✍️ Two Years of Consistent Writing
Favorite posts from 2022. Top surprises. How we grew as writers.
Happy New Year! As 2022 closes, we are celebrating two years of consistent weekly writing on Mind the Beet! Subscriptions grew one subscriber shy of exactly 100% (guess it’s not too late to share us with a friend!) and email open rates stayed at a strong 40-50% average. Thank you to all of you who helped us mature as writers this year and supported our work with questions, feedback, or sharing of posts. 🙏
As we enter 2023, we’re excited to launch Substack sections on Mind The Beet. This allows us to categorize posts (including the back catalog) by our four main themes: Career, Product, Parenting, and Life.
We’ll continue to post weekly slices of life and thought-provoking essays as two product executives and working parents with young kids. Adam is a VP of Product at Microsoft, Helen is a Sr. Director of Product at a growth-stage startup. We have two elementary-school-aged children. Many of our topic ideas come from conversations with subscribers, so reach out - especially on LinkedIn (Adam | Helen).
Top Posts of 2022
Here was 2022’s top posts by each section and a few things that surprised us as we shared our writings this year.
Top Posts: Career
Our most popular post of the year was a post that Adam wrote on advancing to Product Leader roles (often called Principal PM in many companies) - it was surprising to see how much that one promotion moment is a microcosm for all the skills people need to be great at product.
Becoming life-long learners was a theme of many of our top career posts this year - Adam’s the exec sponsor for learning in his org - and Helen’s made a career of growth via diverse new experiences. What surprised us most about the reactions to these posts was reach outs from engineering and design colleagues with how applicable the content is to them as well. Growth mindset, learning moments, and curiosity span all tech disciplines.
The post that Adam was asked most frequently to give a talk about was his post on purpose-maximizing his career. The talk is a bit geeky - adding a framework and structure to something as nebulous as purpose is hard - yet it’s clear people want to dig deeper than just Tweet-level platitudes when it comes to finding purpose and meaning from work.
Quick links to top posts on career:
📈 Tips and traps for a promotion to your first Product leader role (Adam)
☔️Learning from failures and mistakes (Helen)
🔍 Finding purpose in your career (A Framework) (Adam)
💼 Interview Guide for PM Jobs (Helen)
🔦 Everything a PM needs to learn on the job (Adam)
Top Posts: Product
So much of Product Twitter and other social conversations on product making are by full-time writers and consultants that don’t practice the profession anymore. For us, our “slice of life” posts as product makers - delving into our lived experiences - got more responses than generic best practice posts that are well covered elsewhere. As with most things in writing, real-life stories win.
We tried to have fun with our thoughts on how to build and grow products - we spend so much of our day thinking about these things that Mind The Beet is often an outlet to be a little silly in its over-application to too many things in life (e.g. looking at this post.)
Quick links to top posts on product making:
🧐Product Leader’s Role in Building Trust (Helen)
🏢 What Partner/VP at Microsoft is really like (Adam)
🦜My 10 favorite Productisms: Pithy sayings that embed product wisdom (Adam)
💎 Hidden Gems for PM's Inside Taylor Swift's New Album (Helen and Adam)
Top Posts: Parenting
Giving yourself and your co-parent grace, taking time for self-care, and savoring moments instead of things: These are the topics and themes we most wanted to discuss as busy working parents. In 2021, we did a lot of practical advice on parenting - how to hire a nanny, the best books for Pre-K reading time - and while we often share those with new parents, we didn’t feel like we dug deep into the lived experience and tradeoffs working parents make. In 2022, our writing was more vulnerable and told via stories.
Quick links to top posts on parenting:
🌸 Mother’s Day retrospective - self-care and motherhood (Helen)
🐣What I remember from that first year of fatherhood (Adam)
✈️ Work Travel and Mom Guilt (Helen)
🏰 Guide to a trip to Disneyland (Helen and Adam)
Top Posts: Life
The consensus wisdom on newsletter writing is to be focused: pick a niche audience. In many ways, Mind The Beet violates that golden rule. Is MTB for tech professionals? Product makers? People wondering how to thrive in mid-life? Yet reframed, we’ve discovered over time that the “product” of Mind The Beet is ourselves and our lived experiences as two working parents in tech. Subscribe if you want to get to know us and think our journey can help your own. Our core audience is mostly those in our network who know us in some way - it’s easier to write about life when you envision your audience as people you know, yet with the hope that those outside our circle will find value in the transparency.
To that end, this requires us to find a voice to talk about ourselves in an authentic way. We practiced writing with purpose about things we are far from authorities on - planning our life, making resolutions, and hosting parties. We are surprised by how often a post in this section ends up being a conversation starter during a coffee chat - they are great openers to deepening relationships. You’ll always have something to begin a conversation with us about if you subscribe.
Quick links to top posts on life:
⚕️Sugar, weight loss and PCOS (Helen)
🏖️ Field guide to amazing time off (Adam)
✅ 22 for 22: A new approach to my New Year’s Resolutions (Helen)
📚34 books read in 2022 (Adam)
🍰 The joy of hosting parties (Helen)
🩺 Health gadgets I’ve been using (Adam)
🏖️ How I approached a sabbatical (Adam)
Sharing Mind The Beet
The engagement with readers is what has helped us keep up the writing habit - please keep the reach outs on LinkedIn, Teams, Slack, and email (email@example.com) coming!
If you’ve made it this far into this post, you are one of our super readers. It would be deeply meaningful if you shared our writing and what it means to you on LinkedIn, Twitter, or with your work group. This post is a fantastic one to share because it is a great intro for any new subscribers and hopefully encapsulates why many of you are here.
What Should We Write About in 2023?
If you had a second, drop us a line to let us know your favorite post from 2022. What do you want to see more of? What aspects of parenting, product making, career, and life as working parents are you curious about us exploring? If you are receiving this via email, you can reply directly to the mail.