New site design launches Monday

in General
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Ryan Sommers at Sevenbold and I have  been working on a redesign of scottberkun.com for the last few weeks. We’ll be launching the new design Monday morning. Things should go smoothly, but this is a warning just in case. Here’s a preview of what’s coming.

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Questions for a bad question

in ask berkun, Writing Well
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I regularly take the the top voted question from readers and answer it in a post. With 85 votes, today’s winner was: How do you create a reliable character in your story?  how do you create a deep, reliable personality? So they would seem real?  (Submitted by Elchanan Paley) I am going to do something I haven’t done […]

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I regularly take the the top voted question from readers and answer them in a post. With 62 votes, today’s winner was: How would you start a career tackling big world problems? It’s certainly a wonderful ambition. What’s concerning is much like the saying “I want to change the world” it’s more about ego than the world […]

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Nearly 10 years ago, on May 2 2005, I published my first book, originally titled The Art of Project Management. Due to an issue with the title it went out of print, and was republished again in 2007, in an updated and heavily revised edition, with the title Making Things Happen. Its been a very popular […]

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Why Bad Odds Can Be Good

in Philosophy
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Sometimes I have an idea for something I want to make. If I mention it to friends, eventually I’ll hear “that sounds interesting but odds of it working are slim to none” And I’ll think, yes, I agree. But then the idea stays on my mind, day after day. Slowly I realize I want to […]

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It was my friend Rich Grudman who first told me to read Bukowski. He gave me Post Office, about Bukowski’s drunken Kakfaesque experiences as as poet working with mail. It was good and I found an unusual kind of truth in it. There was something different about how he wrote. Unlike the majority of writers […]

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My 6th book, The Ghost of My Father, is on the home stretch. With the support of 200+ kickstarter backers, I finished the 4th draft over the weekend and the book is ready to go to the next step: Copyediting. I’ve worked with copyeditors on all of my books, including Mindfire, the only previous book […]

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This is an excerpt from the bestseller, The Myths of Innovation. You can read a summary of the entire book here. Why people believe the best wins Fairy tales and hero stories follow similar patterns: good guys win, bad guys lose, and people who do the right thing get nice prizes. These rules are pleasant, […]

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My Automattic Anniversary

in Year Without Pants
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Four years ago, on August 4th 2010, I was hired at Automattic, makers of WordPress.com, as the first leader of Team Social. It was the beginning of a journalistic writing project that would become The Year Without Pants, an Amazon.com best book of 2013. There were many crazy things about the idea which is why […]

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Later this month I’ll be speaking at a community arts event at Umqua bank in South Lake Union. You’ll get to sample some great cider from the Seattle Cider Company, learn about robots from DXARTS PhD candidate / artist  Meghan Trainor, and have a Q&A with me about creativity and writing. If you bring a […]

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How To Pitch Ideas Q&A

in General
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Last night I ran a workshop on How To Pitch Ideas, hosted by the wonderful folks (Llewyn Paine, Emilie Thaler and  Cathie Toshach) at the Seattle IXDA chapter. The topics covered were generated by the attendees themselves at the session and I promised I’d write up notes, which you are reading now. References: My popular essay: […]

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Vote On The Cover Design: Final Round

in Ghost
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More than 350 of you voted for the previous round of cover designs. Thanks for your feedback dearest readers. A few weeks have passed since then and I’m back today with what are likely the final cover concepts: only two to choose from. How exciting! Important: If you missed the kickstarter campaign, you can join this […]

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Snowpiercer: Movie Review

in movies
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I’m a fan of creative dystopia and when I saw the graphic novel Snowpiercer at Elliot Bay Books I immediately picked it up. The premise is ridiculous, but metaphoric: all the survivors of the human race are stuck on a train together, a train that must keep moving for everyone to survive. Go ridiculous metaphors! […]

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I regularly take the the top voted question from readers and answer them in a post. With 62 votes, today’s winner was: How Do you Get Out of A Bad Habit There is plenty of advice today about habits and how to change them. I’m no expert, and you can find plenty of well regarded books on […]

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Notes from World Domination Summit 2014

in General
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I speak Sunday spoke yesterday at the World Domination Summit in glorious Portland, Oregon. The event started Friday and it’s clear this is a most unusual event: there’s an energy that I’ve only seen a handful of times in the hundreds of events and conferences I’ve been to. It’s always a pleasure to speak to a crowd […]

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We love to blame the world because the world can’t blame us back. I recently read Sarah Gooding’s article titled Drowning in Data: When News is Noise. She feels information overloaded makes it hard to cultivate creativity. It’s a sweet article and you should read it, even if I disagree. She writes: It’s never been […]

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The doors of Paris: a photo essay

in On Tour
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I spent a few days in Paris last week (to speak at USI 14). For fun I took photos of every interesting door I walked by. I didn’t seek out interesting ones with a plan. I didn’t want to be deliberate about it. Instead I chose to pay attention as  I walked through the city. Doors […]

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