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April 20, 2021 -

Reading Time: 2 minutes

I am a person who loves to work late into the night. I’m busy during the day, with phone calls and text messages and assignments and meetings, so my productivity and focus is lower than it should be. Once the sun sets and everyone goes to bed, a peaceful calm descends, creating a serene environment for reading, working, studying, whatever it might be.

The problem with working late is the waking up part. If you start work in the afternoon, then fine. But, if like me, you still need to wake up relatively early in the morning to head to work, then you’ve probably suffered from sleepiness or even dozed off from time to time.

We already know that sleep is imperative to our health, energy, thinking, and other cognitive abilities, but cheating on a full night’s rest is easy to do because it seems like the consequences will be short term: “I’ll be tired tomorrow. I can deal with it.” But it looks like that’s the wrong answer.

I first heard of a possible link between Alzheimer’s and lack of sleep many years ago. Since then, I’ve heard unscientific anecdotes about how many people in seniors’ care homes with dementia had demanding careers and senior positions with lots of responsibility. There was already speculation that years of just a few hours’ sleep may have caught up to them.

Then I saw this from the New York Times: Sleeping Too Little in Middle-Age May Raise Dementia Risk, Study Finds. It’s the first large study to draw such a strong connection between sleep and memory loss:

It followed nearly 8,000 people in Britain for about 25 years, beginning when they were 50 years old. It found that those who consistently reported sleeping six hours or less on an average weeknight were about 30 percent more likely than people who regularly got seven hours sleep (defined as “normal” sleep in the study) to be diagnosed with dementia nearly three decades later.

“It would be really unlikely that almost three decades earlier, this sleep was a symptom of dementia, so it’s a great study in providing strong evidence that sleep is really a risk factor,” said Dr. Kristine Yaffe, a professor of neurology and psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco, who was not involved in the study.

If you take pride at how much you can accomplish on such little sleep, read this — now. The article details how the study was conducted and how other variables that could have impacted the results were removed, so you can make up your own conclusions.

It’s a scary read, but better to come across it now than when it’s too late.

March 11, 2021 -

Reading Time: < 1 minute

This was just too funny not to share.

A satirical Twitter account (which I’m very late to discovering) called VC’s Congratulating Themselves makes fun of VCs for their gaffes, adoration of money, ginormous egos, and occasional tone-deaf public statements. It’s definitely worth following for a bit of humor while doomscrolling.

Jason Calacanis, a well-known investor who has literally made billions betting on startups, is unquestionably successful. But in the Silicon Valley VC world, it’s not enough to be rich and successful — they want to make sure you know how rich and successful they are.


December 19, 2020 -

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Big news dropped on Friday regarding Microsoft’s plans to develop new Arm processors for its servers, and maybe even its popular laptop computers.

From Bloomberg:

The world’s largest software maker is using Arm Ltd. designs to produce a processor that will be used in its data centers, according to people familiar with the plans. It’s also exploring using another chip that would power some of its Surface line of personal computers. The people asked not to be identified discussing private initiatives. Intel’s stock dropped 6.3% to close at $47.46 in New York, leaving it down 21% this year.

If you’ve been paying attention to the technology space this year, this news shouldn’t come as a huge surprise. It comes mere weeks after new Apple computers running proprietary Apple processors were released, trouncing many high-end, ridiculously expensive machines with much more powerful chips.

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October 29, 2020 -

Reading Time: 2 minutes

I came across Marques Brownlee, a.k.a. MKBHD, earlier this year when he was mentioned in the comments of some article I was reading. Curious, I clicked through to his YouTube channel and ended up subscribing.

It turns out MKBHD is a YouTube star with nearly 13 million subscribers — and I can understand why. Brownlee has an earnestness and humility about him that is endearing and builds trust, which is crucial for anybody doing product reviews. I’ve watched several of his videos since that day, and found his coverage to be fair, easy to understand, and thorough. It’s a nice contrast to the legions of YouTubers who rely on yelling at the camera, stunts, fancy graphics or by manufacturing controversy.

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October 25, 2020 -

Reading Time: 3 minutes

I have to admit, I was a bit disappointed by the new documentary White Noise, which was recently released by The Atlantic. I first learned of the doc from an article in the same publication titled “Why the Alt-Right’s Most Famous Woman Disappeared” by Daniel Lombroso, which profiled a young woman named Lauren Southern. Despite following news and politics pretty closely, it was the first time I had come across her name. What surprised me, though, is she hails from Surrey, British Columbia, which is part of Greater Vancouver. She grew up in the same environment I did.

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September 30, 2020 -

Reading Time: 2 minutes

The rise of newsletters, which has been underway for several years now, is finally on the media’s radar. They’ve become a legit path for journalists to pursue their own beats at their own pace while building their own audiences. The latest is Casey Newton, longtime technology reporter for The Verge and writer of The Interface. Newton recently announced he would launch a newsletter on Substack called Platformer on October 5.

