Mean

An uncut scene from Bridesmaids where Kristen Wiig and the teenager argue in the jewelry store. This is improv at its best! Who says Americans can get in each other’s face?

YouTube comments:

“This girl was only 14 when she held her own with a professional comedian for 10 minutes.”

“Kristen Wiig is an absolute improv genius and not afraid to set herself up as the punching bag for the little girl.”

“They clearly were having way too much fun with this scene. Mia starts to smile too much because it’s such a joy to go so unhinged on somebody. The director probably said to go in there and completely go off on her but don’t overlap lines so we can edit. The editors probably had too much fun with this scene too. Can you blame any of them?”

“Props to Kristen but that girl annihilated her.”

Do it right the first time

The (American) Black Forest Family. “Between Jonathan and me, we have 12 years of collective work experience in Germany. And during that time, German work culture has taught us a lot about work values and the atmosphere of employment in Germany, and how different it is from working in the United States.

Some of these are monumental (like parental leave in Germany, work/life balance, and sick leave) and some of them are small nuances (like work habits and break time). But collectively, our experience of working in Germany has made us better employees and strengthened our relationships with our colleagues. Let’s explore them together.”

Jump to 9:40 about: German “do it right the first time” vs. American “just go.”

80% self-censor

7 April 2022. New York Times:

“There is now little doubt that students frequently bite their tongues because they feel unsafe. A 2021 survey of more than 37,000 college students — by far the largest on free expression to date — found that more than 80 percent of students censor their own viewpoints at least some of the time, while roughly one in five students regularly do so. Meanwhile, only 40 percent of students say that they are comfortable openly disagreeing with their professors.”

Yes, hypersensitivity on American university campuses is well-known. What does this have to do with communication and feedback within American companies? Everything. Political correctness, like it or dislike it, has been a growing force in the United States for several decades.

Tesla Giga Factory Berlin

Elon Musk wanted the factory in Germany. Why? Great automobile culture. Largest economy in Europe. Central geographic location. And, perhaps most importantly, great engineers. It makes you wonder what Henry Ford would have thought of this.

YouTube comments:

“This might just be the coolest car related video ever made. I can just imagine the person in the production meeting that suggested this and you just know when Elon heard about it he was like ‘Yep that’s sick’.”

“Tesla makes the best car commercials without making car commercials.”

“One of the best process walkthroughs I have ever seen. Amazing footage. Amazing piloting. Amazing process. Well done!”

“I’m a Tesla employee in Berlin and I was there on our ceremonial day. I can say that I saw with my bare eyes the guy who is controlling the drone. He has some amazing skills, so this video is made by him and its not fake. Cheers!”

“Super common with this breed”

The vet should have stopped after she got the dog-owner to accept the first three. Here are some funny comments:

“for anyone who thinks that eye removal joke is an exaggeration my mom’s yorkie almost had her eyes removed by the vet after years of treatment when another vet cured them easily with some drops and a cream”

“Sounds surprising similar to the last time I took my car in to the mechanic for a “general check-up.”

“When my dog started to have trouble walking the vet touched his belly for like one minute and told me he only has 3 months to live. Charged me $80 for it. He did die 3 months later tho so thanks for the heads up”

anecdote

From Merriam-Webster: a usually short narrative of an interesting, amusing, or biographical incident. Synonyms: story, tale.

The artful placement of an anecdote is key to being persuasive in the American culture. Stories are convincing. They speak to our experience. Storytelling. Great leaders in business, politics, culture know how to speak to the imagination of their audience. Listen to former President Bill Clinton speak at the funeral service for Aretha Franklin:

The Byzantine official Procopius wrote three historical works in Greek. In the first two, he dealt with wars and public works projects, but the third was something of a departure from this kind of history. Referred to as “Anekdota,” from the Greek a-meaning “not,” and ekdidonai, meaning “to publish,” it contained bitter attacks on the emperor Justinian, his wife, and other notables of contemporary Constantinople. 

Clinton’s nominating speech at the 2012 Democratic Convention nominating Barack Obama for a second term as president is considered a masterpiece in persuasion. It is full of fascinating anecdotes.

1990. Bush. Gorbatschow.

Robert Zoellick, former Deputy Secretary of State under President George H. Bush, addresses Putin’s claim that the West broke a promise it made in the 1990s not to expand NATO.

This is about the topic Agreements, and the American logic. Listen carefully beginning at around 2:30, especially at 3:56, where Zoellick reveals crystal clear the American logic: “Nothing’s really final until you put the words on paper.”

This video was posted on YouTube on February 1, 2022. It is not clear when it was recorded. Russia had amassed conventional forces surrounding Ukraine. The invasion began on February 24.

Jeff Bezos 1999

Look at his eyes. Listen to his statements. Total focus. On the needs of the customer. The interviewer is struggling. Because he thinks about Amazon as an internet or tech company. Bezos is very patient with his inability to listen carefully.

“Hey, how are you?”

Observations of a young German woman in Cincinnati, Ohio in the U.S.

This comment gets it right: “My experience with small talk is that it starts light and superficial, but the longer it goes on, the more personal it gets. It’s as if both are sending out feelers to find out how deep (or long) the conversation is going to be and to make sure both can end it (or back off) at any time without things getting awkward.

The answer to ‘how are you’ (‘hey, what’s up?’ actually) is always expected to be short, but can be open ended to lead the other person to probe deeper if they wish, such as, ‘okay I guess, I got some stuff going on.’ The other person can back off and say, ‘yeah, I hear ya’ and change the subject if they don’t want to go deeper, or respond with, ‘really? what’s going on?’ if they want you to open up more. Like a verbal tennis match where each hit gets harder to see how intense the game will be. I’m not sure I phrased it right, but I think you catch my meaning.”