Hilarious Heresy: A Review of Jessica Powell’s "The Big Disruption"

If I had to pick a few words to describe Jessica Powell’s The Big Disruption they’d be the words “hilarious heresy.” “Hilarious” because the book is surprisingly funny. My wife actually kept commenting on how much I was chuckling as I read the book. “Heresy” because it’s a good way of capturing what Powell is doing in the book with all of her criticisms: she’s challenging the silicon valley gospel that tech companies are here to save the world, and given all of the attention and good will towards those companies, “heresy” feels like an appropriate label for this message. »

Some problems with the impossibility of achieving OKRs

In many ways, OKRs are a neat way of structuring goals for a company. According to Marty Cagan, product managers should be especially interested in OKRs as a goal setting framework since they are a better way of tracking product work than a “product roadmap.” I agree with Cagan. OKRs are often better than typical product road maps. However, there’s an aspect of OKRs that I think is morally and psychologically problematic: the idea that OKRs should be impossible to entirely achieve. »

How The Lean Principle Became Profound

There are certain books that are required reading for product managers. Eric Reis’ The Lean Startup and Marty Cagan’s Inspired both come to mind. They’re great books with lots of useful techniques and important ideas. Lately, however, the fact that these books are popular and useful has struck me as rather odd. If you take a step back from these books — and the many books, articles, talks, podcasts, etc. »

How Startups Can Do Better Cohort Analyses

If you’ve ever looked at analytics for software products, you’ve probably run across a graph that looks like this: Graphs like this one depict cohort analyses.1 This particular graph is from Google Analytics. Apple also has one for app analytics. So does Fabric.2 Cohort analyses can be very useful. For example, Eric Reis, in The Lean Startup, recounts how cohort analysis helped his startup realize that their efforts at improving their product weren’t working: »

Meditation One Year Later

This past November 26th marked my one year anniversary of the day I started meditating. I wanted to jot down some miscellaneous thoughts about the journey that I haven’t already covered in my posts about meditation, startups, and leadership or my post about meditation, addiction, and smart phones. Here I go. Improvement isn’t Perfectly Linear So it turns out that in spite of my goal to meditate every day this past year, I only actually managed to meditate ~ 273 out of 365 days (almost 75%). »

How Passion for Programming Can Make us Worse at our Jobs

“Good programmers are passionate about what they do” is basically a platitude in our industry. 🙄 On the whole, this may be true, but lately I’ve been interested in how our passion for programming might get in the way of us doing well for the companies we work for and may even lead to us being worse at programming specifically. 🤔 Here are some ways I think this passion can make us worse at what we do: »

Business and the Cartesian Demon: How not to Study Business

A few hundred years ago, Renè Descartes, the fella who brought us the Cartesian coordinate system 📉, isolated himself for a while to figure out (among other things) whether we can know anything for certain. The result of his retreat was his Meditations on First Philosophy, one of the most important philosophical texts of the modern era and one of my personal favorites. Early on in his Meditations, he decides that it’d be useful to engage in a thought experiment. »

Cigarettes and Texts: Self-knowledge, Self-control, and Meditation

A few months ago, I stumbled upon something I found hard to believe: Some people continue smoking cigarettes because they are unaware of how bad it tastes. Although it was counter-intuitive, I had pretty good reason to believe it, as it was suggested by Judson Brewer, a psychiatrist who developed a mindfulness-based smoking cessation program that’s supposedly superior to the standard one developed by the American Lung Association. 😮 »

Some thoughts on how to teach programming

I almost gave up on becoming a programmer. I took two years of college-level programming in high school and I didn’t particularly care for it. Although I did fairly well in those classes, at the time, I probably had something like the following thoughts about programming: I’ve given this a fair shake. I’ve taken two years of classes, and I’ve decided that programming is some tedious bullshit 💩. I need to find something else. »

Maybe We Should Go Easy on Uncle Bob

Edit: James Shore, the guy who attempted to shame Uncle Bob on Twitter, has fairly pointed out that I’ve omitted some of the context that makes his shaming appear more reasonable. I’ve edited this post to include more of that context. Holy crap! In case you missed it, Uncle Bob got excoriated on Twitter earlier this week for a comment he made about the media’s coverage of the separation of immigrant children from their parents. »