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  • Michael Krakovskiy 3:39 am on October 10, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: anthropologist, Article, Beverly Hills High School, , , , , , Edmund 'Pat' Brown, , journalism teacher, Kenneth L. Peters, , Lead paragraph, Lede, Margaret Mead, Observation, , , Robert Maynard Hutchins, Sacramento, , , Writing   

    Burying the Lead 

    Every time I reread my blog posts, the same thought comes to my mind – “man, I buried the lead again”.

    I learned about leads from “Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die” by Chip and Dan Heath. It is a short book, but one that influenced me deeply. Every blogger out there should read it.

    Burying a lead“, in the jargon of journalists means boring the reader before getting to the juicy part. A “lead” or “lede” is the first sentence of the story.

    In the book, there’s an anecdote about a journalism teacher giving his students an assignment:

    ” … They would write the lead of a newspaper story. The teacher reeled off the facts: “Kenneth L. Peters, the principal of Beverly Hills High School, announced today that the entire school faculty will travel to Sacramento next Thursday for a colloquium in new teaching methods. Amnong the speakers will be anthropologist Margaret Mead, college president Dr. Robert Maynard Hutchins, and California governor Edmund ‘Pat’ Brown. ”

    Apparently, most students produced a lead that lumped all these facts into a single sentence. The teacher read all the submissions and then announced:

    “The lead to the story is ‘There will be no school next Thursday’ ”

    I am having a huge problem with writing in “inverted pyramid” style. The juicy parts of my posts are usually at the bottom.

    Think about it, most blog readers, especially the ones that matter suffer from add, and often do not get to the bottom of the article. This means they won’t link to it, won’t digg it.

    I am trying to improve, but writing is a difficult art to master. I just wish I took more writing classes.

  • Michael Krakovskiy 4:42 pm on July 26, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Copywriters, , , online copy, Online Copywriting, online writing, , Search engine optimization copywriting, , Web word wizardry, Web writing, , Writing   

    Persuasive Online Copywriting: How to Take Your Words to the Bank 

    Writing for the web. Web word wizardry. Web writing that works. What does that mean? Your online copy must persuade – it’s integral to getting your visitors or readers to register, subscribe, qualify as leads, and yes, even buy from you. It’s writing that must earn its keep. And to effectively manage the quality of your online writing, you need to understand what works, why it works and how to make it work better for you. Whether you are the marketer responsible for the bottom line or the writer creating the copy, Persuasive Online Copywriting provides the tools you need to get results.

  • Michael Krakovskiy 1:22 am on May 18, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Pens, , Rational temperament, smartphone, , , United States Army, , Writing, Writing instruments   

    Military Clip 

    A programmer’s job is full of stress. The worst part of this stress is that you can’t stop thinking about your problems, and continue working on them 24/7. Literally.

    I read a blog of a developer who quit and took a job as a waiter in a Mexican restaurant. Being a server is one of the most stressful professions in the world, but that stress stops at the end of the work day. Problems that programmers face never end at the end of the day, they continue into the night, the next day, week, and year. Unless you fix them, that is. Then you get to solve a whole different set of problems.

    Working as a developer is like solving SAT problems for 24 hours a day with long procrastination breaks. No wonder it’s a ghetto job.

    I’ve recently had a series of recurring dreams about fishing. I come out to the beach, cast, and immediately the beach is filled with other fishermen. They all cast as well, the lines tangle, it’s impossible to fish. This is exactly like locking MySQL queries that I’ve been battling as of late.

    I am a proponent of the Danny Sorenson method of stress reduction. This basically means that I go out and buy pens.

    The cool thing about my new job is that I work right near a fountain pen store and a cigar store (which also helps in stress reduction). My latest stress-reducing fountain pen purchase is kind of interesting.

    It’s a fountain pen with a “military clip“. You see, U. S. Army Regulation AR670-1, paragraph 1-9a(1) had the following passage:

    “Soldiers will ensure that articles carried in pockets do not protrude from the pocket or present a bulky appearance.”

    A clip on most pens would create a bulge on a uniform pocket. Pen manufacturers were forced to create special pens with a clip that would not cause this problem, like the one that I purchased.

    While treating me and my team to dinner, my boss’ boss, watching as I stuffed a bulky Treo 650 smartphone into the front pocket of my shirt, quipped — “As soon as you put anything into your front pocket you automatically become a nerd”. I guess U.S. Army regulations have a point…

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