I’m sure of some things, but certain of few things

Insecurity of one’s ideas, much like Impostor’s Syndrome is the battleground on which every knowledge worker plies their trade.

“The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves and wise people so full of doubts.” — Bertrand Russell

Let’s be honest, there are plenty of people — neither fools nor sages — who are certain about their life’s work.

It’s easy to dissect logic, to poke and tug at the Jenga blocks of reason. But certainty is not always logical. Certainty is a feeling which is why sages seldom are certain of…

Bloat compounds.

This article by Tom Meyvis and Heeyoung Yoon summarizes the challenge anyone building products faces:

When an incoming university president requested suggestions for changes that would allow the university to better serve its students and community, only 11% of the responses involved removing an existing regulation, practice or programme. Similarly, when the authors asked study participants to make a 10 × 10 grid of green and white boxes symmetrical, participants often added green boxes to the emptier half of the grid rather than removing them from the fuller half, even when doing the latter would have been more efficient.


Here’s how to avoid the common pitfalls and self-sucker-punches of negotiating raises for your most strategically valuable employees.

Don’t play the credentials card.

Credentials have their place, and that place is at the front door, on the way in. Don’t use the lack of an MBA, or some other certification as justification for a lower increase. Unless the the certification is a legal or statutory requirement the only credential that really matters to your business is performance. Paperwork doesn’t move your business forward, human potency and potential does.

Bench the benchmarks

Managers, especially HR managers will often start with benchmarks and the “going market rate.” This is the worst place to start when it comes to your best people. If you’re going to outcompete the market…

Once again, the world moves forward thanks to the work of a fool.

Someone whom had a crazy idea; was scoffed, was punished for their audacity, and whom – it transpires – was right.

We’d do well to remind ourselves that today’s fool might just be tomorrow’s saviour.

Ilya Milstein — “The Minimalist’

My process: Make a thing. Change it. Now I have two things. One of these two things is better, both in total and in any particular detail. I try to notice these differences and amplify the good parts. Then I go back, make another thing, and repeat the process.

I’m not shy about making changes either. Even when I like a piece of work, I try to change it and improve it. As the work gets better, improvements are more difficult to find. Once I like something and the efforts to improve start to flag, I move on.

As part of this process I throw away a lot of work. I accept that.

- @kocienda

This tweet summarizes a complex topic that I’ve been grappling with over the course of the last few years.

How does a leader walk the tight-rope of building a product that is both qualitatively and quantitatively successful? I’m not entirely sure if there are many leaders for whom both carry equal weight.

In the startups I’ve worked in and those I’ve observed, it becomes clear that in any cofounder mix some are driven by the mission & vision and others by the money & metrics. All the above are equally important.

Yet so much of the machinery we use to decide whether a product is successful elevates what can be measured and easily parsed at the expense of that which can only be understood through intuition, feeling and experiencing the products.

Beginner’s Mindset

There is a time to learn and a time to unlearn. There is a time to choose the path less travelled and a time to drift in the slipstream of the peloton. There is a time to hold the weight of two opposing ideas in open palms, and a time to to grip onto an idea with both hands.

Partners stab you in the front.

First Facebook flatters you, then they kill you.

TechCrunch reports that big blue is getting into hosting using WhatsApp for Business as the carrot. Tech Radar goes further, saying they’ve got their sights on websites next — where they’ve been building partnerships for years with the very companies they’re now looking to devour.

Shawn Roos

Product at Canva. Creative heart, curious soul, connective mind. Past lives in Advertising, Digital, Insurance and Christianity. Adoption advocate. Beer. ADHD.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store