Subscription Prison

The technology industry loves subscriptions. Software-as-a-service. Cloud computing. Meal kit delivery. Silicon Valley sees subscriptions everywhere as progress. But for consumers, mandatory subscriptions are a prison that takes away choice. The best consumer tech empowers us to own and control our experiences. An e-book I buy from Amazon should be mine, DRM-free, forever. But companies now want to turn ownership into rentals. Without a monthly subscription: Adobe will take colors (!...

September 3, 2023

Systems Thinking Says: Don’t Settle in Places Without Feedback Loops

Systems thinking teaches us that feedback loops are essential for any system to function well over time. Without feedback loops to provide corrections, systems gradually drift into dysfunction and collapse. As we all know, the political system in Russia has lacked effective feedback loops for many years never had effective feedback loops. Power has become concentrated in the hands of a few, while civil society and media freedoms have been severely curtailed....

August 21, 2023

Understanding Parental Caution While Taking Smart Risks

As we grow into adulthood, there comes a point where we may realize that some our parents’ advice stems from an outdated model of the world. The career path or life script they followed 30+ years ago often won’t lead to success today. Though well-intentioned, their guidance can sometimes steer us wrong. This happens because the world changes faster than parental model of the world. Technology, culture, the economy—all evolve rapidly....

August 19, 2023

Trying to Understand Something Difficult? Minimize the Number of Attempts!

When you’re trying to wrap your head around challenging new ideas, your natural instinct may be to chip away at it in several attempts. Read a bit, take a break, come back later - like attacking a mountain ascent in short sprints. This may feel like you’re making progress, but you’re actually doing yourself a disservice. Every time you re-engage with the difficult material, you’re forcing your mind to re-enter a state of intense flow....

August 16, 2023

Why Sales Engineers Exist

Paul Graham once wrote that “a startup is a company designed to grow fast.” For a startup to grow fast, especially a B2B startup selling SaaS products to other companies, it needs sales engineers. Sales engineers are the technical experts who work closely with sales teams. They exist because selling enterprise software requires deep technical knowledge that salespeople typical don’t have. The salesperson establishes rapport with the prospect and understands their business needs....

August 2, 2023

Don’t know what to do next? Teach!

We (esp. those in the tech industry) have an instinctual aversion to pedagogy. “Those who can’t do, teach” the old saying goes. But the truth is the opposite. Teaching does not indicate an inability to do something. On the contrary, teaching empowers and enables ability. It is the highest form of understanding. When you teach something, you gain a deeper mastery over the subject matter than you would as a passive student....

July 31, 2023