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"Innovation is a change in the process by which an organization transforms labor, capital, materials, or information into products and services of greater value."
-- Clayton Christensen, author of The Innovator's Dilemma.
The cadence of breathing and speaking tends to mimic the frequency of the brain's ability to process words and sentences.
Social media is training us to compare our lives, instead of appreciating everything we are. — Unknown (not Bill Murray)
"Customers will pay you to build your SaaS product. It’s one of the great advantages of a SaaS model. Annual prepay contracts - wherein customers pay for a year’s cost on day - is a free loan from customers. And every startup can benefit from this advance. There’s only one requirement: you must be able to sell your product while you’re building it." by Tomasz Tunguz
Term coined by Peter Thiel:
"If everybody does the same thing that's the signalling of the lack of agency. Innovation happens at the borders of society when people start having divergent views. "
To Plotinus, that which we call 'evil’ is caused by our attachment to the things of this world that prevent our complete devotion to the Divine Mind.Evil, in a sense, is the absence of Good(which for Christians is God).
This argument made it into Christianity, having a storing influence on St Augustine's view of God.
Tim Ferriss'ss network is pretty astounding. His media opportunities are the secret envy of almost every entrepreneur or author. How does he do it? Tim’s strategy is simple:He treats people well. Especially the people that other people ignore.
His rule was to treat everyone like they could put you on the front page of the New York Times…because someday, you might meet that person. Networking is not about finding someone who can help you right this second. It’s about establishing a relationship that can one day benefit both of you.
Knowledge as justified true belief is called the tripartite, or three-part, theory of knowledge:
Belief comes in because you have to believe parts of a knowledge statement. And true, becasue you have to believe them to be true:
For me to know something, say, that Mount Athos is in Greece, it must be the case that (1) I believe that Mount Athos is in Greece, and (2) Mount Athos is actually in Greece.
Justified means to be based on solid argumentation.
How many women are in the business? What’s the gender mix? It’s very easy to see if there is a diverse group of men and women with diversity of race. We don’t spend enough time asking: Do we have an organization with diversity of mind? I think this is where most companies fall down.
If you don’t interview a diverse group of people from different universities, different state schools, and different parts in the world, you are not going to get diversity of mind. If you hire all business majors, all engineers, or all people who have one field of expertise, you’re going to fall down.
What we get out of life is not determined by the good feelings we desire but by what bad feelings we’re willing and able to sustain to get us to those good feelings.What determines your success isn’t “What do you want to enjoy?”, but “What pain do you want to sustain?” The quality of your life is not determined by the quality of your positive experiences but the quality of your negative experiences. Because if you want the benefits of something in life, you have to also want the costs. Who you are is defined by the values you are willing to struggle for. This is the most simple and basic component of life: our struggles determine our successes. So choose your struggles wisely.
No superintelligent AI is going to bother with a task that is harder than hacking its reward function.
This means that an algorithm will cheat (say by exploiting a bug unknown to developers) to reach its winning condition, rather than taking the steps towards excellence that devs designed it for.
(Dr. Edward B. Burger and Dr. Michael Starbird)
Mediocrity is an independent meta-trait, not a qualifier you put on some other trait, like intelligence. It is not about being average at one thing, but the ability to be average on any thing.
It can be seen as the trait that comes closest to evolutionary adaptive “fitness”. What defines mediocrity is the driving negative intention: to resist the lure of excellence. Sarah Perry calls it deep laziness:
To be mediocre at something is to be less than excellent at it in order to conserve energy for the indefinitely long haul.
Unfortunately, the trend in many organizations is to design learning to be as easy as possible. Aiming to respect their employees’ busy lives, companies build training programs that can be done at any time, with no prerequisites, and often on a mobile device. The result is fun and easy training programs that employees rave about (making them easier for developers to sell) but don’t actually instill lasting learning.
Worse still, programs like these may lead employers to optimize for misleading metrics, like maximizing for “likes” or “shares” or high “net promoter scores,” which are easy to earn when programs are fun and fluent but not when they’re demanding. Instead of designing for recall or behavior change, we risk designing for popularity.
The reality is that to be effective, learning needs to be effortful. That’s not to say that anything that makes learning easier is counterproductive–or that all unpleasant learning is effective. The key here is desirable difficulty. The same way you feel a muscle “burn” when it’s being strengthened, the brain needs to feel some discomfort when it’s learning. Your mind might hurt for a while–but that’s a good thing.
