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Top 10 Most Viewed Fact-checks of 2016

Questions: How many of these did you hear or read? How many got in your head and made you mad or glad? How many did you assume were true or false without actually doing the work to determine if true or false? Embarrassed to say I heard many of them, raged a bit, and didn’t fact-check most.

(Via Politifact.)

The Holiday Hole

This year’s Christmas presents hide right behind the closet door. Several boxes are on shelves while other packages are lamely stuffed in a festive Ted Baker bag on the floor. If you walked in the closet, you would see the presents with zero effort. Ten years ago, my children would’ve paid cash money to know… More

The Next Big Thing

The icing on the cake when I do a presentation is Q&A. Being peppered with random questions might seem problematic, but I love it. First, because it tells me what the audience heard and, second, because it allows to me fill in the gaps of the presentation.

There are a standard list of questions I get on a regular basis, and one of them is, “If you were going to found a start-up, what would it be?” My answer has been consistent for the past five years, “I don’t know how I’d do it nor how I’d make money, but I would provide a service which allows a human to determine the source of a piece of information.”

Everyone suddenly cares about this idea a lot. Facebook recently announced it’s plan to vet alleged fake news with five different independent news/fact-checking groups. These groups are:

I remain jaw on the floor shocked how much opinion that swirls me is repackaged as facts. I’m not pointing the finger at a particular demographic; I’m talking about everyone (including myself) who says, “That insert-fact-here just feels wrong.” We are 100% entitled to our opinions. Our views are also protected. However, usage of an opinion as fact is rotting our national discourse.

Kudos to Facebook for taking action, but a better course of action is when you hear or read a fact that seems just plain off check out one of the sites above get the real facts.

p.s. There is a fact-checkers code of principles.

It Takes Five Years for Holacracy to Work

Solid piece from Quartz on the state of the Holacracy experiment at Zappos. I’ve never worked at Zappo’s, but it seemed to me like a healthy culture to boldly engage in different productivity and leadership experiments. However, as reported, it does not appear to be working.

Nearly a third of the company has walked to the door. I don’t know what Zappo’s annual attrition rate has been, but I guess that is higher. When you combine this with the fact that Zappos dropped off the Forbes “Best Companies to Work For” list, you have evidence of a larger systemic problem.

To me, the money quote in the piece is, “Robertson [Holacracy’s creator] says it takes five years for Holacracy to work.” There’s a short list of the larger companies using Holacracy on their wiki, but my question is two fold: what does working mean and what company has successfully done it?

Is ‘Empathy’ Really What the Nation Needs?

What social networks like Facebook really offer is empathy in the aggregate — an illusion of having captured the mood of entire families and friend networks from a safe, neutral distance. Then they turn around and offer advertisers a read on more than a billion users at once. Buzz Andersen — a tech veteran who has worked for Apple, Tumblr and Square — told me that in Silicon Valley, “empathy is basically a more altruistic-sounding way of saying ‘market research.’ ”

(Via Amanda Hess on the New York Times.)

Five Pages

Whoooooooooo. You looked stressed. I know, right? First, it was a joke. Then it was unimaginable. Then unthinkable. Improbable. Unlikely. Then it happened and now we’re are all wondering, “When will it get worse?” Still not sleeping well? Me either. Are you reading the news? Me either. I’m 165 pages into the history of the… More