A Proud Sad-Sack

Leave a comment
scienceisthecoolest / self reflection

Embracing negativity may also have social benefits. Compared with cheery moods, bad moods have been linked to a more effective communication style, and sadness has been linked to less reliance on negative stereotypes. Feeling down can make us behave more fairly, too. People who saw sad video clips before playing an allocation game were more generous with their partners than those who saw happy clips.


Loved Into Being

Leave a comment

All of us have special ones who have loved us into being. Would you just take, along with me, ten seconds to think of the people who have helped you become who you are. Those who have cared about you and wanted what was best for you in life. Ten seconds of silence. I’ll watch the time.

Fred Rogers.

Sales Email Copy

Leave a comment

We try a ton of things to spread the word about NOBL.

Last year, we tried a cold email campaign. We emailed complete strangers that we thought might be trying to make radical change in their organizations.

Email No. 1 – We can help, Megan


I found you via LinkedIn and I promise I can make this email worth your time and attention.

Work as we know it isn’t working. 67% of employees are disengaged. 72% of millennials feel their employers aren’t getting the most out of their skills. 1 in every 2 employees quits because of a bad manager. On average, employees waste 31 hours a month in useless meetings.

Organizations such as Levi’s, Taco Bell, Reddit, and Calvin Klein have trusted their teams to my firm, NOBL. In a world of overpriced consultants and endless survey tools, we’re different. We’re committed to being the fastest, most effective, and most affordable way to help your teams be their most creative and capable. If you have an ambition, we can help you reach it.

For established firms like yours, we’ve pushed engagement scores up 12% in just 30 days, meaningfully increased retention in 90 days, and boosted productivity by more than 25% after four months.

I’m sure your inbox is overflowing and your calendar is full. All I need is 30 minutes to show you that we can help you and your teams do more than you even think you’re capable of.

If you have no interest at all in hearing more, please let me know. If you are interested, just reply with a day/time for a call and we’ll make it work on our end.

Sincerely, thank you for the time you’ve already given me.

Email No. 2 – Megan?


Here I am, again, in your inbox.

You haven’t responded yet, likely because:

  1. You’re interested but you’re super busy
  2. You’re not interested and you’re hoping I’ll go away on my own (like when it’s Halloween but you forgot to buy candy for the neighbors so you turn the lights off)
  3. You’re trapped under a piece of office furniture unable to reach help

Which is it? If it’s #3, we’ll dispatch a border collie named Molly to save you. Hang in there!

In the meantime, check out Future of Work – our collection of new ways of working.

Email No. 3 – Megan, are you there?


Ok, we sent Molly to save you but now, well, we’ve lost Molly. This is embarrassing, but have you seen her? She is a cheap Lassie knock-off and has no idea that her name is Molly.

This whole situation reminds me of that time we helped a client discover an immediate $15MM opportunity just by visiting their retail team with them. Or that time we helped one of the fastest growing fashion retailers reach profitability. Well, no, those are actually case studies I could send you if you’re interested.

Or we could just hop on the phone for 30 minutes?

Email No. 4 – Megan, things are getting weird.


Good news! We’ve found Molly!

You see, when we didn’t hear from you or her, we sent a mongoose named Moose after you both. We lost him but then we sent a Bear that’s called Claire, but she was tranquilized when she wandered into a nearby office park. Then came a Koala named Gowalla, a Kangaroo that can play the didgeridoo (but his name’s just Clark), a mouse that once starred in an off-off-off Broadway rendition of Faust, and then, with all of our options exhausted, we asked the intern to take the bus to the dog park Molly likes the most. With all honesty, I don’t know the intern’s name.

But, eureeka!

Yes, this is all an elaborate ploy for your attention.

Did it work?

Email No. 5 – We give up, Megan.

Oh, Megan.

It looks like this wasn’t meant to be.

Molly, Moose, Claire, Gowalla, Clark, that mouse, and the intern (his name was Alex! or was it Andrew?) are sorry that their efforts just weren’t good enough.

They’ve all been fired.

I’m sure it was a good decision, but I’m concerned about how we’ll ever find another mouse that does such an accurate Othello.

No more emails from us, promise.

Self-Observation and Loneliness

Leave a comment
self reflection

I hate that by sharing this video it seems like I’m intelligence-signaling. I’m not. I honestly feel less intelligent by the day (this is partly the side effect of working alongside brilliant people). But there’s truth here. I am a person who spends most of his life in self-observation, wrapped up with self-honesty. It’s a lonely place at times.

I’m sharing this to communicate a simple message. A simple message best said by, of course, Kurt Vonnegut:

“I feel and think much as you do, care about many of the things you care about, although most people do not care about them. You are not alone.”

You aren’t alone. If you ever need community, even momentarily, I’m here.

The Nationalist’s Delusion

Leave a comment

Trumpism emerged from a haze of delusion, denial, pride, and cruelty—not as a historical anomaly, but as a profoundly American phenomenon. This explains both how tens of millions of white Americans could pull the lever for a candidate running on a racist platform and justify doing so, and why a predominantly white political class would search so desperately for an alternative explanation for what it had just seen. To acknowledge the centrality of racial inequality to American democracy is to question its legitimacy—so it must be denied.

Adam Serwer.