He writes:

Something special happens when a publication shrinks down all the way to a single reporter’s point of view. The publication feels more trustworthy: you know who the writer is, and where they’re coming from. It promotes expertise: the reporter is free to explore their given subject at great depth, sharing what they learn in an iterative way. And because their publications are about something specific, they can create real communities. Intimate, fascinating, generative communities.

No doubt Newton has the chops to pull this off. He has the name recognition, deep knowledge of his subject area, a great network of contacts, and the dedication and discipline to make it a success. Then there’s the matter of timeliness: Newton says the newsletter will focus on the intersection of social networks and democracy, something not well understood yet critical to elections and the long-term sustainability of democracy.

I heartily support journalists who take this step, and have long admired and subscribed to two of the best who helped blaze this new path to profitable newsletters: Ben Thompson from Stratechery and Bill Bishop of Sinocism. That said, it feels like there is a clear limit to how many newsletters people can — or would want — to subscribe to. There will be a point at which it will be exceedingly difficult to break through if you don’t have name recognition already. I don’t know where that point is, but it’s possible we’re already at it.

Regardless, I’m rooting for Newton. I’ve signed up for the annual plan and already look forward to his first installment next month.

September 23, 2020 -

Reading Time: < 1 minute

Chinese President Xi Jinping blasting the United States and calling for solidarity in the fight against COVID-19 at the United Nations on September 22 (emphasis added by me):

All countries are closely connected and we share a common future. No country can gain from others’ difficulties or maintain stability by taking advantage of others’ troubles. To pursue a beggar-thy-neighbor policy or just watch from a safe distance when others are in danger will eventually land one in the same trouble faced by others. This is why we should embrace the vision of a community with a shared future in which everyone is bound together. We should reject attempts to build blocs to keep others out and oppose a zero-sum approach. We should see each other as members of the same big family, pursue win-win cooperation, and rise above ideological disputes and do not fall into the trap of “clash of civilizations”. More importantly, we should respect a country’s independent choice of development path and model.

So who in China made an ‘independent choice’ about any of those things?

September 2, 2020 -

Reading Time: 3 minutes

You can now listen to blog posts on CamMacMurchy.com by using the player below, or subscribing to the “CamMacMurchy.com… with Sound” podcast in your favorite podcast app.

Back in the 1980s and ‘90s, flight simulators were a cool way to show off the potential of personal computers. I remember fiddling with the Microsoft Flight Simulator sometime in the 1990s and thinking it was great. My dad, who spent his entire career working for an airline (not as a pilot, though) was so impressed he wanted to give it a shot, too.

How quaint we were.

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August 17, 2020 -

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Ewan and I had a great discussion last night on the PR & Law Podcast about the case of Steve Easterbrook, who was ousted as the CEO of McDonald’s in November of 2019 for having a consensual relationship with a McDonald’s employee. Consensual or not, he found himself in trouble because McDonald’s internal policies prohibited relationships with a large power dynamic at play. Easterbrook admitted that he made a mistake, apologized to staff, accepted a roughly $40 million dollar golden parachute, and went away. Case closed.

Easterbrook isn’t the first powerful male CEO to end up in scandal — it’s happened enough times that there’s already a PR playbook for it: oust the CEO, pay him to go away, and make announcements about moving on and doing better. That trusty playbook has long encouraged companies to get the embarrassing CEO out of the headlines as soon as possible, and thus limit any reputational damage to the company.

McDonald’s, though, is going a different direction. Earlier this month McDonald’s management was tipped off that Easterbrook didn’t just have one consensual relationship with a staffer — he possibly had as many as four within the span of a year. McDonald’s, which has been trying to clean up the office culture following several allegations of sexual harassment in recent years, has taken the unusual step of re-opening the case and demanding its money back.

I could write a lengthy post here about why this case is fascinating, what kind of signal this sends to future leaders and employees, and why it’s so risky for McDonald’s, but it’s much easier to listen to the discussion below.

If you’re into this kind of corporate drama, with its implication on both employment law and public relations, this is an episode you won’t want to miss.

Listen to the show below, or subscribe for free in your favorite podcast app.

August 4, 2020 -

Reading Time: 40 minutes

I mentioned earlier that I’ve launched a podcast with a good friend of mine, Ewan Christie, an employment lawyer in Toronto, Canada. We had worked on The Nanfang together many years ago, and have kept in touch regularly since we shuttered the site at the end of 2016. Earlier this year, we decided to launch a podcast that features a lot of the material we discussed during regular weekend conversations.

The podcast is a work-in-progress, but as we record more shows they’re slowly improving. We had a blast this week because PR veteran Edward Segal joined to talk about a number of PR issues facing companies today. Segal just released a new book called Crisis Ahead: 101 Ways to Prepare for and Bounce Back from Disasters, Scandals, and Other Emergencies, and dispensed some pretty practical advice for communications people as they wrestle with a global pandemic, a tech backlash, Black Lives Matter, and economic calamity. Ewan, who addresses legal issues each week, also talked about how COVID-19 is already changing how employment contracts are written up and what people should look for before signing on the dotted line.

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