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Amazon's Black Eye: Broken System

Between 1 in 3 and 2 in 3 product reviews on Amazon.com are fake. They are bought and paid for. They are written by friends and family. They are swapped and traded on Facebook. They are incentivized from readers. Talking about this problem as I have for nearly 2 decades now has made me the repeat target of the thousands who make their living writing reviews, the millions of sellers who benefit from the fake praise and the dozens of Amazon employees working the system for personal and/or professional benefit.

Having reported problems with reviews to Amazon hundreds of times over decades and received repeated, direct retaliation from Amazon employees for doing so, I learned the hard way about the active involvement of Amazon employees in Amazon’s own marketplace, whether to ensure the success of themselves, family or associates or simply to ensure the failure of particular targets. This occurring repeatedly despite state and federal laws protecting those who report criminal activity, co…
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Shame on Science Fiction Writers of America (SFWA)

Beware those who do evil in the name of good, those who build bully pulpits so they can target and victimize. I wish I was talking about some totalitarian regime or corrupt corporation, instead I’m talking about Absolute Write run by Victoria Strauss and others. Absolute Write is a platform for hate and abuse created by those claiming to do good for the writing community. A platform for hate and abuse that claims affiliation with Science Fiction Writers of America (SFWA) to extend the reach of its harm, victimization and abuse.
For a number of years Absolute Write members and leaders indiscriminately targeted self-publishers as frauds, while membership of the Science Fiction Writers of America looked on and nodded their heads in agreement.
For a number of years Absolute Write members and leaders indiscriminately targeted those who used print on demand as frauds, while membership of the Science Fiction Writers of America looked on and nodded their heads in agreement.
For a number of y…

Adieu Pocket Consultant: A Tribute to the Books, the People & the Readers

I’ve been a writer for 30 years, having finished my first novel in 1986, and I’m no stranger to the ups and downs that come with the business. Heck, even though my work won awards in the interim, I didn’t truly break into publishing until 1995 when my first full-length work of nonfiction catapulted its way onto bestseller lists. That work was followed by a dozen other bestsellers, nearly all of which were published by Macmillan and distributed to the world by Simon & Schuster, that is until the business turned and I found myself at a crossroads.
The year was 1998 and I turned away from full-time writing for a short while to work for a Seattle-based startup. Around the same time, I jumped ship from Macmillan and an opportunity to write for Microsoft arose. Microsoft was working on a new series of books called Pocket Consultants. They needed writers who could write fast, clearly, concisely, authoritatively and just as important meet crazy timelines not just once or a few times but …

Cloud Matters: Amazon Web Services. Right For Your Company?

This is the third in a series of articles based on the popular Cloud Matters lecture series I’ve been giving to executives and their top staff at global Fortune 100, 500 and 1000 companies since 2015. These articles are for working pros at all levels and are delivered without icing and sprinkles. You’ll find the first article here.

Whether your organization is already in the cloud or looking to make a cloud move, an important question that needs answering is which service provider to choose. If you’ve looked at the field, you know there’s a veritable sea of options. Amazon Web Services, AWS, is one of these options and a dominate player in the cloud space.
Although AWS delivers a smorgasbord of services and solutions for many different types of cloud scenarios, AWS is especially well suited for Software As A Service (SAAS) and Platform As A Service (PAAS), making AWS a strong choice for mobile, app, and messaging solutions as well as platform development. AWS also is strongly positioned…

Cloud Matters: How Much Are You Overpaying for Cloud Services?

This is the second in a series of articles based on the popular Cloud Matters lecture series I’ve been giving to executives and their top staff at global Fortune 100, 500 and 1000 companies since 2015. These articles are for working pros at all levels and are delivered without icing and sprinkles. You’ll find the first article here.

The title question is a zinger, delivered with a grin when I’m told a client has gone with Amazon Web Services (AWS) and states they are paying X dollars for Y number of servers with Z discounts (or whatever other arrangements they’ve made). Of course, to be fair and honest, I do the same when clients tell me they’ve gone with Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure, VMWare, OpenStack or whatever. Because clients paying X for Y with a side of Z are getting gouged every day.
As an outside advisor, I don’t negotiate deals or terms for my clients, though I probably should. Companies like Cloudyn and its many lookalikes are charging a commission of 2 to 3 percent of th…

Cloud Matters: Is Your Company’s Future on the Line? Will a Cloud Mistake Cost Your Company Millions?

This is the first in a series of articles based on the popular Cloud Matters lecture series I’ve been giving to c-suite executives and their top staff at global Fortune 100, 500 and 1000 companies since 2015. These articles are for working pros at all levels and delivered without icing and sprinkles.

Whether your organization has moved, is moving, or wants to move to the cloud, odds are your management is congratulating themselves over all the money they are or will save now that they have or can fire all the IT staff, decommission all the servers, stop having to pay for so much tech training, etc. Just today, in fact, I saw another sky’s the limit graph in my LinkedIn feed showing the copious cloud savings for enterprises.

The graph showed a partially submerged iceberg. On the old school side of the graph, the iceberg was half out of the water, representing all the money enterprises were spending on IT staff, servers, training, etc. On the new school side of the graph, just a little …

Lifetime Achievement Award – 30+ Years of Books

Today I'm writing about finding success as a writer and my recent award for distinguished contributions in writing & American Letters. As a past recipient of awards for excellence in writing, merit and distinguished accomplishments, I'm honored to have been nominated. I’ve written nearly 200 full-length works since I completed my first novel in 1986, but it wasn’t until 1995 that I had a breakout hit that established me as a bestselling author.

I wrote those early books for Macmillan and have since had books published and/or distributed by Random House, Simon & Schuster, Hachette, Microsoft, O’Reilly, McGraw Hill, Pearson and others. My books have sold nearly 10 million copies worldwide and been translated into 34 languages, with well over $150 million in sales.


That type of success is the stuff of Willy Wonka’s wildest dreams. Still, as I wrote about in “How I Made This Crazy Thing Called Writing a Career”, wild success doesn’t always mean riches for the writer. Althoug…