Readers of this blog won’t be strangers to my proclivity for spending lots of time thinking about the kinds of skills, tools and behaviours in need of sharpening so as to stay ahead of the curve in what might charitably be described as interesting times. As Abraham Lincoln is reputed to have said:

If I had six hours to chop down a tree, I’d spend the first four sharpening my saw.

I’m not sure whether he’s got the time distribution quite right there, but nevertheless; it’s a decent principle to follow. If you’re going to chop down some trees, make sure your axe is sharp.

It’s for that reason I’ve been enjoying some material from Michael Simmons recently. He has a similar philosophy and talks a lot about the importance of Mental Models, arguing that learning about them constitutes a kind of first principles approach. If you know what they (the mental models) are, and know the basics about a decent range of them… It’s going to set you up with perspectives on the world that help you frame the problem(s) you’re trying to solve in some quite helpful ways. It’s a bit like having an assortment of spectacles you can pick and choose from, until the challenge you’re scrutinising comes into sharp focus.

Check out his 12 Most Useful & Universal Mental Models here.

  • Basically for the same reason as above, I’m studying data driven decision-making at the moment. Since it will underpin much of my present work (i.e. it’s a perspective or mental model I can leverage), and will be highly transferable in the future as well.
  • What data am I going to be making decisions about? Well, there’s our current survey for a start. We’re partnering with the MOT also on distributing the survey far and wide, and offering up some prizes. So go fill it out now!
  • I thought about creating a Product Management manifesto (a couple of weeks back actually) but didn’t quite get around to doing anything about it, yet. Mainly it would be an exercise for me, to give me a set of heuristics by which to focus my thoughts. I’ll still get around to this I reckon since it will make for a decent blog post, but as with any good idea – plenty of other folk have gotten there first.
  • I’ve been listening to lots of Sam Harris via his podcast. His conversations with Bart Ehrman (What is Christianity) and Sean Carroll (In Search of Reality) have been particular favourites thus far. I’ll credit Sean Carroll with finally helping me understand Schrödinger’s equation and how it relates to the many world theory. Which, you know, will be helpful should I ever find myself in an alternate reality somewhere…
  • This coming week I’ll be at the Product Tank meetup in Birmingham. Looking forward to networking with some fellow PM’s and learning something new there also.
Thanks for reading. Feel free to reach out via a comment or on the socials if anything resonates.

Cheers,
Simon

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