reviews will hurt

As a product creator, reviews are one of the most amazing feedback one can ask. It’s spontaneous, many people don’t get that it’s a great way to collect user feedback, not only for marketing purpose, but for product development.

Yet, at the same time, they hurt a lot. Even a four star review sucks and you feel it.

I was on the verge of disabling the unverified reviews, but I decided not to (for now).
Those 4 star reviews are actually good.

We are always tempted to shut down anything that might damage the image of a product, but it’s what makes it worth reading.
Those unbiased review are goldmine of information.

You will get some hatred, it’s fine, we live in the internet.
Our goal as product creators is to have enough good reviews to outshine the bad ones.
After all there is no perfect product, but if your product it’s amazing enough, that’ll be sufficient.

Not every example should be a reference

I’d like to write even more and share my thinking with the world and one think that’s blocking me is one simple fact: I shouldn’t be anyone’s reference.

I am different than the majority in terms of willpower, energy, motivation, goals. This not to say “I am better”; but to say that some of these attributes influence my choices and decisions.

If I didn’t have such willpower I might give up early, if I didn’t have a sudden drop of energy when I face some confrontation I might reach even more results, but the whole mix? It’s my mix.

You can apply it to each and every person in the world. They can be your reference, you can be inspired by their words but keep thinking: What of their traits made them like this?

Because words are a starting point, but then you have to give what you have to reach those words.
Don’t look just for a reference, look at what traits are the one that make your ideal possible.

The worst part is when you’re the only critic

I miss judgement, people knowing better than I would what to do.
I’m not saying that I’ve reached a point where I can’t learn, only that when you can’t receive feedback it’s hard to truly grow.

To me it’s still ok because I always seek the bug and the improvement, but what would happen if I didn’t? From time to time having a clear path forward, knowing your deficiencies from outside, is a great help to focus on an outcome.

If everything is too easy, then you’re not doing the right job for you.
There should always be some tension, a kind of struggle.
That tension is the growth.

It’s not about the role

Some people do care about the label on their tag.
They do care about how people will call them.

It’s fine.

Yet, if you look at what are they doing, where is their value: that’s what defines their job.
Not their status on linkedin, not their label on the tag.

They can slack, they can overdo it, they can do it perfectly, but it’s not about the role. It’s about what _they_ want.
A status, sometimes.
Sometimes they simply want to help.

What moves you? Is it the money? Is the the status? Is it empowering those around you?
For each of these options the role won’t matter. Because the role is a consequence of your desire, and it might not even reflect it perfectly.

Impact of a voice

Before the pandemic we’d be always fascinated by the people that, when they entered the meeting room, changed the room’s mood with their presence.

That required a lot of body language, a masterful crafting of words and intentions.
Those people were rare.

Today we’ve been confined to online meetings and one thing is sure, the remote call removes part of the body language importance.
It’s still there, but since you’re showing less of it it’s less important.

Today you can even set a different speed for the conversation with a simple tool: Your voice.

Like no other time in the past we have this unique window where we can make an impact by giving people our sound and our full attention.
These two elements can drastically change how we are perceived by others during a call and we can influence the other participants so much that it would be foolish to ignore this.

We’re flooded by low speaking, dull sounding, boring voices.
We can speak up, light the room, make a difference, today, and be the one making a difference.

Ethics and no

Many people say that they’d want to “Live the dream”, to have a job for themselves so they own their life.

That dreams also means having tough times with decision making.
Like saying no to a very big store that wants your products.

Drawing the line between what’s good and what’s right is what makes it possible.
What should you aim? The easy yes will give you more money short term, but more stress long term.

What do you value most is what you’ll prioritize, and that will be your work ethic and it always start with a no.

a strange social animal

If you know me, you’d say that I am a loved person, a person people like to get around with, even an interesting one they might say.

But when I look at any social feed I know I don’t belong there.
I was reminded by this when I read today a post by jason fried. In that post he wrote a passage that resonated quite a bit with me.

It said “These days it seems every announcement begins with a “Today we’re super excited to…” preamble. Whether it’s opening yet another bank branch, launching a 10% off promotion, restocking a t-shirt in size medium, announcing a mega-merger, breaking a new record, or introducing a new colorway of an old shoe, everyone sounds super excited! We’re bathed in it.”

This is it. All the feeds are full and fed of stories like that. Only stories like that.
I get it, maybe we don’t want pessimism, maybe we should aim to ignite some optimism and vision for the future.
I get it. But is this really something that helps us moving forward?

