Ever since I was a kid, I’ve thought that books are the most underpriced things in the world. Getting an hour of the same person’s time or attending an event that they’re speaking at would easily cost you triple digits whereas the only books that I know that are triple digits are required college textbooks.

Today is Black Friday and while many line up to spend money on more material objects to surround themselves with that’ll never compensate their internal sense of dissatisfaction, I’ve had the pleasure of finishing yet another book on personal finance.

I’ll admit. I did get a Nintendo Switch and JBL speaker today so I am not free from the allure of material add-ons. In my defense, my friend bought the Switch for me as a gift and the speaker is something I’ve had in mind for years. I tend to avoid impulse binge shopping but here are some of my impulse binge reads…


Can we get an MLA format guide for resumes?

Resumes are critical to positioning yourself for new positions. Yet, they vary widely. With variance, there’s preference. With preference, there’s bias.

If companies can spend ample time A/B testing button colors to optimize conversion rate, you’d be incorrect in believing small differences in resume layout get one qualified person picked over another similarly qualified person.

If I were to redesign resumes, I’d:

It’s a breeding ground for unconscious and conscious bias.

It’s a breeding ground for unconscious and conscious bias. We all get unique identifier numbers and are emailed when we’ve been selected to move to the next round. At that point, demographic information will become apparent on that phone screen or first-round interview. It might be really uncomfortable to go into an interview not knowing the name, gender, or race of the person you’re going to speak with but I am infinitely more uncomfortable with people being denied access to a position because of their name, gender, or race. …


I was super excited for a better camera and animojis but my animoji has been looking more and more grumpy as I use my new device

I’m either too close to my phone, too far, laying on a pillow, or have a mask on. Once it doesn’t work, instead of signing in once your face is in a clear position, you have to swipe up once again to tell the phone that your face is here to be scanned once again.

On my previous phone, I could see that moon to tell me ‘Hey, you’re not going to get notifications because you turned them off.’ …


Pretend Product is a series of musings on a product that should exist in the world or improvements I’d offer to an already existing product

Every good product starts with a user problem to solve

User problem: I want to know how food tastes before I take the risk of buying a meal that I won’t enjoy.

Current solution to the user problem: ask around from friends who’ve had it before or look at photos and ingredients to reverse engineer what it might taste like.

will smith visibly disgusted by his food
will smith visibly disgusted by his food
William Smithson trying a meal he didn’t look for on Tysther

Proposed Solution

Tysther (pronounced “tester”, named after two former classmates of mine) is a site of reviews of a meal that go beyond ‘tastes good’ or ‘filling’ to details like spiciness, texture, sweetness, saltiness, softness, crunchiness, temperature, aftertaste, etc. to give you a better understanding of a meal before you try it.

For calibration, the rating scale wouldn’t be numbers. …


Pretend Product is a series of musings on a product that should exist in the world or improvements I’d offer to an already existing product

There was some controversy with Tinder presenting only people it thought was in your league. Limbo uses that sort of algorithm so you initially start with being presented the “best” matches when you first join. However, the bar for your matches keeps getting lower the longer you stay on the app.

No pictures. No names. Only after you swipe right on their responses to personality and values questions are you presented with their photos. …


A framework designed for smooth sail-ing during your next interview

STAR over indexes on the context without zooming in on the impact.

Therefore, I came up with the SAIL framework instead (situation -> action -> impact -> learnings) to more closely align with what interviewers are looking for when they ask these behavioral questions.

⛵ 𝗦𝗶𝘁𝘂𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻al context (briefly). No one needs to know the inner workings of your previous employers. They need to know that your actions there translate to good work here if they were to hire you.

⛵ 𝗔𝗰𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻 you took. Don’t claim ownership over a team effort nor let your ownership get diluted by incorrectly using “we” on things that you specifically did. …


That’s it. That’s the whole tweet.

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The “mini-CEO”
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Onboarding
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Deciding next steps when the A/B test results contradict themselves
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Launching a new feature instead of addressing tech debt
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Trying to interpret data from someone sharing their screen
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Reading feedback from execs saying why your very thoroughly thought out proposal won’t work
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Whiteboarding your ideas
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Telling engineering what the deadline to ship is
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Reading Zendesk tickets from a user who just doesn’t understand how the feature works
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Responding to any and everyone
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Getting ghosted by a recruiter
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Launching a feature that breaks a completely different part of the product
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Impostor syndrome
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Listening to a report that a flashy feature didn’t work after having the user research that it wasn't going to work
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Hitting product-market fit
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Emerging from an agile sprint
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Seeing LinkedIn messages for a referral
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Receiving a feature request when the engineering is halfway done
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Meetings. So many meetings.
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Working through catered lunch
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Saying goodbye to the unpaid intern
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Trying to read through applicants’ resumes
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Remembering a SQL query you left running
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Somebody should fix that


Pretend Product is a series of product improvements or inventions based on my everyday problems.

I am writing this from my own perspective with the assumption that others can relate. That may be a wrong assumption but I hope you enjoy reading my thought process if the problem itself doesn’t resonate with you.

User problem: I forget to respond to a message that I clicked into or briefly read but did not actually think about answering/actually answer.

Business problem: Slack’s mission: Make work life simpler, more pleasant and more productive.

Slack’s current solution to the user problem: mark unread feature or remind me feature.

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Current options on a Slack message

I had been using the remind me feature in order to get reminded. It’s not a bad feature but it does inconvenience me when I get a notification at a time that I can’t do anything about it. Yes, I can tell you to remind me in 3 hours but we both don't really know where I’ll be or what bandwidth I’ll have to address this in 3 hours. …


There’s a surprising level of overlap between selling out stadiums and selling out subscriptions

As a comedian, you learn how to time your jokes, set people up for a punch line, and deliver exactly what delights the audience in an unexpected way.

As a product manager, you learn how to time your releases, set users up in a funnel, and deliver a delightful solution to a user problem in an effortless way.

“I’m never get married” as a standalone statement isn’t exactly funny. But “…and that’s why I’m never getting married.” after some intriguing and relatable storytelling can bring a room to joyful tears.

Similarly, introducing Apple Pay alone would have a steep curve to adoption. But introducing a sequence of features including Apple Wallet, Touch ID, and NFC-enabled phones set up the punch line for contactless payments. …


Pretend Product is my musing on a product that I think should exist in the world or improvements I’d offer to an already existing product

For this Pretend Product, we’re creating something new: Siri for language learners.

Apple wants to make money and incentive more people to switch to iOS.

Gen Z and Millenials who are no longer in school taking foreign language courses but still want to maintain or develop fluency in a second or third language.

As a user, I want to develop fluency in another language in a way that is natural and enjoyable.

Note: adults can learn languages well. Do not be deceived.

Duolingo and language learning gamification apps, language practicing clubs/meetups, listening to movies and media in a different language

Apps are often too simple/slow in building you up to fluency and may provide nonsensical phrases that you won’t practically use in day to day conversation. …

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Product manager | Leading with empathy.

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