The Beauty of Sales Copywriting

Sales copywriting is beautiful. Just as a sculptor whittles away a block of wood to reveal a figure, a copywriter carves and shapes the information until only the words that best represent the product or service remain—in a form that helps the customer understand how it will improve their life. In the hands of a noble writer, this can help a client find something that perfectly fits their needs and desires. It only becomes nefarious when it is used to sell things that don’t add value to the purchaser or the world. In this manner, copywriting is a neutral tool that can build as much as it can hurt.

You’ve Successfully Logged In

“You’ve successfully logged in” is pretty much like a waiter saying you’ve successfully entered a restaurant. Why not just say “Hello” or “Welcome back”?

I see this quite often in the user interfaces I audit. Somehow, when it comes to information systems, people discard any semblance of common sense and humanity the way they would would throw a banana peel into the compost.

Swim Lanes and More

There’s a nice chapter in the book “How to Make Sense of Any Mess” by Abby Covert that lists down different ways of representing information. It’s great if you want to expand your toolset.

Though I can readily make block diagrams, flow diagrams, mind maps, and hierarchy charts, I realized I’m not fully maximizing the use of things like swim lanes and quadrant diagrams to communicate data better.

Marie Kondo Ultra

It’s 2030. The world is in chaos. Rising from the ashes of a tumultuous decade, an extremist group spreads around the world forcibly organizing homes and discarding things that don’t spark joy–with or without the owner’s consent. They’re called the MKU or Marie Kondo Ultra. Their tenets evolved from a fundamentalist interpretation of Marie Kondo’s bestseller, which they consider sacred.

Power Concentration

40 families control 76% of the wealth in the Philippines. These families dominate politics because of their resources and influence and the way that our electoral process favors candidates who can spend the most funds. So unless we change how we elect our politicians, elections are always going to be an exercise in futility—a choice between the silent, yellow oppression of agricultural oligarchs or the overt, red oppression of violent populists.

I don’t know the answer though. Is it a parliamentary form of government where only ministers are directly elected to avoid the popularity trap, or campaign fund caps to avoid the graft and corruption trap?

Fixed Schedule Productivity

Cal Newport’s idea of “fixed-schedule productivity” is similar in principle to the personal finance idea of “pay yourself first.” Simply put, allocate for the most important things first and then work with what’s left.

For personal finance, take out a percentage of your income for savings and investment, then work with the rest. For time management, block out time for the most important work, then work with the rest.

The Glitchy Glory of “Into the Spiderverse”

Just when I’d about given up hope of experiencing something truly amazing in a cinema, here comes Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse in all its glitchy glory.

It’s damn near perfect and feels exactly like what a comic book movie is supposed to be—in both form and spirit.

While epic visuals are a staple of big budget Marvel movies, they can often feel manufactured and boastful—visuals for visuals sake. Into the Spiderverse is anything but. The look exudes heart; all the decisions feel deliberate—from the animation style reminiscent of stop motion and collage of art styles representing the different spideys and their worlds, to the little touches of comic book elements that can make you feel as if you’re living inside the page.

That’s not to say it isn’t epic. At times, I can’t believe the spectacle taking form in front of my eyes and how such a thing could have been created. I can’t get over how the movie brings to life the spirit of comic books without literally copying its form.

As far as plots go, it doesn’t stray very far from the Marvel formula. But the storytelling is superb; it does a good job of making its characters fun and relatable and unraveling the truth of its themes of hope, courage, and responsibility without being preachy. I also love how well it can rope you in and make you feel the confusing emotions and struggles of Morales as he comes to terms with his newfound powers. I won’t go too much into the characters to avoid spoilers so I advise you to just see it for yourself.

Beyond the story, I found the movie inspiring in three ways. One is how the individuals that made up the production team came together and combined their talents to produce something worthwhile. Second is how the envelope can always be pushed farther. Third is how the core theme of taking a leap of faith is so crucial to making great things happen, especially when creating something new.

If anything’s wrong with it, it was that the two and a half hours went by too quickly. Comic book movies will never be the same as this masterpiece sets the bar very high indeed. And I’m not even a Spiderman fan!

Ego Bait Headlines

I’ve noticed this type of headline cropping up, which I’ve taken to calling ego baits. The basic template is <some observable habit> is a sign of <some positive attribute>, and I think it works because it appeals to our vanity. The reader goes, “since I have <observable habit>, then I must be <positive attribute>”.

Other examples:
– Science Confirms, Night Owls More Intelligent
– Early Risers Tend to be More Successful