• Make shooting fish in a barrel seem interesting and insightful. Facebook is evil, Amazon is rapacious.
  • Layer financial analysis into your big claims – talking about valuation, share price, cash flows is impressive.
  • Stick to your stock phrases and concept models. Eventually, they’ll stick. Or, if people don’t laugh at them and repeat them, you can come up with new ones. Own a category and the associated words.
  • Make definitive statements, e.g., Microsoft will burry Slack with teams, like they did Netscape.
  • Find a contrary position that promotes a social good. Or just a contrarian position.
  • Find a position that other pundits don’t have. The “blue ocean” thing. Scott Galloway likes the idea that tech people could easily decide to do social good, but don’t because there’s no profit and there’s no punishment.
  • Point out that people can just actually do things, that it’d be easy to solve problems if you tried. This is a Matthew Yglesias rhetorical trick. The unspoken implication is that they choose not to and are hypocrites or, at best, flaccid.
  • Convert a year’s worth of blog posts, newsletter missives, etc. into a book.
  • Make predictions, wild ones. People love predictions and it truly doesn’t matter if they come true or not.
  • Be independent, not unbiased. To make all these wild-claims you need financial security (or to not care about it) so you can lash-out, er, comment on every opportunity.
  • Always unmask motivations instead of attacking a person’s character – explain why people (or movements) are motivated to do something, not that they’re bad people. Once you explain why they’re motivated to do something:
  • Point out how the rival position leads to unintended consequences, often contradicting the original goals. Too much NIMBY leads to a housing shortage, pushing less wealthy people out of the neighborhood, increasing gentrification, driving wealthy people into your neighborhood and developers to only make sure bets instead of novel ones – now you’re the bourgeoisie!
  • Pointing out that “the medium is the message” (people’s desires and how they express/pursue them in the world shapes what they do and create, regardless of the Truth of the matter) gets them agog every time.
  • Most importantly: never answer the question you were asked, answer the question you wished you were asked and that you have an answer for.
  • However: 15% to 20% of the time let yourself make shit up and just go into a screed of disjoint nonsense that’s poetic and invigorating. We value and respect the insane, inchoate genius more than we’d like to admit. People need a break form being serious all the time to stay sane.

See most all of them in action here.