souls, but my project is in a holding pattern. That is great as I can take the days off, but sadly I couldn’t plan for a week-long vacation like I did last year in Kyoto, Nara, and Osaka.

Shed no tears: there are so many events happening in and around Tokyo this week plus the day tripper opportunities abound. Keep an eye on my feed for the “where is he now” updates.


Installed & allowed notifications from Reuters app b/c hard news alerts. Now = celebrity updates, birth notices & maybe hard news. Uninstalled & happier for it.

[PftP] It’s not me!

My post yesterday, [PftP]: What to do when laid off – Paul Jorgensen / ジョルゲンセン ポール, needs some explanation.

Here is my canned response to the lovely checks to make sure I am OK:

Thanks for asking. I am good. Someone I know expects to go through this soon. I summed up my advice to her in this post in case it’s of use to others.

Thank you to all you delightful folks checking up on me.

BTW, [PftP] (Preparing for the Pink) is an on-going yet sporadic series of posts I started in the aftermath of undergoing such an event.

[PftP] What to do when laid off

You had an ubrupt conversation with your boss (or someone else, depending on the scope) and an HR representative, hopefully in person but maybe remote. You learned you are no longer part of the organization.
Maybe you didn’t expect it. Maybe you had an inclining. Maybe you saw it coming. It doesn’t matter.
You might be one of tens or hundreds or thousands. It doesn’t matter.
When you get “The News”, Douglas Adams said it best: Don’t Panic. Take a deep breath.

  • Don’t accept or concede anything
  • Don’t sign anything (you, of course, want a lawyer to review it first)
  • Collect data, preferably on paper or a personal device
  • Tell the HR representative you’ll respond later, at least 5 days after & including a weekend.

Emotionally YOU ARE NOT PREPARED for the news. Everyone takes it differently. Accept the fact that you will be emotional and don’t fight it. Go Home! You want to leave as soon as you can. I made the mistake of trying to take things from my office. Tell Your Family and Friends as soon as you can. Don’t go through this alone even if you’d prefer to handle it yourself.
Note: If you were terminated for cause this post isn’t for you. While some of these tips may apply, you are best served by legal representation.
Note: This is a Western take on such events, but I think it holds true in other geographies.