Taylor Swift, Quiet Quitting, Ninja Turtles and Books
Monthly Wrap from December
Another month, another host of great articles, listens, books and other finds from Product Thinking and around the internet. Here’s what you may have missed.
Product Thinking is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.
Top Books of 2022
I love reading, which is why we review a book each month. And we’ve had a bunch of good ones this year. I put together some of my favorites that we reviewed from 2022. But I also included several books that I read that have nothing to do with product management, UX, or software (generally speaking). But are definitely worth ready to expand what you’re thinking about. So check out this article to add some books to your reading list.
ChatGPT and Cautious Optimism
By now you’ve heard of ChatGPT, though a bit of the hype has worn off. It is still a fascinating technology and a leap forward in AI, pattern recognition, and the application of the underlying technology in a way that is going to shift the way many of us work. I still don’t think it puts a whole bunch of people out of jobs like so many people were saying, but it does eventually shift the type of work many people do and move humans up the value curve in my opinion.
Four Thousand Weeks
This book made my list of top books for the year and I can’t recommend it enough. I feel like so many of us are overwhelmed with everything we have to do. But the truth is that we simply can’t do everything. It is literally impossible. And we have to face that fact. We have to learn to live with our finite time, and the discomfort of having to choose. That is part of being human. But once we embrace it, we can actually begin to make better choices and free ourselves from the guilt of not being able to do it all. And focus on what is most important. I know I’m still working on a lot of that, but it is such a good mindset.
Direct-to-Consumer Is Dying. It's Time for a New Paradigm
It was really hot for a while to go directly to consumers. Brands like Harry’s, Huel, Allbirds, etc. eschewed traditional retail channels and build their companies by cutting out any middlemen. But things have started to shift back, which is why I found this article interesting.
“The retailers who will win in 2023 are those focused on building authentic connections to their customers through all of these avenues. These businesses will thrive by becoming channel-agnostic: The tools exist now to operate a store everywhere, reaching hundreds on the high street to billions on YouTube and TikTok, as well as niche communities in Web3.”
2022 Phrase of the Year: “Quiet quitting”
I still don’t like, and never have liked, the phrase “quiet quitting.” Mostly because I think it is misused or softened more than it should be. Quiet quitting isn’t just about doing your job 9-5 and then disengaging. That’s normal work/life balance. Quiet quitting is much deeper disengagement for me, but we seem to not want to approach that. It’s being present in your job but only to the minimal level, which may mean physically being present but not actively doing much of anything.
Anyway, it was a hot topic as the article states and everyone had a say on it this year.
Is Live Music Broken? It’s Not Just Ticketmaster, It’s Everything.
Ticketmaster is the worst, but it always feels like there is nothing you can do about it. Because there isn’t. It is a virtual monopoly because it controls everything vertically in the industry. You can’t do a concert tour without them. So it is great to see them fail so spectacularly with the most powerful musician in the industry right now, even if it will ultimately amount to little (when you’re powerful, nothing really happens to you, right?).
“The nightmarish experience Taylor Swift fans went through earlier this year has sparked debate over monopolies and how tickets are sold. But it’s more than just Swift’s upcoming tour—the entire concert industry is facing unprecedented challenges.”
User Journey Management - A Conversation with CEO Jochem van der Veer
A business is creating value for its customers. But to do that effectively, you need your whole organization aligned in creating and maintaining an excellent user experience. Having a journey-led organization allows you to have one common denominator for all teams to understand what are the priorities from the user perspective. In this episode, Kyle and Jochem discuss the benefits of being journey-led, the tools to get there, and so much more!
You, But Better
A good episode, especially as we head into the new year and many of us are thinking about resolutions.
“It's the time of year when many of us make resolutions for the year ahead. We pledge to quit smoking, eat better, or get more exercise. Then a few weeks go by, and we abandon our best-laid plans. That’s because change is hard. This week, we revisit a favorite 2021 conversation with behavioral scientist Katy Milkman, who shares how we can structure our lives to do what we know is good for us.”
Sea of Tranquility
I just finished of Sea of Tranquility, and it was really good. It has all the elements that I love in a speculative fiction, but I won’t give them away so you can enjoy exploring them for yourself.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Cowabunga Collection
Damn, we finally started exploring this on our Playstation over the holiday break and it has been a blast. I grew up on the Ninja Turtles, so it has a lot of nostalgia for me. But my kids think it’s a blast as well to play some of the old school arcade games. They aren’t difficult and make for a good time. Worth checking out if you’re into old games or just fun games.