The Kaizen Newsletter #18 (09/24/2019)

The importance of finding a mentor

I’ve been a product manager for 7 months now, but I have to admit that I’m still pretty lost.

So when I was told that we hired a product lead at my company, I was pretty happy.

Why is that?

One subject I've discussed in my past newsletters was the concept of feedback loops. Basically, whenever you're trying to learn or improve in something, you want fast feedback loops so that your learnings will be sped up as quickly as possible. One way to do so is through iteration. Meaning, the more you do something, the more mistakes you will make and the more opportunity you have to learn from them.

But that's only one portion of it.

What happens if you make lots of mistakes, but you're unsure of how to correct them?

For example, imagine learning Brazilian jiu-jitsu, but not having a teacher? Sure you could maybe have your partner try and teach you, but wouldn't it be better if you had someone that has a full view of what you're doing wrong and how to correct your mistakes?

That's exactly how I felt for the past 7 months as a product manager.

On one side, I was super excited, since I was the first product manager of the company, so I had all of the responsibilities and I had a big impact on the product roadmap as well.

The downside? I had no idea if what I was doing was good or not. Yes, you have plenty of resources available online, but I had no idea if what I was learning or implementing was actually correct.

And this is the reason why I was so excited to have product lead. I finally had a mentor. Someone to guide me and bring me to the next level.

And for people that have their own company, working in a startup environment, or just don't think that their company managers/leaders are good enough, you don't need to find a mentor from work. Obviously, it helps since they can monitor your day-to-day or at least week-to-week activity, but if you're able to find someone that can you can talk with every two weeks or at least every month, and who can guide you in the right direction, then that definitely works as well.

Most CEOs nowadays have their own coach, most athletes have their personal coach(or coaches), so I don't see why we shouldn't have our own coach as well.

Getting a mentor/coach in your industry/field is a cheat code to get faster results, and everyone should look into having one.

We'll see how it goes for the next six months, but I'm willing to bet that my improvement will be pretty drastic compared to my first six months without guidance.

Now, on to the newsletter.


Weekly Articles

📱 Product

  • Performance metrics for blazingly fast web apps - Very relevant for my company, since we have a web platform. It's also really cool that a company like Superhuman would blog about what they're doing well so that other companies can also profit from their research. Will definitely be looking into integrating these concepts into our own app.

👨‍💻 Workplace

  • Bob Iger Remembers Steve Jobs - One of the most interesting articles I've read in a while. Bog Iger, CEO of Disney, walks us through his relationship with Steve Jobs and how he came about his crazy plan of buying out Pixar, in a period where Steve Jobs (then CEO of Pixar) despised Disney.

  • How I Went from Writing My First Line of Code to a $226K Job Offer in Just 8 Months - I love these type of stories. First of all, cause I'm always reminded how crazy the salaries are in the US compared to Montreal. And second of all, it reminds me that if you really want it, then you can definitely have (almost) anything you want. You just have to put it A LOT of work.

👑 Wait But Why

  • The American Brain - Still impressed that the quality is 10/10 every time I read an article on this website. This next chapter talks about how people use the speech curve and the thought pile to be able to change people’s mind. For example, how did the country change its mind from being ok with smoking cigarettes in public areas, to being super against it?


Weekly Favourites

🎤 Podcast

  • Andrew Yang on the Off the Pill Podcast - First of all, how crazy is it that a Presidential candidate is on a podcast with Ryan Higa!? I actually dislike politics, but I truly enjoyed this podcast. Yang seems to be someone who's very down to Earth and really wants to help the US improve. To be honest, it almost seems TOO GOOD to be true, so if ever someone has more articles on Andrew Yang (good or bad), feel free to send them my way!

🐦 Tweet

🎧 Music

Not much in the last few weeks. Kanye is supposed to release his new album this week, but we'll see if it actually happens.

Songs

🙏 Shoutouts

  • Shoutout to Mark, our new Product Lead at work. He's only been here for a week and we're already seeing some impact!


👋 End Note

If you want to know what I'm up to now, you can check it on my website here.

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Feedback is always appreciated, so let me know what you liked and what I can improve on by replying to this email.

If you see any cool articles, links, tweets, stories or podcasts that you think are interesting, feel free to share as well at alex@alexhughsam.com

See you next Tuesday!

PEACE ✌🏻

Alexander