Memo to myself

A random and ever-evolving list of things I believe to be true, which inform my work.

On creativity and intelligence

  • If you’re working on anything creative, aim to serve it up al dente — don’t overcook it. 🍝
  • Your only edge is your point of view.
  • A mark of first-rate intelligence is the ability to...recognize what is binary and what is not.

On decision making and goals

  • Seek perfect information but learn to recognize and act on minimum viable information.
  • Want to achieve something? Visualize that thing in the future. Work backwards to where you are today. There are many steps in between those two points but you wont be able to see or know them right now. Just start problem solving to take the first step and each subsequent step. Whether or not you will reach your end goal - and how fast - is a matter of momentum. Keep up momentum!
  • Related to above: Making a decision is always > indecision
  • Always be practicing and refining these sneaky skills: 1) How to price and allocate time and 2) How to recognize what is an investment vs. an expense

On work

  • The real advantage of working ‘smarter’ is that it enables you to increase throughput, so that your version of working ‘harder’ hits harder than the average hard worker.
  • Thinking about personal development, in career or otherwise, one of the things I always come back to: To get better, there's no replacement for just seeing a lot of situations. Sheer exposure. Age is a factor in this but it's not everything.
  • As a manager, if you remember only one piece of advice, make it this one: never make a promise you can't keep.
  • Market research is misunderstood and often mispriced. Legacy methods tend to be prohibitively expensive and, by association, hurt the perception of more agile techniques. The bottom line: more than ever before, we can cheaply and quickly collect and analyze an abundance of signals to learn about consumer behaviors, preferences, brand perceptions, and cultural trends.
  • One of the biggest myths that gets perpetuated in the business world is that "insights are discovered." This is not true. Insights are cultivated. There's so much resistance to having even a trace amount of "bias" or "leading" questions in a study that researchers and insights teams end up leaving a lot of great ideas on the table in the name of research purity. Sterile, hyper-controlled research is right in a clinical setting, but it's limiting for marketers and designers. The best insights in my career have come through hypothesis testing and following surprising leads - from imposing just bit of "POV" on the problem in an aim to unlock a novel idea.