Autumn Update and Upcoming Publications

It’s been a good couple of weeks.

Where most of the writing and publishing I’ve done this year has been decidedly non-fiction (such as reporting on cryptocurrencies over at Hackernoon), the last few weeks have been fiction-focused.

Since the end of Sept, I’ve landed three upcoming publications:

“The World’s a Junkheap and We’re All Visitors Here” (a short science fiction piece) will be appearing in Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine around Christmas 2019.

“The Perfect Model” (a short horror fiction piece) will be appearing in the Pride: Seven Deadly Sins anthology coming out by Blackhare Press later in 2019.

“Oxygen Charges May Apply” (a flash science fiction piece written as an advertisement) will be appearing in Mad Scientist Journal‘s final quarterly publication in early 2020.


Both science fiction pieces are paid publications, which is a nice little bonus, while the horror piece acceptance opens up the submissions window to Blakhare’s paid anthologies which is an interesting twist on the submission process.

We need to stop using the word disruptive (really)

Photo by Yosh Ginsu on Unsplash. Now that’s disruptive.

Tell me you haven’t read this one before.

Disruptive innovation. Disruptive marketing. Industry disruption. Young disrupters.

And on, and on.

I’m starting to see this world used everywhere, but really, for the past couple of years, the tech industry has been the number one offender.

Honestly, people in the industry need to grow up. Or maybe grow a back bone and stop using stupid, empty buzzwords that sound bigger than they are.

Think about what this word really means. The kind of images it should conjure.

Disruptive is your uncle over the holidays after he had one too many and someone says the word “socialism.”  Disruptive is a pig running loose in a china shop chased by two bumbling bobbies. Or the music your teenager’s band makes in the garage.

When it was first used by tech companies, in the late 90s and early aughts, it was a fairly reserved used, used only for new technology that verifiably, and justifiably, disrupted an industry.

You know, as in turned up the tables and changed the way things were done. They probably caused a mess, but after it happened there was no way of going back.

We can probably use this term, without sad sarcasm, to describe what cell phones did to communication, Uber did to transport and AirBnb did to renting property.

Note that while these innovations have been truly been game changing, they haven’t been without disruptive consequences.

Cell phones are driving us into increasingly isolated little shells, where we spend most of our time glued to small screens waiting for the next adrenaline rush of seeing that little 1 in a bubble pop up.

Uber has made hailing a cab from the middle of nowhere literally the easiest thing ever, while also producing a whole class of poorly paid people (without benefits) to drive the rest of us around.

And AirBnb? Well, say hello to skyrocketing rent and turbo-charge gentrification of literally every city or nice town out there.

Those were truly disruptive changes not just to industries but to the way people go about their days and live.

Since then, disruptive has come to mean anything from “new”, “innovative”, “cool”, “engaging” or whatever adjective that’s currently the flavour of the week.

In their continual reliance on this word, it only shows how tech companies are slow to innovate when it comes to branding, copywriting, and even understanding the sense of worth (or lack thereof) in the products they are delivering.

One also suspects that if a company is slow to innovate there, just another sad startup following the pack, that whatever product they are pushing is likely also… sad.

I suppose the saddest part is that my rant isn’t new. I’ve begun noticing similar aggravation from news outlets for a couple of years.

Forbes made a declaration against the word in 2017.

The Guardian, in 2016.

Hell, as early as 2014, NYMag.com was calling out the bullshit on this term.

That’s five years ago for fuck’s sake.

And there’s been no end. Even this week, I’ve seen fellow marketers use the word “disruptive” to describe their services (and some even have the audacity to name their agencies that way).

If all you’re offering is more of the same, but a simpler, easier, less stressful way of doing something people are already doing, are you sure disruptive is the right word?

Do you perhaps means “cozy” instead?

The bottom line: sing words that sound edgy, doesn’t make a product edgy, nor the person peddling it. It makes them sound like a charlatan, a poser, a wannabe, maybe even a has-been who can’t afford to think creatively anymore.

Using words like “disruptive” in 2019 certainly doesn’t make a company or person seem like a leader, or someone who I’d be willing to trust or listen to beyond their initial pitch.

At this point, I think it’s only a matter of time before we start seeing phone providers calling their services “evil”, brunch spots with “scandalous” menus, and email automation software that’s being billed as the “fucking antichrist” of software.

The only thing truly disruptive about the word would be if we stopped using it altogether.

Google Ads Giving Strange Errors? Check Your Account Permissions

I’m no stranger to seeing Google suite and other products go down or turn up a good old 404 error like a novice website.

Today, I hit something different in AdWords (Errr, I mean Google Ads) while trying to create a campaign.

It’s not down, there are no messages appearing on the site, and the official Twitter account is quiet, but…

I think something went wrong. I think something went wrong. I think something went wrong. I think something went wrong.

You think an error might have occurred? It only says so four times.

However, what went wrong?

I suspect this space is usually reserved for the explanation as to what went wrong, but instead all I’ve got today Google’s panic voice.

To make sure something really go wrong, I went back to check to see if I really made an error, but everything is copacetic.

To further test if something is up, I rebooted my com, signed in and out, changed computers and the same thing every time.

The real breakthrough came when a colleague who is also managing the account attempted to create a campaign…

And he was successful!

That narrowed it down to my account being the culprit.

From there, it was a quick check up user an administrator under Tools and Settings > Setup > Account Access.

It turns out someone had accidentally set my account permissions to “read-only” – meaning, I could review the data in Google Ads, but couldn’t make any changes.

Those types of permissions were only every used for clients, so it seems something went wrong when setting up a client account.

Of course, it would have been nice if Google Ads had been able to tell me this was the case. It could have saved 10 minutes of head-scratching and running around.

So the next time you get a bunch of weird, unexplained errors, review your account permissions.