🎃 A Spooky Retro on Some Recent Writings 👻
Happy Halloween! A few learnings from my earliest writings.
Happy Halloween! It’s Super Mario themed in the Harmetz household this year:
Given the holiday, we are doing a different type of post this week. We have had good subscriber growth over the summer and early fall, so here’s a look back into the archive of some earlier posts that many of you might not have seen and what I learned while writing them.
Our Picks: Top 5 Children’s Books in Our Household Library
This was my first post and while I liked the topic, I was committed to rising above most of the “Top X” type of posts that you see. I aspired for Mind The Beet to be more meaningful and vulnerable than that. Finding the hook in the intro (I calculated that Helen and I will have 20,000 storytimes with our kids before they become self-sufficient readers) has become a hallmark of almost all of our posts. I also established a framework for why the books resonated with our family - something taken from my work-life where criteria and framing are an important part of product management. I felt it made the post more scannable and interesting, leaving people not only with our recommendations but also a way for folks to think about what they value themselves.
The Gifts We Hope to Give
This is still one of my favorite posts that I’ve written on Mind The Beet as it helped me clarify my own thinking on leadership and parenting. I’ve long believed we are entering a period in tech where vulnerability, allyship, and empathy will be the key leadership traits most in demand to navigate the impact of software eating the world. This was a chance for me to put it together into one framing that spun in deeply personal stories across work and parenting. Helen was an extremely helpful editor on this post, pushing me to be more human and less cerebral.
How does a product leader manage their time?
This post was the culmination of various writing experiments over the years. The seed of the idea was a post on managing my time that I wrote three years ago just for my own work team. I had refactored that for Mind The Beet a few months before this post and then followed up with a summary of what media I consume. After hearing how people reacted to all that and what was most valuable, this post was an attempt to bring together several themes in my work life into one treatise. It was a great example of “working in the open” to refine concepts. It was also my first attempt to summarize via Tweetstorm, which has been a successful tactic to drive visibility this year for Mind The Beet:
Vessi Footwear: A Seattle Dad Review
This was a fantastic chance to practice humorous writing and establish a tone that I don’t take myself too seriously. And yet still a solid product rec - and worth reinforcing as the weather gets wetter - Vessi’s are a fantastic waterproof shoe!
Building a custom telepresence studio was a hobby of 2021 and it was a total blast to combine this with my emerging writing habit. This was a chance to let passion shine through in writing and my first time writing a post with lots of pictures. This was the first breakout post where people I didn’t even know reached out to ask questions and provide their own recs.
I had attempted with this post to reinforce a theme of how technology can foster inclusion and openness as a reason to invest in this. While true, honestly the Internet just wants to geek out over cool toys sometimes and I think I could have been more authentic myself by just leaning into that with this one.
Celebrating 10 years of marriage
This post was so much fun to write with Helen. It stemmed from a conversation we had while on vacation as we reflected on our 10 years together. Weaving that into a personally vulnerable story that was at the same time useful for new couples looking for advice took both of our strengths put together. I love how this turned out one part practical, one part human and vulnerable, and one part academic - we worked hard to ensure the post wasn’t just self-aggrandizement yet still reflected who we are.
Have a great holiday! We’ll return next Sunday with regularly scheduled essays and thoughts.