I don’t belong to this kind of communication. I don’t belong to the fact that we obnoxiously share only successes that might not be even that much enthusiastic to begin with.
I think feeds like this miss a key element: Honesty and struggle.

Life’s that way. We fail. We fail a lot and then we try again and after countless times we succeed. We create something beautiful, a flower to nurture. That flower is so beautiful we want to share it to the world so that the world will see it.

Those struggle, where are they? We all hear the Edison story, of how he failed 10000 times before getting it right. When are we going to settle this and start telling our failures? The things that didn’t work out?

Not as a way to spread pessimism, but as a way to teach that every failure can be reverted, that after a failure we can almost always try another time. Few failures are fatal, they _seem_ fatal because of the emotional story we attach to them. They _seem_ fatal because of our reaction to that story.
But they’re not.

That’s why I consider myself a strange social animal. I like being with people, but all I see on the social media is something that seems to me outside of my world and I keep wondering: Where’s the place I should belong?

Product failures are a good thing if you learn from them

I became a developer with no reason at all. When I was young my dreams were different, but when the school decided to not open up the courses for what I was interested in, I had to make a choice.

The IT Field seemed to have the most chances of employment and so, here I am, with over 15 years of experience on a topic that wasn’t my first choice and in which, at least to what I know, I excelled in many things and competences.

We all dream of a job that’s a job we love as much as we dream to be in love with the perfect soulmate.
Thing is, you can find beauty, happiness and rewards in things that were not on your radar.

We mistake the joy for the job with the joy of what our accomplishments can give us, how rewarding they can get.

It’s not the job that makes it fulfilling. It’s the work, it’s the people, the achievements, the results, the parties and the failures.

And failures can be a powerful thing.
Today I read of the rise and fall of Flow, an old asan competitor. It struck a cord with me, it resonated so strongly because, as a dev, product manager of my company, creator of a product, and also business owners, that story is my story.

I see many facets of what’s in the life of a product. The hope to find a niche to which you can connect, the idea that you can do better than the giants.

But a failure should give us the opportunity to ask ourselves “What did I miss?” What didn’t we see? What part of the idea wasn’t working?

Developing a product requires you to be in the midst between optimism and pessimism.
You need to be able to dream big, to have a vision, to imagine a new path and future and at the same time you need to be able to foresee the obstacles, the problems, the things that don’t go well, the many ways in which everything can and will go wrong.

If you are too much on any of those side and you’ll either ignore the warnings or be paralyzed.

the small ones can do wonders

What is the difference between a small or a big brand?
One has less money then the other, one has less people to manage than the other.

Those affirmations are true, but that’s not the end of the list.
While it is undeniable that a bigger brand does have more power, one thing the smaller brands have is the ability to change direction fast, to adjust to the market faster than a bigger brand.

A bigger brand needs time, time to reevaluate, time to pass the information, time to evaluate the implications, time to plan.

A smaller brand and company, on the other side, doesn’t need much to adjust.
This has happened today to me for example. I received a criticism from a customer and I understood how I undervalued one factor.

I could’ve held my position, to save face for example, but how worth it would it be?
Not so much.
Being able to say “I’m sorry, I did something wrong” is something we should value as a society, something we should aim for.
Ego is always near, pushing you back, but it’s our job to protect not our ego, but our values.

These kind of values are even more difficult to express once a company grows so much. That’s why a smaller brand can have such an enormous power, if used well.

They can make a difference, in their own terms.

Proud or comforted

If the people tell us that we’re good at something, that they trust our work, that they are sure we’ll be exceptional our first reactions should be to be proud.

Proud only means we’re hiding the things that scare us. We look away from the darkness.
Being proud of something other people tell us is somewhat a weakness because it doesn’t teach us anything. It leads to thinking we’re perfect and that’s rarely the case.

It’s nice to feel that way, it’s easy to feel that way. It’s a shortcut and an illusion, much like when you start dreaming of what would you if you had 1 million dollar.
If you dream of it, you don’t have it. That sensation is not something that guide you, it hides the reality.

What to do then? Be comforted. Reassured by the people that trust your work you know one great thing: You’re valuable. You can do more than what your fear tells you and, more importantly, people know how much value you give.

Do your work, in your best possible way then, knowing that you can fail but if you do you’ll be comforted by those feelings, not blinded by them.

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