Assignment #1: "Hire the Better Writer"

Format: Individual
Goal: To explore writing styles used by popular bloggers
Contents: Each student researches 3 bloggers and responds in writing to the questions below.
Deliverables: Approx 3 Page paper


The title of this assignment comes from an interview with Jason Fried ( on Hiring Practices. You can listen to a short audio clip (2:43) in mp3 format Jason on Hiring. He blogged on the same topic here:

“If you are trying to decide between a few people to fill your position, always hire the better writer. I don’t care if that person is a designer, programmer, marketer, salesperson, whatever. Assuming your candidates are fairly equally skilled and qualified overall, always hire the better writer.” (

If you aren't a fan, let's look at some posts from my favorite blogger Seth Godin:

"..when I hire someone, or go to the doctor or the architect or an engineer, I could care less about how good they are at memorizing or looking up facts. I want them to be great at synthesizing ideas, the faster and more insightfully, the better." (

"Steven Johnson has done some interesting…research on the complexity of the work of a few writers. Basically, short, simple sentences not only sell more books, but spread ideas farther and faster." (

Still not convinced?

Read Steven Johnson's research based on statistics available on While it's "research", it's an interesting and thought provoking post about the power of short sentences. (


In this assignment, each student will explore the writing of "professional bloggers" to better understand how they have settled on a writing style. Select 3 blogs using the "best of" lists below. Be sure to only select blogs written by one person with a very clear point of view. Also, do not select blogs that you already read on a regular basis. Select blogs that are unfamiliar to you.

Choices are:


For the written assignment, respond to the questions below. There are no page limits but I would guess this will take no more than 3 pages for a proper response to all 5 questions. You can respond to each question separately for all blogs studied or you can write a general 'paper' and answer the questions in your paper. The writing does not need to be formal like a term paper. You can continue to use the style you use for your blog posts.

  1. How would you describe the writing style of the blogger? Does he/she follow the "short sentences" philosophy? How long/short are the author's posts?
  2. Explore how the author's writing style has evolved over time. Look for the earliest available post for this blogger. Compare two or three early posts with current posts. Do you see a difference?
  3. What type of posts attract the most comments and "trackback" links (links from other blog or websites to the post)? Find several examples of posts with lots of comments ("lots" will be relative depending on the blog you are reading) and other examples with no comments (or almost no comments). Is the writing different for those posts with lots of comments?
  4. What "gadgets" are included on the blog? Advertising? Photo Slideshows? Tag Clouds? Popular Posts? Do these gadgets impact the readability of the blog? Do they change the way the author presents himself/herself to the readers? Do the gadgets "support" the information in the blogger's profile?
  5. Based on your analysis, which blogger would you hire and why?


Excellent Blog Post titled "Six Common Punctuation Errors that Bedevil Bloggers"

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