How to Create 6 Months of Amazing Blog Topics in 30 Minutes

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I’ve decided to get a lot more serious about my blog. But coming up with topics felt like an absolute drag (perhaps you can relate?) I fell into the classic trap. I knew I wanted to create useful content on a weekly basis, but it was paralyzing. I had no plan. I would write about whatever came to mind. Sometimes I skipped weeks. And (sadly) that did not make for a super useful blog. Maybe I’d get lucky and say something important every once in awhile, but it was touch and go, to be sure. If I’m going to help …

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Dear tech bros: nobody gives a fuck about your code.

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Hey tech bros. You know that I’m here for you. I love you more than anything — except my cats. (Mama’s gotta keep the Fancy Feast coming…or else.) I’ve noticed a common thread among software companies. You’re hyped, you’ve got this fantastic technology that’s totally going to change the world. But here’s the problem — you think people give a shit. And I’ve got to break it to you: Nobody cares about your [AI/blockchain/algorithms/insert incredible advancement here]. And that’s a best case scenario. What with Elon Musk running his trap about how AI-powered machines are going to kill us all someday, you …

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How to Write a Delightful Job Post

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The job post genre is one of my faves, specifically because the vast majority of them are so horrible. They’re dry. Long. Repetitive. Oh, and they sound pretty boilerplate, too. There is so much ickiness out there, it’s hard to know where to start. A job post is your first opportunity to make an impression on applicants. Real superstars know that they need to customize every cover letter, do research, and spend significant time on each application. They’re unlikely to waste the effort on job posts that make them go: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ So make it shine. Here’s how. Remember that a …

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Creativity & Me

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My mother told me a story that says a lot about my particular brand of creativity. I was 18 months old, more or less, and was strapped into a carseat in the back of our old Dodge Dart. Mom was driving, it was just her and me. We passed by a McDonalds restaurant. From the backseat, my mom heard me sing (apropos of nothing), “Ee-Eye-Ee-Eye-Oh.” That’s E-I-E-I-O, as in “Old MacDonald had a farm”. I was not extraordinarily verbal at that time, and yet I had just made a huge mental leap.  In an instant I had processed all this …

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How to Offer Critique That’s Friendly, Snuggly, and Downright Pleasant

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Critique can be brutal. (What do you mean you don’t love my one-woman show?!) As much as it can hurt, it’s also completely necessary. If critique is managed correctly, it has the power to strengthen both work products and relationships. It sounds unlikely, but it’s true. My expertise comes from the theatre — I helped develop a peer review program for performance artists in the Seattle area that’s in its 5th year running. The goal? Tough critique in a nurturing environment. It’s a tricky needle to thread, but a worthwhile one. It all starts with the critic (that much maligned creature). …

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Bomb Customer Service Spotlight: Slack

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I’ve been having a rough couple of weeks in computer land. My poor, beloved 2015 Macbook Pro is in the shop, getting a screen replacement (for that nasty peeling problem) and the malfunctioning S key is getting fixed. Do you know how difficult it is to be a writer without an S key? Meditate for a second on the impossibility of plurals, and you’ll have some idea. So, in a blind rage, I bought this new Chromebook. It’s billed as the affordable alternative to a Macbook Pro. The keyboard feels much the same, it’s light and pretty, but it has …

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Yo, Hired. You’ve got a usability problem.

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Today I clicked a Facebook ad for Hired — a tech-specific recruiting platform. Since I’m on the lookout for new clients (why hello there!) I figured I’d check it out. The design red flags showed themselves right away. After creating an account, I was brought to their onboarding flow. It appears to be 4 steps long. Little did I know, I wasn’t destined to see beyond page 1. I select design as my area of interest. After all, UX writing is a commonly-recognized subset of UX design. UX design with no UX writer behind it is painfully obvious. It’s how you …

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2 Questions to Ask When Your Brand Voice Sucks

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Your brand’s voice is as important as your logo, and it’s way more difficult to get right. A strong brand voice can tell your readers everything about you in a few words, but it must be maintained across every channel. Done poorly…you’ll leave your readers shrugging. If your brand voice isn’t grabbing anybody, don’t make the mistake of massaging your syntax. Torturing yourself over every phrase is a waste of time. There’s something deeper going on. A likely hole in your process? Some fundamental questions left unanswered. To put it bluntly – Ask yourself who the hell is reading and why …

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Sexism in tech is real. Let’s smash it together.

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Sexism in tech has a bit of a reputation. If you spend more than 5 minutes in the industry as a woman or otherwise not completely hetero/masculine dude, you’ll feel it. Let’s not play. We’ve all got stories. It’s kind of a wild situation – here we are building products for people who aren’t men (wow!), but we’re not the ones leading the charge? We remain underpaid, and under-promoted at every turn. Our badass, creative, intuitive, technically adept selves have so much to bring to this shit. The world needs us. A ton of people say they don’t roll with sexism …

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Blogging Tip: Bullet points are your best buddy

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If you’re blogging for your brand, there’s a challenge you’re undoubtedly facing.  Maybe you’re thinking about it right now, sweating slightly because you know you’re behind schedule. The fearsome foe? Spinning up content on a regular basis. If you’re feeling nervous right now, you’ve got to use bullet points. Today I was chatting with a client, and I recommended that his software team create bullet points as the seeds for posts surrounding an upcoming product release. There are a couple of great reasons for this, which I’ll present (YOU GUESSED IT!) in bullet point form. Bullet points give your blog …

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