Elizabeth Spiers

journalist & digital media expert

Category: Uncategorized

KittySitterbot 1.0

We just got James (our 4 month old kitten) one of these:   It basically shoots a laser around the room in a random pattern for 15 minutes.  James LOVES it and it’s a good distraction for him while we’re trying to eat or do anything where we’d rather not have him immediately underfoot. But […]

Your Two Jobs as a Manager

Over the years I’ve ended up hiring and training a lot of people in their first jobs as a manager, and I always tell them they have two responsibilities: to set clear expectations and to reduce uncertainty for their teams. (I think this is true of anyone in management, but if you’re a founder / […]

The List

I’m not going to attempt to make The List a consistent feature, because that would be too much like obligatory blogging, which sucks the fun out of it for me. So here’s a new one, and the next one will be published … whenever. DISGRACED on Broadway We don’t see a lot of theater–not as […]

What Women Deserve

If you read nothing else this week, please go read Kathy Sierra’s extensive detailing of the nightmare she’s endured since she was doxxed by weev years ago. (Sierra, if you’re not familiar with her, is the co-founder of the Head First series of programming books and a former game developer.) In it, she gets at […]

Bad Writing by Smart People

I just stumbled across an excerpt from Steven Pinker’s book, Why Academics Stink at Writing, in the Chronicle of Higher Education (via Jason Hirschhorn’s Media Redefined newsletter) and it provides an epic analysis of why academic writing is so bad–mostly hinging on the notion that academic writing is often more concerned with self-presentation than clarity in […]

Thanks, Ryan!

A quick but very big thank you to Ryan Frew of Orien Creative who’s been helping me clean up this site while working on his own. (There will be some design changes shortly.) Ryan describes Orien thusly: “The goal of this little hobby startup is to build nice inexpensive websites for people who can’t afford to go […]

“I am not a charity. I run one.”

Nancy Lublin runs DoSomething.org and was the founder of Dress for Success. I met her a couple of years ago via The National Committee on US/China Relations where we’re both YLF fellows, and she’s smart, funny and very direct, which I particularly appreciate because I like to work with people who are, and I think […]

Minimum Viable Personal Branding for Writers and Journalists

I think I’ve articulated how I feel about conscious efforts at “personal branding” before–if you have to put a lot of effort into it, your work may be lacking–but the question of whether it’s important generally has come up a couple of times in the MFA class I teach, and in talks to j-school students, so below are […]

Wednesday’s List of Random Things

Per my promise to shamelessly rip off Lock’s Tuesday List: BEN LERNER’S 10:04 I read Ben Lerner’s new novel in Miami, while escaping New York, which I probably failed to do in any real mental sense because the book is set firmly in the New York that is most familiar to me: yuppie creative class […]


In the early days of commercial blogging, a certain web publisher who is not Nick Denton made some noise about suing websites with URLs that used “-ist.com” as a suffix on the basis that he believed that it was some sort of trademark-infringement-in-spirit of his network of sites, the URLs of which terminated that way.** I […]