Thoughts on product, growth and other things

As a designer, you'll often get tasks which are vague. “Can you make this activity feed more informative?” or “Can this page looks cleaner?”. In most other disciplines, you'd have to know exactly what they mean by this. You don't have to do “Stakeholder Interviews” for every problem that comes your way.

Client: Can you design A?

Me: Can you define A? Client: A B.

Me (thoughtfully): Hmm, but maybe answer 20 questions about it? Client: Okay.

Me: I think what you need is C! Client: Hmm, maybe.

Me (after 10 days): I think I've cracked it. Client: This is not what I had in mind.

Me: Maybe you should've explained it better. Client: Maybe I should find another designer.

As a designer, you can find the correct solution to a vague problem by iterating. Simply design the simplest solution and keep it low-fidelity. Ask the person if this is what they wanted and they'll end up explaining you things that even they hadn't articulated the first time.

Client: Can you design A?

Me (after 30 mins): Something like this? Client: No, I meant B.

Me (after 2 hrs): This? Client: Yes, but make it more like C.

Me (after 4 hrs): You're going to love this! Client: This is great, let's add some D to this.

Me (after 4 days): I think I've cracked it. Client: This is exactly what I wanted! You understand me so well.

One of the most effective ways of getting big things done is to do it iteratively. This is how to do it

  1. Build a small but broad foundation.
  2. Add big chunks on top.
  3. Step back and identify gaps
  4. Fill gaps
  5. Repeat 3 and 4 until necessary

Have you been struggling with wanting to start up? Can you think of at least 10 times during the last year that you had a great idea for a cool product but you still don't have a product? Lest you start beating up yourself about procrastination and lack of discipline, let me disappoint you. Neither of these is the problem.

The problem is – you focused on the end goal but you're not focused on the process. You think about the product but you don't think about being a maker. The people who succeed are those who are in the habit of making small things and then making them bigger, not those who plan to make big things.

Processes can be good or bad but some processes are necessary.

There is a difference between processes and orders. Processes have upsides as well as downsides for the people who follow them. They make their life more easy than difficult for following them. Orders on the other hand only make their life difficult.

When creating new processes, one should leverage the upsides of the process to make it easy for others to adopt them. Also keep in mind that people don't like change. When you make a change, expect some resistance. Give people some time to get used to it before you start enforcing it.

Underserved markets can be revolutionised by simple products. As the market gets saturated, the solutions tend to get more sophisticated. Founders therefore require more skills, more experience and also some luck to win.

For example, take a look at the UI design industry, which used to be dominated by Adobe Photoshop. There were other solutions but no one cared enough about using them just because PS was the gold standard. When Sketch came, it brought with it powerful features that were build specifically for UI designers. It promised faster processing and ease of use. When Sketch became the new gold standard, along came Figma. It brought with it the ability to work collaboratively in realtime and took away the hassle of file sharing. Each of these tools was more sophisticated than its predecessor.

Bad managers think it's their job to read about all the frameworks that work for other teams and then ask their team to follow all of them. Good managers empower their team to adopt and adapt the best one.

Bad managers give their teams checklists. Good managers show their team the way and let them figure out a way to get there.

Bad managers give their team more work than they can finish. Good managers help their team prioritise.

A couple of years ago, I used to think that leadership was all about giving instructions to other people. Now I've come to understand that it's about empowering other people. It's a tough job and it's easy to let them down.

Everyone should seek out the help of others if they want to get out of a rut and grow. Getting outside help shouldn't need to be restricted for professional pursuits, it has tremendous value in personal life as well.

Partners, unlike coaches, don't need to be extremely good at this. If someone is helping me become a writer, they don't have to be a professional writer themselves. They only have to make sure that I follow through on some best practices for writing. For example, ensure that I write regularly. If I stop, remind me why I started. If I hit a ceiling, help me find a way around.

I say partners because they can be 1. Invested in your growth 2. Gaining someone in return. You help me write better while I help you design better.

Life partners might not be ideal, they are invested in all other aspects of your life too.


Get two people of a similar experience/competence from different industries together where they take turns giving the other a complete picture of their industry, job, problems, hacks etc.

People involved

2 people who have something to share and are curious. These people do not need to be strangers, they can even be friends who hang out around each other all the time but do not gain from their professional experience. Optional: A person who knows vouches for both the people and arranges the session.


Any place, e.g. a cafe, a silent bar, virtual (over video)


2 hours.

The Main discussion

No sensitive company data, anything that they won't share with someone just met at a small party.

The Pitch

More learning per second than a good book, value depends.


People love learning about how other people do things. A large part of travel, entertainment economy is based on this fact. If someone can find such dates for me, I'll even pay for this (1K/date).

What are you gaining from your job?

  • It's NOT the compensation. If someone breaks your window but compensates you for it, it's not your profit.
  • It's not the comfortable lifestyle that comes with the job. It's the compensation and not the job itself that gives you this. Maybe valid for some particular fields though.
  • It lets you put something on your resume which might be worthwhile in the future. But to be honest, it sounds like circle jerk.

It is important that companies ask themselves what value are they providing to their employees. If there's nothing, smart employees are going to figure this out and leave.