Hi friends (and new readers 👋🏼), Steven here. This is Product Matters, a semi-regular newsletter on Products and Strategy. Each issue I try to share something I’ve written – usually on the topics of products, digital strategy, and design.
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I thought I had more to write this week, but ended up not.
I’ve been trying Mem.ai, a new note-taking app, over the last fiveish weeks. I am a sucker for shiny new products, and doubly drawn in by the note-taking variety. I had been using Evernote intermittently for the past few years, with stints in Roam and Ulysses. I end up maintaining multiples of everything or different tools for specific use-cases like work, writing, and saving internet stuff. Mostly though, I keep switching because it’s easier than actually building a note-taking routine 😬
I have a bad habit of trying to solve very clear process problems with products.
While I’m generally a believer in building habits, I do think it’s possibly to jumpstart change with a new product/purchase/idea that gets you excited. At least, that’s what I’m telling myself as I plan out the home gym that will re-motivate me to workout again.
Another example: I’ve spent the last two months fiddling with my blog and website instead of writing anything. On Monday, I decided I would go with Ghost as my new writing platform of choice. I’m choosing to believe this will get me a bit excited about writing online again and keep me focused on producing and less fiddling, now that I’ve found something I’m satisfied with. I also feel like I got a win after spending several hours last night trying to modify a theme and getting an SSL certificate working - thanks Marlon for the help!
The same week I was supposed to get a haircut, Alberta announced the re-closure of salons and barber shops. I looked in the mirror the other night and for started to feel like Neal from Freaks and Geeks. I definitely don’t have the curls, but for some reason my sideburns seem to be the fastest growing part of my hair.
Inspired by this realization, I searched for the show last night. To my delight, I learned that Freaks & Geeks is available on CBC Gem, so I started watching reruns. I would have considered shaving my hair again if barbershops, but now I am reminded of who I look like with my short, straight hair.
Look, instead of placing worth on “being different from other people,” place worth on “being yourself.” That is true individuality. A way of living in which, instead of being yourself, you compare yourself to others and try to accentuate only your difference, is just a way of living in which you deceive both others and yourself.
The Courage to Be Happy, Ichiro Kishimi and Fumitake Koga
I’m still reading the same books, though I’ve mostly been focusing on Uncanny Valley. The writing style is very peculiar. It’s a memoir, but it feels more like a series of vignettes that lack specific details. She doesn’t use any company names explicitly so it feels impersonal and vague at times. I’m not a fan of how it’s written but the content/topic itself is engaging to me. Since she refuses to get specific so I do my best to try to place companies and characters from the broader Silicon Valley world.
Some example references: “The social network everybody hates” and “the microblogging platform”.
That’s all for this time. I’m always looking for feedback on both my writing and my ideas. Have something on your mind? Just reply to this email.
I would love to hear from you. I read every response.