Early Stage Product Questions

Product Roadmap

Who What When Where Why and How - A Short Silicon Valley Poem

  1. The CEO looks at the market conditions to identify a problem that a user segment has.

    Consumes: when, where

    Answers: who, why

The Future Historians of Silicon Valley

One of the most common university majors for past presidents is History. In fact, students of history find their way into some of the most “influential” professions, with careers in politics, policy-making, and law.

Those who study history learn of the decisions that were made in the past, the reasoning behind them, and the results thereafter. Thus those who study history might have a better understanding of policies that they are working on, the options available to them, and the potential consequences.

Although this kind of history-based work sits firmly in the humanities, it’s not all that different from what we do here in Silicon Valley.

Lists of Startup Tools Are Not Useful

There’s a common trend among companies, blogs, and even Github repositories to create a list of “tools” for startups. Here’s a startup built on that premise: Startup Stash. Here’s a Medium article: 400 Free Resources And Tools For Entrepreneurs, Freelancers and Startups. Here’s a Github: Awesome Startup. Here’s a VC resources page: Antler Toolbox.

I too love being overwhelmed with options.

When I saw the first of these appear, I think it was a list on GitHub, it was pretty cool and I even bookmarked the site. But by now, these resource lists are becoming incredibly useless and boring.

Why Video Games Aren't Art

I play a fair amount of video games, including emotional, aesthetic games like Florence and complex, open games like Dwarf Fortress. Over the years there are periodically discussions about whether video games are art. For example, here are articles from Time and London Review of Books on the subject.

"Florence, an interactive story about love and life."

These discussions tend to ask about the aesthetic and entertainment values of the medium, trying to address the question of what exactly makes art, art. But to peel back the layer of indirection, art at its core is anything that is culture; It is a shared experience.

And interestingly, that’s what disqualifies video games.

On My Procrastination With Blogging

To be honest, I’m scared of commiting content to the Internet. As a recovering perfectionist, I’m always scared to reveal the parts of me that are less than perfect. When I think of a blog entry, I think it needs to be fleshed out and insightful and fulfilling. But as Neil Fiore points out in The Now Habit, when we think about the final version of a project, we discredit all the dirty, imperfect work that has to go in to the steps of getting there. And this mental block causes us to procrastinate.