This post is also available here on msilb7.com
The 2000s brought us the social networks MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, and more. On these “wide-open” platforms, everyone had a microphone to shout out into the world. At first, this was the novel cool thing to do, and it became addicting. But then, when these platforms needed to turn a profit, things changed. Our engagement was the golden ticket to monetization. If they could get us to post, react, comment, and share more, the advertisers would line up to pay for our attention.
Optimizing for engagement eventually pushed us farther apart. The original promise of social media was to bring us together, and it was failing. …
Also posted to msilb7.com
I’ve been told that I used to be a very curious person. Somewhere along the line I lost it, and now I’m trying to get it back.
Since my early childhood I’ve been a very curious person. My mom told me that when I was a toddler, they would call me the “future surgeon,” because where most other kids would pick up a toy and play with it, I would thoroughly examine it. Maybe that was just a nice way of calling me a weirdo, why couldn’t I just enjoy the toy? …
With some Black Friday and Cyber Monday commentary because my brain is mush.
Also posted to MSilb7.com and Substack.
Welcome back to Product/Michael Fit! I almost spelled November wrong, so get ready for a good one. My week has once again been non-stop research and writing. I’m not sure if Black Friday/Cyber Monday week is peak of craziness, or if it’s just the release of pent up marketing energy and speculation. That remains to be seen, but early indicators look super interesting. Based on one research firm’s data, it appears that Etsy made the biggest leap in 2020, followed by Nordstrom, Amazon, and Walmart. I can validate that I intentionally browsed Etsy for the first time ever on Saturday 🤷♀️. This week’s newsletter isn’t about retail or consumerism at all. …
Taking a Birds-Eye View
Well, this was another nuts week (x2). For this volume, imagine yourself on a cross-country flight, with minimal turbulence, and noise-canceling headphones to drown out all of the sounds around you. Because that’s how I listened to pretty much everything that I’m mentioning below.
Feeling Energized to Write, Product Quality and Humility, and Aligning Your Work With Your Values
This was originally published on my Substack — Product/Michael Fit.
Hello, hello, welcome to the most anticipated event of the week: Volume 2 of Product/Michael Fit! If you missed volume 1 from last week, check it out here (Writing Like a PM, The WWW MVP, and Tech is Dangerous) For this volume, my “week of interesting content” was really just packed into the weekend. Why? Well, 1) Our every 4 years experience of the United States’ paint by number game (and “breaking news” alerts with zero substance), and 2) Turns out that working in consumer experience for an ecommerce company during the holidays demands a lot of attention. But, I have three pieces this week that I was able to go pretty deep on (all podcasts 🤷♀️). I think that they’re super insightful (I’m glad that I have my own notes), and I hope that they’ll resonate with you as well. So.. …
This was originally published on my Substack — Product/Michael Fit.
My Favorite Things From this Past Week (10/26–11/1/20)
Hey all, I’m trying something new here. In this series “Product/Michael Fit,” (I’m Michael) I plan to share my favorite pieces of content from the past week, whether it’s a blog post or article, a podcast episode, a YouTube video, or anything else. Who knows? Send me more cool things on Twitter @MSilb7, and Follow my Medium profile if you’re interested in more!
I’m a recent subscriber to Lenny’s Newsletter, and I’ve bookmarked so many tweets from David Perell on writing advice. So when Writing in Public: Lenny Rachitsky & David Perell popped up on my YouTube algorithm, I had to click on it and get my notes ready. From the perspective of my current product-adjacent day job, it was super interesting to see Lenny take a product management approach to his newsletter: From using “Jobs to Be Done (JTBD)” to focus his value proposition to “pretending your users are drunk” to simplify your user experience. I also took away great ideas from David, like trying to preserve your writing flow by separating out writing time from research and editing time (reminded me of “Inventing on Principle”), watching out for the “productive procrastination” trap, and why density in your writing can be good (if clear) using the “screenshot test.” …
Also posted at msilb7.com
Over my career, I’ve accumulated a set of skills that have helped me work faster and get more stuff done in less time. This let put more focus on the fun stuff like white-boarding new ideas and developing products. I’ve mostly kept all of this knowledge to myself — until now.
I’m sharing all of my secrets: The tools and strategies that I used to become a better analyst and PM.
— The Basics (Excel, Macros, SQL)
— Web Automation
— Alternative Data Sources
— Dashboards for Repeatable Analysis and Data Sharing
— Scripting Languages (Python)
— The Next Wave: No-Code Applications and UIs
A few weeks ago, I started working on an idea. Today, I’m taking a step back. Not just from projects, but also thinking about where I want to go in my overall career.
I started on a side-project idea that I already had my own reservations about. I had been thinking about starting my own project, only for about a month, but I wanted to make forward motion. I wanted to stop thinking and talking about what I wanted my future to be, and actually do something tangible. So I did.
But it wasn’t right for me. I should’ve listened to my own words from Ideas are Easy, Conviction is…
Many of us feel the most engaged in our work when we’re building something new.
Often times, the first step on that journey involves pitching your idea to someone in order to get their buy-in. In my career so far, I’ve had a few chances to pitch ideas that I was super excited about. But each time, no matter how clear or precise I tried to be, I struggled to get support to move forward. Something was missing, but I didn’t know what.
I recently learned a little bit about what VCs look for when they’re evaluating startup ideas, and the issues with my failed pitches became painfully obvious. Even though I was in a large organization within a huge company, we could’ve had a better chance of succeeding if we pitched like a startup. …
So now, I’m in a position for the first time in my life where I feel like I have the freedom to go build whatever I want. When the world is your canvas and you could go in any direction… What do you build?
In my career so far, I’ve prided myself on being able to identify opportunities and solve problems that we didn’t know we had yet. Believing in that skill was actually the biggest motivator for me to start on a Side-Project. But, solving problems within a pre-defined organization structure with a clear mission and goals is WAY SIMPLER than starting from zero. I’ve never looked at the world in terms of “what problems can I solve” or “how can I make this experience better,” because in all honesty, I never had any reason to believe that I could or would. …