Cybersecurity for non-nerds

MOST OF US GET HACKED all the time, although we don’t know it. Long gone are the archaic viruses that would cause glitches on the monitor, noticeably slow down your computer, or trigger a prank.

Emails out of the blue

HOW DO WE CONNECT with strangers on a professional level, whether for fieldwork purposes, fundraising, promoting publications or organizing events? Unless we can actually meet in person, our first point of contact will most often be email. Indeed, cold calling tends to be disruptive and intimidating, while reaching out via social media is generally too…

The meaning of mentoring

LUCKY ARE THOSE who find the right mentor: There is much we cannot accomplish, in our lives or careers, in the absence of that rare and enriching encounter. But to build the right mentoring relationship, we must know what to aim for. Most importantly, a mentor must help the mentee find their own way in a learning…

What is analysis?

ANALYSIS IS AN ODDLY VAGUE CONCEPT, given how central it is to our lives. There are many ordinary things we could not do without it. It would be dangerous to drive or cross the street without analysing the tangle of moving objects, road signs and weather conditions that inform our movements.

Wrestling with Egypt

THE ARAB UPRISINGS, for all the ensuing violence, have left a legacy of bold and creative media ventures. Without them, the Middle East’s public space would be shaped in the image of failed regimes, whose answer to growing socioeconomic needs is mostly limited to repression and propaganda. In Egypt, the independent digital daily Mada Masr…

The shape of a text

EDITORS ARE FREQUENTLY HAUNTED by shapeless texts. You would be surprised at how many documents are submitted with random titles, weird spacing between sentences and paragraphs, Haphazard Capitalization, sloppy punctuation; loose speling, allusive references to things, ‘fanciful quotations », or slashes that save the author from choosing the right word/concept.

Myths and merits of crowdfunding

THE SOCIAL MEDIA AGE has brought growing popularity to the premise of crowdfunding: Mobilizing ordinary people, via digital tools, to financially and morally support personal initiatives. The model offers an alternative to more institutional options, which small-scale actors may find overly bureaucratic, competitive, or at odds with their vision. Moreover, high-performing crowdfunding campaigns often make…

Threading your outline

THE TRICKY TRANSITION from researching a topic to writing about it lies in sketching an outline. Beware of starting off without one. That would be like setting sail without a rudder; you may move, but not where you intend. An outline plots your course from one chapter, section or subtitle to the next, until you…

Accountable leadership

MAKING IT TO THE TOP doesn’t say much about what to do once you’re up there. Breathe pure oxygen and plant a flag? Indeed, the process of achieving a position of leadership tends to obscure the purpose of being in that role: people head an organization because they founded or inherited it, campaigned brilliantly in…

Forging consensus

LEADERSHIP is an unstable thing, constantly at risk of migrating toward the extremes; it either degenerates into highhanded decision-making or devolves into bureaucratic rule-by-committee. Whether at the apex of a state or within a small civic association, leadership poses, again and again, the same fundamental question: how to strike a balance between decisiveness and discussion?…

The hire

A GREAT PRIVILEGE of managers is to provide jobs, and there is no shortage of people looking for them. Given the abundance of available talent, it is a mystery that we struggle so much to consistently hire the right candidates. Pairing people and employment opportunities is an extraordinarily difficult equation, whose outcome remains largely random….

The research question

IT IS INTRIGUING that something as central to academic work as the “research question” would go without a clear-cut, consensual, practical definition. Some see it as a technically-worded version of the question you set out to answer when you start your research process. Others view it as a paradox—a counterintuitive formulation of deceptively familiar problems,…