Elezea Newsletter — Issue 2019.25
A weekly newsletter to help you create better products, and understand the broader impact of technology on our work and our lives.
Featured product management articles
I listen to The Product Experience podcast every week, so it was such a treat for me to be on the show last week to talk about Crazy Busy Product People. At first I didn’t know what to do — I’m so used to hearing Lily and Randy’s voices that it didn’t seem right to talk back, because that’s now how it usually works! But I did eventually find my feet (I think), and I’m overall pretty happy with how this turned out.
We spend most of our time discussing my article The dangerous rise of “crazy-busy” product managers, but we also touch on remote work and our 4-day work week experiment. I hope you can find some time to listen to the episode, and that you like it!
Further product reading
Another really great talk by Marty Cagan. At MTP Engage Hamburg he asks why more companies don't truly empower their teams.
A topic near and dear to my heart, and one I think product managers need to pay way more attention to. I especially agree with the point that code reviews need to be part of estimations.
Blake Bartlett proposes Net Dollar Retention as an alternative to CMRR (Committed Monthly Recurring Revenue) to measure the health and growth of a product.
Quote of the week
“You always have three options. You can change it, you can accept it, or you can leave it. What is not a good option is to sit around wishing you would change it but not changing it, wishing you would leave it but not leaving it, and not accepting it. It’s that struggle, that aversion, that is responsible for most of our misery. The phrase that I probably use the most to myself in my head is just one word: accept.”
Work better together: resources and tools
Since Slack is very much in the news this week with their IPO, even the New York Times is starting to report on its issues with interruptions during the workday. Also see the Twist team’s line in the sand: Why We're Betting Against Real-Time Team Messaging Apps Like Slack.
Denise Lee Yohn on the importance of a good employee experience at work: “What a lot of companies miss is that a great employee experience leads to a great customer experience.”
It’s time to factor remote work into our urban planning. A more established remote work culture can truly make a positive impact in wealth, health, and society at large.
They believe that working less would have a range of benefits for workers and employers and the world should embrace the four-day working week. At Wildbit, we agree.
A practical guide to the one part of Getting Things Done that still mystifies most of us.
Technology news and reflections
Nathan Allebach on how corporate social media (mostly) moved past its awkward phase and connected with audiences:
In the beginning, Brand Twitter lagged behind internet culture. It was known most for its “fails” and ethical gray areas. But as marketers started hiring people who were Extremely Online, it caught up. Tweets became more self-aware and ironic, which led to increased visibility as well as criticism. Nothing drives positive engagement quite like humor, so the more successful brands co-opted comedic styles from various subcultures over the years. Which, in turn, led to more fails and ethical gray areas.
Gun companies can’t advertise on social media — so they have female influencers do it for them:
Kyle Clouse, head of marketing at the gun safe company Liberty Safe, refers to influencers as “the goose laying the golden egg” for the firearms industry. Influencers skirt the rules and restrictions platforms impose on official businesses that want to advertise guns or gun-related services and accessories. This makes gun influencers more directly, tangibly important to the businesses they partner with than perhaps any other type of influencer in the bloated influencer economy. They may, in fact, be the only influencers who have proof of their reason to exist.
The older I get, the less I understand the internet.
Fears about troubling videos and excessive screen time are legitimate. But the real threat is adults’ disregard for their children’s rights and best interests:
Smartphones and social media may be, in fact, transforming the experience of childhood and adolescence in some ways. But the hard (for many adults to hear) truth is that many of technology’s effects on kids have less to do with screen time per se than they do with the decisions grown-ups are making — many of which place children’s privacy at great risk.
Also see pretty disturbing developments like Are the kids all right? These school surveillance apps sure want to tell you and Aggression Detectors: The Unproven, Invasive Surveillance Technology Schools Are Using to Monitor Students.
Further technology reading
“What are the most dangerous types of biohacking being tried?”, and 8 other questions about biohacking you didn’t even know you wanted to ask…
Algorithms don’t make decisions. People who write algorithms make decisions.
How photo booths escaped the brink of extinction by becoming FOMO generators.
Random things I like
📷 This Instagram account dedicated to ‘ghost signs’ — the fading remains of painted signs — is surprisingly pleasant to browse through.
🤦♀️ The worst morale boosting gesture I’ve experienced is a funny story in itself, but it’s in the comments where things get really good.
💿 You know you’re getting really old when people are starting to talk about the nostalgia factor of CDs.
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