Author: Michael

When America was ‘great,’ according to data

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Asides

The good old days when America was “great” aren’t the 1950s. They’re whatever decade you were 11, your parents knew the correct answer to any question, and you’d never heard of war crimes tribunals, microplastics or improvised explosive devices. Or when you were 15 and athletes and musicians still played hard and hadn’t sold out. Source: When America was ‘great,’ according to data Lots of interesting stats and charts in the article. It pairs well […]

Clarity

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Opinion

Productivity isn’t the challenge; it’s a red herring. The true unlock is in clarity. Without it, we are just checking off tasks – busywork. Real productivity comes from clear view on where you want to go which will drive focus. It’s not about long lists. It’s about meaningful work. Ignore the siren call of social media; it’s a trap that drains energy and blurs your focus. Strive instead for those days where you are so […]

Rituals of modern product teams

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Leadership

In case your podcast queue is running low, I highly recommend queuing up this presentation from Figma’s Config 2023 conference: Rituals of modern product teams – Yuhki Yamashita, Shishir Mehrotra (Config 2023) – YouTube The basic premise is that effective teams have established a number of rituals over time, and Yamashita and Mehrotra give a quick rundown of some of those rituals (screenshot below). I am fascinated by the organizing framework they use to categorize […]

The Impulse Cooktop

Asides

It is a rare feat for a stove top to be exciting, but this just sounds remarkable: And then you learn that the stove has a battery in it, which means that unlike most other induction stoves, it can plug into a standard 120-volt outlet. You don’t have to get a pricy circuit upgrade, or an even pricier electrical panel upgrade, to install it. Plus, the battery delivers enough power to boil a liter of […]

Adam Grant in conversation with Jennifer Garner

Asides

What a joy- and insightful way to spend an hour: Garner was not meant to be the original interviewer and only filled in on the day. But this turned out to be a refreshing blessing in disguise. The conversation focused less on the book and more on personal experiences and challenges in the context of the book. To be honest I was not a big fan of Adam Grant, but have just added his books […]

The metric is not the goal

Asides / OKRs

Great articulation by Mike Davidson in his reflection of being one year at Microsoft: Our north star is at least pretty pure — Daily Active Users — and that metric is usually a good indicator that you’ve made something people like, but doctrinaire allegiance to almost any singular metric can quickly make people forget why we are in this profession to begin with: to improve lives. Or to put it squarely in Microsoft parlance again: […]

The art of noticing 

Tips and Tricks

There is a rich curriculum of life advice compilations out there. From the classics like Life’s Litte Instruction Book, Kevin Kelly’s 103 Bits of Advice I Wish I Had Known which turned into a book, to 100 Tips for a better life. They are often fascinating reads. But they are also often more entertaining than driving actual change. Yet, they do become educational once you have the experience that brings the wisdom home. “The large print giveth and the small print taketh […]

Amazon warehouse tour

Asides

Amazon warehouses have always been fascinating to me. The sheer scale and thought that goes into the logistics is just mind bending. I remember looking in 2012 at the market for pneumatic tube systems and we discovered a company called Kiva Systems which produced little robots that automate warehouse logistics tasks. Instead of using them as a hardware provider, Amazon bought the whole company for the sole purpose of powering their own warehouses. I guess, […]

Getting things done

Leadership

More than twenty years ago a book came out by David Allen called Getting Things Done. For a while it garnered quite a cult following and it resonated with me as well. The framework was accessible as it had lots of helpful. tactical advice that was easy to implement, but it also had a lot of depth. Similar to the old PacMan arcade game: “A minute to learn, a lifetime to master”. Recently it re-entered […]

Excellence is a habit, but so is failure – Andreas Kling – I like computers!

Asides

I’m a big fan of routines and habits. While they are not a guarantee for outcomes, they do increase the odds and move you closer to where you want to be. This is an interesting reflection by Alexander Kling on habits being a two-way street: We often hear that making small incremental improvements every day can lead to great things. This popular piece of advice rings true, and it’s a powerful reminder to keep pushing […]