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. …
I’m way way way behind on my writing. I have notes for so many updates and thoughts that I need to get down. But, at the core of it, I just picked the best idea I had going so far and worked on it for a weekend. StartupSlider.com pre-signups are live. I’ve convinced myself that this both a good and a really stupid idea so many times. But, the site is live, and there’s still some work left to do for a true MVP (Minimum Viable Product) before actually trying to get users.
Here’s the note I included on the “About Us” page on my founding…
Hi friends, I have a quick follow-up on When Development Becomes Accessible. This is super short train of thought thinking (or rambling).
There’s something super interesting that happens when you discover that you have an ability create something, that you previously thought was completely out of reach. Thoughts, ideas, and plans that never would’ve had the time of day are now all that you can think about. …
For all of the Twitter and Google bots, yes this post is about #nocode.
IIt’s time to circle back a bit as to why now was the time to start working towards a side-project. Sure, months of remote work from home, and a global pandemic has left a huge void of time that can now be focused on something else. But, for every motivation, there’s a spark that ignites it. For me, that was discovering the no-code/visual programming tools, Bubble and Webflow.
Maybe the end of that tweet was a little strong. I’m not trying to avoid code, I just don’t want to live in it for the majority of my time. I took Computer Science classes in college, and I’ve built scripts to automate processes at work, so I’m sure that I could figure out how to build a web or mobile app… eventually. But the no-code/visual programming tools were incredibly more efficient. Rather than spending months trying to wrap my head around web frameworks, UI design, and 100 other things I don’t know about; I could get up and running in a few hours (with a few days or weeks to get good). …