In any given quarter, we ask: what are the biggest metrics we want to shift? It might be increasing revenue. It might be decreasing our loss rates. It might be something around acquisition or engagement metrics.
We then look at what our customers saying. There might be something the sales team is passing along from an enterprise merchant, whereas there might be other feedback I’m getting across all of our customers.
The third bucket is a catch-all for the delightful or strategic pieces. It might not be something that gets prioritized because it will affect a metric or a customer has been asking for it, but it will be a foundational piece for where we want to go in the next few years.
"When I joined Intercom, it was much smaller: under 50 people. As we’ve grown, roles have been created, and those roles have turned into teams of people. The challenge has been keeping everybody in sync and communicating. Relying on face-to-face communication just doesn’t scale. That’s where using written communication and having some canonical documents in a project has become super important."
Michelle Fitzpatrick , sr. product manager, Intercom
1. Attempt to re-express your target's position so clearly, vividly, and fairly that your target says, “Thanks, I wish I'd thought of putting it that way.”
2. List any points of agreement (especially if they are not matters of general or widespread agreement).
3. Mention anything that you have learnedfrom your target.
4. Only then are you permitted to say so much as a word ofrebuttal or criticism.
Bezos is one of the few CEOs who writes to his stakeholders. His annual letters are thoughtful analysis of the business and the principles he and the company use to make decisions.He writes well, affirmatively, with grace (“angels singing”), and not infrequent humor.
There is an underappreciated paradox of knowledge that plays a pivotal role in our advanced hyper-connected liberal democracies: the greater the amount of information that circulates, the more we rely on so-called reputational devices to evaluate it. What makes this paradoxical is that the vastly increased access to information and knowledge we have today does not empower us or make us more cognitively autonomous. Rather, it renders us more dependent on other people’s judgments and evaluations of the information with which we are faced. From the ‘information age’, we are moving towards the ‘reputation age’, in which information will have value only if it is already filtered, evaluated and commented upon by others. Seen in this light, reputation has become a central pillar of collective intelligence today. It is the gatekeeper to knowledge, and the keys to the gate are held by others. The way in which the authority of knowledge is now constructed makes us reliant on what are the inevitably biased judgments of other people, most of whom we do not know.
Newton's laws of motion reveal insights that tell you pretty much everything you need to know about how to be productive:
1. Diagram: This helps you to display a concept. Think charts, process flows and mind maps;
2. Deconstruct: dissect your concept - start small and expand. Try a list, stages or layers;
3. Compare: Draw similarities or differences to something already known. Try analogies, metaphors and similes;
4. Picture: Show an image that represents the concepts. Use illustrations, photos or drawings;
5. Backward map: Start at the end and discuss how you got there - essentially, reverse engineer the process;
6. Chunk: Group concepts together and explain how they relate. Consider cluster diagrams, tables or charts.
There is value in stating the obvious. What is obvious to me is not obvious to others. What seems simple and clear to you is confusing to me. Not stating the obvious is a result of assuming everyone else already sees the point or gets the detail. It implies that we know the minds and thoughts of those around us. Even so, when we state the obvious, we clarify details. We find gaps in our understanding of situations and people.
Many of the most successful people adopt simple, versatile decision-making heuristics to remove the need for deliberation in particular situations.
Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon.com, asks himself, is this a reversible or irreversible decision?
If a decision is reversible, we can make it fast and without perfect information. If a decision is irreversible, we had better slow down the decision-making process and ensure that we consider ample information and understand the problem as thoroughly as we can.
Bezos compares decisions to doors. Reversible decisions are doors that open both ways. Irreversible decisions are doors that allow passage in only one direction.
A succesful SMB SaaS product has 2 offers:
ex: Expensify, which offers simple expense reports to the end user and better compliance with spend policies to the VP of Finance.
• You accept your vulnerability;
• You embrace a learning mind;
• You open new possibilities;
• You prioritize self-growth over your reputation;
• You don’t need to prove anything.
We default to being right all the time. Realizing that we can be wrong takes practice. It’s an ability that needs to be nurtured. It starts by acknowledging that we are human.
