where do you stop?
Yesterday, Apple presented the Vision Pro, and it’s clear this was a target for them since the early introductions of AR Kit.
Now, let’s look at this from a product perspective and imagine how much time, effort, and work it took to get to this point. We’re probably talking about a multi-year product development with many iterations.
Not only that, we’re talking about a product that currently has no direct competitor.
Some of the features you see there could be easily dismissed by saying “there’s no way we can do that”.
Is that unique? Just like the iPhone, no. We did have smartphones at that time, but we didn’t have that kind of smartphone.
The same goes for the new Vision Pro, but here what I want to emphasize is: when do you stop? Because I can see many products stopping too early or not stopping at all, whereas, here, you can see the results of a multi-year (surely difficult) product development that goes beyond many expectations.
We might not like the output, but we cannot ignore the amount of effort and imagination that made this possible.
Many of us would have probably stopped along the way, so the question I ask myself is: when do you choose to stop? When is your dream big enough to fail or big enough to succeed? When, along the journey, you decide to keep ideas that feel crazy but in fact are not?
Every product needs these questions, as well as their answers.
If I look back at myself, twenty years ago, I see how much importance I gave to appear serious while working.
It was always part of what I considered normal. Work was serious stuff afterall.
Over time, though, I learned the value of play, thanks to a dear friend, and started enjoying the play at work, the laugh, the joy that comes from small jokes or not taking things too seriously.
What’s even more beautiful, to my eyes, is finding people who enjoy this same thing, discovering how much they enjoy the joyful part of work and make every ride something to look out for.
Because it’s great if you enjoy work by yourself, but it’s even better if you enjoy it together.
I still remember the day when one of my friends told me how surprised he was about one coworker who was facing stress at work.
By stress, I mean the stress that comes by making hard choices while not having enough power.
He noted that, for him, this would have been a no-brainer. He would just choose a way and deal with the consequences, while my coworker was consumed by the choice itself.
When I first listened to this, it very much made sense. They’re different people, it’s normal for them to have different ways to handle such scenarios.
But now that I think of it again, I can see that there’s something more we should consider: Past vs Present.
My friend was saying this from a different perspective, role, and more importantly: experience.
His struggles happened 20 years ago, personal struggles that impacted the way he enjoyed life and family. Those struggles were as real as the ones from my coworker, and they forged his spirit to what he was at that time.
My coworker, on the other hand, was going through similar struggles at that time, and still hadn’t figured out how to get out of them.
As with the plethora of things we learn from life, we might end up take some of our learnings from granted, as if they were part of ourselves from the beginning.
Some of them weren’t, we acquired them, and we don’t know which struggles people are facing. Something that seems easy to us might be a real challenge for others.
Sometimes life asks you to be there, be present, and do nothing. To watch the world unfold, clear up, and evolve.
We always want to control things, to change them, to be part of them, but from time to time we are asked to be spectators, watchers passing by while the world revolve.
I tell people what I like about them, I like being sentimental and sharing with the people around me (friends, but even coworkers) when something touches my heart.
I laugh, I enjoy seeing a smile in the people around me.
When I’m in a remote meeting, my “Hello” is often loud, happy, energetic.
I don’t do this to gain attention, in fact, I might also lose some respect from some people, but I do it because I think life is interesting, it has so many good things, and staying together, talking, discussing, is something I love.
I don’t think I’m “strange”. But when I think about conforming myself to the society, I think we should keep our spirit intact, to enjoy our ride in work and life. To play, laugh, work hard, and enjoy the whole journey.
Questions are powerful. They can unlock new opportunities or allow digging deeper onto a subject.
They allow you to understand a problem deeper.
The problem with questions is that we don’t make them. We make assumptions, we suppose how things work.
We don’t make questions to avoid looking stupid, when, in fact, they could make us smarter.
Yes, there are dumb questions, but who cares? We don’t know if a question will actually be dumb until we ask it.
Also, even the most dumb question can be a gateway to understand a problem better.
I always refer to the “Yellow pen example”.
Say one friend has a yellow pen, and you start with a terrible, dumb question: “What is that?”
“It’s a yellow pen, can’t you see it?”
Well, even if the question was dumb, not very specific, you can still move forward and ask “Oh nice, and how does it work? What kind of ink it uses? Can it be pinned onto paper? Is it refillable?”
These are a few questions you can ask, and we’re just starting.
The thing is, the more questions you ask, the more questions you’ll have in mind.
That’s why questions are beautiful because they’re a fountain of ideas.
I think most of us, at one point, though “I won’t be like them” when thinking about our parents.
Traits we didn’t like, behaviors we didn’t accept. Then one day we decided that no, we will be different than them. We will be better.
Will we be, though?
I’ve seen many people say the same and still behave very similarly as their parents, and I’m wondering: when do we lose track of this intention? When our lives overshadow our experiences and we forget about them?
I recently wrote about how much influence “things we don’t need” have over us.
Saying “No, thanks” internally helps.
We are constantly tested, even by normal things. Like skipping a habit we care about.
What might happen if we skip one day, right?
Willpower, intention, dedication, is a muscle. Every single time we choose to accept a detour, that muscle shrinks.
Be aware of this, learn how to have alternatives to do to not let it shrink, like a reduced/simplified version of the habit, or learn to cope with the small consequences.
It’s not always feasible, but it’s often worth it.
Life is often about marketing / selling.
Because marketing means marketing your ideas, to sell them to the people around you.
Want to go to a restaurant and you’e trying to convince friends? You’re doing marketing.
Choosing a new apartment? Marketing.
Selling has many forms, it’s not restricted to selling a physical object, but it spans across every interaction we have with humans.
What makes a difference is, as usual, how you sell it.
How you say it, what are the intentions you choose to surface in the negotiation, etc.
How are you treating your audience? Are you giving them a clickbaity punch line to lure them into your ground, or are you giving them some more respect?
Are you giving them the space to think about your proposal so that they can, too, sell back a different idea?
Selling is everywhere, but how we approach it is 100% personal.
it’s just a dessert
Lately, I needed to change the way I eat because of some persistent stomach burn.
I intended to do this anyway, controlling my eating habits better is healthy, and it’s also a nice way to train my self-control.
So, it all started. I started eating more slowly, trying to be the last finishing the meal and to be present while eating, enjoying the different facets of flavors in the food.
I’ve started having less food on my plate and not taking food again after I finished.
Not only that, but I stopped drinking alcohol and pretending desserts at the end of the meal.
And then it hit me: How many things I did that were unnecessary?
Before this, if someone asked me: Do you want a dessert? I would’ve said Yes.
Now, I’d probably say No.
Of course, I would love to have it, but do we need it? Is it a requirement? Of course not.
All of this is part of the story we tell in our mind, on one hand, we might think “Oh, this is such a nice dinner, it’s been a while since I went out to dine, so I’ll take a dessert too”.
But as you can see, it’s not required per se. It’s just a story we tell ourselves. Yes, we could think of it as self-care, but I’d say the benefit to learning to say no more frequently outweigh saying yes.
Saying “No, thanks”, to our mind, or people asking, helps us control what we actually want.
To me, saying no allows me to understand that frustration, FOMO, sadness, that comes when I miss something. It happens even for a dessert, as if it was something important.
Except it wasn’t. A missing dessert is not a missing opportunity, not in life, not in a dinner.
Afterall, it’s just a dessert.