Extreme Open-Mindedness, Free Will, and Reorgs
Monthly Wrap from June
I’ve traditionally done a book review at the end of each month. I’ll do that the first Tuesday going forward (with additional notes for paid subscribers a few days after). I’ll now be wrapping up each month with links to articles, podcasts, and other good finds from the preceding weeks. And I’ll follow that with the usual post the second week and long-form post the third week. And potentially something completely different for the fifth Tuesdays (when they occur).
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Creating Your Product Principles
By establishing principles and tenets for your teams and products, you can ensure everyone is aligned around the right priorities and the right frameworks, without having to discuss every decision.
But what are principles? And how do we create them? And why should we? In a post this month we explored this idea and why it is so important.
Extreme open-mindedness is the mark of great thinkers, especially great product thinkers. We are never done taking inputs and creating something new. The world is ever changing, ever evolving, and we must evolve with it. Our products must evolve with it. Our thinking must evolve with it. We cannot close our minds to what is around us, to the new ideas that surround us, and the possibilities that await. We explored this idea in a post earlier this month.
How Innovation Works: Book Review
I had this book on my shelf literally for almost 2 years. I purchased it at the beginning of the pandemic and meant to get to it for a while. And I’m glad I finally did. It has so many elements that I love—a host of stories of innovation from numerous industries, advice for better innovation, and cautionary tales of what can go wrong. So check out our exploration and review in this month’s newsletter.
If AI Is Predicting Your Future, Are You Still Free? (Wired)
How much free will do we have? How much are we undermining free will with our own predictions? How much will we undermine it going forward with even more predictions? Fascinating questions to think about.
What is worrying about this argument, above and beyond questions about God, is the idea that, if accurate forecasts are possible (regardless of who makes them), then that which has been forecasted has already been determined. In the age of AI, this worry becomes all the more salient, since predictive analytics are constantly targeting people.
A second, related ethical problem with predicting human behavior is that by treating people like things, we are creating self-fulfilling prophecies. Predictions are rarely neutral.
How to write an abstract for your conference talk or webinar (Medium)
I was at the Product-Led Conference in Las Vegas last week talking about Product Principles and Innovation, and as part of my conference talk, I needed to write an abstract. I found this article very helpful in the whole process, from thinking about what to write and imagining what would be most helpful to an audience. I’m linking it here for your reference and mine (for the future).
Oh Shit, You’re Going Through a Reorg (Every)
In my experience, if you aren’t going through some sort of reorg once a year, you’re probably in the minority. It’s just life now—like changing your job every two years, refreshing your wardrobe seasonally, or rearranging your furniture. It’s going to happen no matter what. So we all have to deal with it.
Unfortunately, almost every organization does them poorly. I was talking with a product leader at a company a few years ago that took a product approach to reorgs, understanding employee needs/problems, solving them through the reorg, and iterating as necessary. I thought that was pretty neat. But unusual. So don’t expect such a thoughtful approach.
Mentorship, Networking, and Managing Managers: A Conversation with Roni Burgener (Product by Design)
Just today I published this fun conversation with Roni Burgener. We discussed mentorship, career advice, finding your passion, and navigating sexism and discrimination in the workplace. Along with building relationships and trust as you start your career. Join us for a great conversation!
Tobi Lutke - Embrace the Unexpected (Invest Like the Best)
Shopify was a rocket ship company that has recently come back down to earth in the market correction. So it was interesting to hear from Tobi Lutke on this podcast. He discussed how he views the market correction and how it isn’t overly concerning to what they’re doing. He also discussed the importance of architecture long-term. The idea of long-term thinking also fascinated me—how we should focus on making the decisions now that we’ll look back in 10 years and wish we’d made. And finally, the idea of building intuition.
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion with Jenny Meier, Cofounder of Kollektiv MFG (Product by Design)
In this episode, Jenny Meier and I discussed starting a company, the importance of having diversity on your team (and consequences if you don’t), how the tools we use for communication have neglected diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), and what they are doing to fix that at Kollektiv. We also discuss how technology can help, but how our value systems and mindsets are even more critical. Listen in for more great product management and UX insight!
Bryce Roberts On Indie.VC Lessons, Pioneering Seed Investing at OATV, and More (Startup Heroes)
I found this episode to be really interesting. I wasn’t aware of the history of seed funding, so hearing about the early days was fascinating. Along with other ways of doing venture funding differently.
Bryce Roberts is a co-founder at OATV - one of the formative Seed funds. Their portfolio includes Bitly, Figma, and Foursquare. At OATV, Bryce ALSO developed Indie VC, probably the most high-profile example of a fund doing venture differently.
For my recent conference talk and newsletter, I re-read quite a bit of this incredible book by Walter Isaacson. The history of Apple and Steve Jobs is fascinating, and worth revisiting periodically. Jobs was a master at product and innovation, and we can learn many lessons from his journey, and different lessons depending on where we are on our own journey.
Mistborn: The Final Empire
I finished the first book of this series this month, and am part way through the second. The first was great. Brandon Sanderson always does great world building and has interesting plot ideas despite other flaws. But I find myself really struggling through the second book in the series. We’ll see if I make it through or if this is as far as I get with this one. I try not to quit on books, but I don’t typically force myself to finish books I don’t enjoy either.