Switching costs is the one-time inconvenience or expense a user incurs to change over from one product to another. The strongest form of switching cost comes from network dynamics — other users being on a platform. But even in non-networked products, there are several forms of switching costs:
What we say:
“What we’re showing here is just a high-level overview of what we’ve been exploring in the last two weeks, of course this will keep evolving.”
What we mean:
“We were not brave enough to make any decisions and/or to clearly state them on a slide. And although we had two weeks we were not thorough enough to finalize what we started. So we’ll just do a whole presentation avoiding strong point of views that could hurt our relationship in case you disagree with what we’re saying.”
What ends up happening:
The work gets pushed two extra weeks.
If yes, what's that opinion and who is my product if it would be a person?
If yes, the goal shouldn't be to appeal to many, but only appeal to those who shared your opinion. This has huge value in terms of decision making, as Basecamp (formerly 37signals) knows:
“When you don’t know what you believe, everything becomes an argument. Everything is debatable. But when you stand for something, decisions are obvious.”
― Jason Fried
There is the type who expects to be asked a number of questions from management. And then there is the type who expects not only to do most of the asking, but to put on a presentation.
It is the first type that sees the situation as an interview, and it is the second who sees it not as an interview, but as an audition.
“Agreeing well” is as important as “disagreeing well”. Paul Graham proposed a hierarchy of disagreement, and his method can be used to create the opposite pyramid:
Research showed that most business decisions were not made on “gut calls” but rather rigorous analysis. And yet they were poor decisions.
“Our research indicates that, contrary to what one might assume, good analysis in the hands of managers who have good judgment won’t naturally yield good decisions.”
Charlie Munger, explained the reason:
[Projections] are put together by people who have an interest in a particular outcome, have a subconscious bias, and its apparent precision makes it fallacious.
One of the hardest things in life is to know when to keep going and when to move on. challenges into three stages of failure:
It is hard to compete in 2018 with a mediocre product when your competitors have apps with several years of advantage, especially design. What worked as viable a few years ago may not work today.
If you’re going to make a new product, think about what your customers expect and try to provide the best experience and product possible.
When they start out, they do everything they can to recruit users and 3rd-party complements like developers, businesses, and media organizations. They do this to make their services more valuable, as platforms (by definition) are systems with multi-sided network effects. As platforms move up the adoption S-curve, their power over users and 3rd parties steadily grows.
When they hit the top of the S-curve, their relationships with network participants change from positive-sum to zero-sum. The easiest way to continue growing lies in extracting data from users and competing with complements over audiences and profits. Historical examples of this are Microsoft vs Netscape, Google vs Yelp, Facebook vs Zynga, and Twitter vs its 3rd-party clients.
MVP allows us to launch the product with the least amount of features possible so that we can learn and extract relevant information from this trial period and user interaction through a series of metrics and then act based on that data.
The approach is best illustrated by Kniberg's picture:
Refers to the capacity for keeping ~7 bits of information ‘in the head’ short term. Millers paper title "The Magical Number Seven, Plus or Minus Two: Some Limits on Our Capacity for Processing Information" suggests that the number of perceptual ‘chunks’ an average human can hold in working memory (a component of short-term memory) is 7 ± 2.
Miller's Law had implication in chunking. Chunking is a critical element of information organization, and is the basis for our UX and organizational rule.
It teaches us that humans have a finite amount of information they can process, and that information overload will lead to distraction that negatively affects performance. Companies should look for ways to organize information in a way that is much more digestible for their customers and employees. This could be by eliminating tools or applications that are producing cognitive overload, reducing the amount of members on a team, or even organizing your departments based on our knowledge of working memory.
It is too disconnected from the product and too little in your control to be a great metric:
Product Managers are usually spending their time in 3 (core) areas:
As the the team or the product matures the PdM will spend more time in certain areas and less in others.
The number of users, while a critical selling point for investors, partners and advisors, is a vanity metric. Active engagement is a better metric. When you get a new client you need to know whether they were actually using the software. And talk to any outlier when you find one. Ask:
Another way to zero in on active engagement is by mitigating what keeps users from using your product:
Siloed data will disguise real metrics. “First, centralize user activities and milestones into a single data stream. Event streams show how people move through your product and allow you to analyze their behavior,” says Lloyd Tabb, the founder of Looker.
Answer these questions to start creating your event stream: