Simon Willison’s Weblog


8 items tagged “communication”


If you give feedback that isn’t constructive your feedback is worthless. I know that sounds harsh but it is. If you give unconstructive feedback you might as well not be saying anything. If you just look at something and go “That’s stupid” or “I don’t like that”—that’s worthless feedback, nobody can do anything with that. They’re not going to start throwing darts against the wall until you say “Oh OK, I like that”. You have to say something more.

Timothy Cain # 5th June 2023, 4:58 pm


Writing for distributed teams (via) Vicki Boykis describes how she only sent 11 emails during her first 12 months working at Automattic, because the company culture there revolves around asynchronous communication through durable writing using the P2 custom WordPress theme. “This is a completely different paradigm than I’ve ever worked in, which has been a world usually riddled with information lost to Slack, Confluence, and dozens of email re:re:res.” # 6th October 2021, 6:29 pm

It’s perhaps a very English thing to find it hard to accept kind words about oneself. If anyone praised me in my early days as a comedy performer I would say, “Oh, nonsense. Shut up. No really, I was dreadful.” I remember going through this red-faced shuffle in the presence of the mighty John Cleese who upbraided me the moment we were alone. ‘You genuinely think you’re being polite and modest, don’t you?’ ‘Well, you know …’ ‘Don’t you see that when someone hears their compliments contradicted they naturally assume that you must think them a fool? [..] ‘It’s so simple. You just say thank you. You just thank them. How hard is that?’

Stephen Fry # 23rd August 2021, 10:33 pm

No feigning surprise (via) Don’t feign surprise if someone doesn’t know something that you think they should know. Even better: even if you are surprised, don’t let them know! “When people feign surprise, it’s usually to make them feel better about themselves and others feel worse.” # 17th May 2021, 4:30 pm


If you have to repeat yourself, you weren’t clear enough the first time. However, if you’re talking about something brand new, you may have to repeat yourself for years before you’re heard. Pick your repeats wisely.

The Basecamp Guide to Internal Communication # 25th July 2020, 3:07 pm


This is when I pull out “we don’t do that here.” It is a conversation ender. If you are the newcomer and someone who has been around a long time says “we don’t do that here”, it is hard to argue. This sentence doesn’t push my morality on anyone. If they want to do whatever it is elsewhere, I’m not telling them not to. I’m just cluing them into the local culture and values.

Aja Hammerly # 5th August 2019, 3:59 pm

The Behavioral Change Stairway Model. BCSM is the FBI’s model for crisis negotiation, but it looks like it could be a useful negotiation framework for all kinds of other conflict mediation as well. # 19th April 2019, 5:46 pm


Mobile Device Connectivity to Exchange using IMAP vs Exchange ActiveSync (via) I count 14 instances of “experience” in this 1,000 word blog entry. Do real people talk like this? # 12th July 2007, 5:17 pm