🤕 User research is a waste of time / PM Snacks 65
Learn why user research may be a waste of time in some situations, how owning what you don't know can lead to efficiency, to embrace silence and how Notion came to be.
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Hey there 👋,
Because of my duties as a founder (and an upcoming pivot), you might have noticed some irregularity with this newsletter, but I am still committed to a personal goal of sending it at least once a month. I’ll do my best to maintain its quality, and I hope you will enjoy this week’s readings.
1️⃣ Growth Mindset vs Imposter Syndrome
Sept 2022 • 5 min read • #selfimprovement
Dan Rose has been an executive at Amazon & Facebook during their pivotal years, and like the rest of us, suffered imposter syndrome (especially around such brilliant people). In this thread he shares insights about these companies’ cultures and how Mark Zuckerberg taught him to be honest and humble about what he did not know as long as he dared to learn… If you are a (young) product manager, my advice would be the same, don’t try to fake it, own what you don’t know, ask questions and aggressively apply your learnings.
2️⃣ User Research is a Waste of Time
Sept 2022 • 4 min read • #discovery #controversy
I’m a huge fan of discovery methods and their impact on most organisations but I’ve to concede that the author may have a point… more often than not, we try to blindly apply these methods while working on pretty basic products, with limited ability to conduct great interviews while hoping for the answers (= the right design) to emerge from a few interviews before building the product. I see this controversial opinion as a reminder of the importance of product sense, not hiding behind the research to form a vision, and iterating your way as fast as you can towards a well-functioning design.
3️⃣ On Silence and the Inner Voice
Oct 2022 • 6 min read • #selfimprovement
This unusual article for the newsletter made me think about how much I avoid silence. Be it in my personal life, working while listening to music, or even in conversations. According to the author: “silence, like darkness, is a little unnerving but unlike darkness the apprehension comes not from the fact that it conceals but in that it reveals”. Our ability to sit alone in silence is probably the best way to be creative, and to engage deeply with ideas coming at you. Not even mentioning the significance of silence in user interviews.
4️⃣ When life gives you lemons, write better error messages
Sept 2022 • 7 min read • #ux
Wix reviewed 7600+ error messages in order to eliminate generic and unclear messages. Their recipe is simple: say what happened and why, reassure and offer a way out without passing the blame or using jargon. Click for more practical advice.
5️⃣ Augmenting Human Intellect, No Code Required (it’s about Notion)
Oct 2022 • 20 min read • #strategy #inspiration
I’m a huge fan of Notion, so when this story on how it came to be came out, I was eager to read it as soon as possible. In this article, you’ll find out more about its visionary founders, who tried to democratise code through no-code, which ended up re-inventing productivity softwares (for now). Recommended for anyone that can sit through occasional eccentricities (they had a no-shoes policy at the office) and myth-creating corporate bullshit 😅
⏳ Product Management Mental Models for Everyone
Aug 2018 • 12 min read • #mentalmodels #selfimprovement
Most clicked link, shared one year ago in PM Snacks 48.
This article influenced my craft the most, I highly recommend you to read it every year to internalise all the learnings. Here are my highlights:
1/ Time horizons - asking how we can create the most impact in 3 months vs in 3 years, will result in dramatically different decisions for your team. Key learning: to prioritise, always think in terms of time horizon & ambition level.
2/ Key failure indicator - pair the success KPI with a KFI to focus on healthy growth. The KPI captures the metric you want to go up & the KFI the one you want to remain stable. For example: I want more daily active users (KPI) with a stable D30 retention (KFI).
3/ Diminishing returns - when you focus on improving a specific product area, with time, you'll require more efforts to produce similar impact. It seems obvious, but the key learning is that you should always assess the larger context to evaluate if the efforts are still useful. I actually participated in a podcast on this very topic based on my experience at comet (in French).
4/ Apart from the mental models I talked about, some of my favorites are: Confidence determines quality, Experiment, feature, platform, and Version 2 is a lie.
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