An Open Letter to Managers of Women

This article first appeared on Medium, where it has received over 205,000 views. It has been republished to Quartz, Upworthy, Huffington Post and featured as a LinkedIn Editor’s Pick.

Dear manager,

We need to talk about her. You probably know who. That analyst, designer, writer, engineer who has been at the organization for just a year or two and is already doing the work of someone several levels above her current pay band. Or maybe she’s not even on your radar, because she’s the dependable one who always delivers on-time and under budget, without any drama.

Despite this woman’s outstanding contributions, you haven’t promoted her or given her a raise. It’s not fair and you know it. Continue reading…

What I Learned from the First Round of Ship Your Side Project

As you may remember, earlier this year, Amanda Phingbodhipakkiya and I ran a six-week bootcamp for midcareer tech professionals called Ship Your Side Project.

Our thesis was that there are tons of people out there tinkering on passion projects who have maybe gotten a little side tracked and lost steam, but with just some structure and accountability, they could launch a v1 of their project. The 300+ upvotes we earned on ProductHunt and the thousands of visits to our site told us that we were onto something that might have legs. Continue reading…

Unpacking Product Insights from Pokémon GO

As you probably have heard, Nintendo has partnered with game developer Niantic to launch a wildly popular game for iOS and Android called Pokémon GO. The game has already reached over 21M daily active users, dominated the in-game purchasing market, and players are spending more time in the game than on Facebook. It even stopped traffic in Central Park as players abandoned their cars to chase after a rare water Pokémon that had appeared in the vicinity.

Rather than emulate existing Pokémon games for Nintendo’s handheld devices [1], this game uses AR (augmented reality) to place your character in a map that is modeled after the real world. From time to time, wild Pokémon will appear on your map — when you tap on them, you are taken to a feed from your phone’s camera and you see the Pokémon superimposed on top of whatever is in front of you. This is the AR piece of the game and it means that other people playing the game can also “see” the same Pokémon you’re looking at if you’re both in the same location. Continue reading…

Beyond the 10,000 Hour Rule

We’re all familiar with the 10,000 hour rule, which was made famous by Malcolm Gladwell in his 2010 bestseller Outliers: The Story of Success. In it, Gladwell makes the argument that 10,000 hours of practice is a critical number that separates the great from the truly extraordinary. One of the bodies of work Gladwell relied on to support his thesis were from research by Florida State University Psychology Professor K. Anders Ericsson, the granddaddy of research on how people developing expertise.

Ericsson studied violinists from the West Berlin Music Academy: the highest performing students did not differ significantly from average or low performing students by IQ, family background, or other factors. The only thing that separated top students who and those who would likely end up as music teachers was the total number of hours they had logged over their lifetime engaged in deliberate, focused, independent music practice.

By the age of 20, the top students had logged over 10,000 hours of this kind of training — a nice round number that Gladwell hammered home over and over again in Outliers. [1]  Continue reading…

The New Napster: How Sci-Hub is Blowing Up the Academic Publishing Industry

There has been an explosive new development in how scientific research is read and distributed. It’s name is Sci-Hub.

Founded in 2011 by Alexandra Elbakyan (who was, at the time, a 22 year-old graduate student based in Kazakhstan), the site has seen a major uptick in the last year. In February 2016, 6M+ scientific papers were downloaded from Sci-Hub, including articles from major journals like Nature and Science, to more niche titles across many fields, by hundreds of thousands of researchers all across the globe [1]. Simply by punching in a paper title or a DOI (document object identifier), which is a kind of ID number for scientific papers, researchers can get immediate, free access to 50M+ articles on the site. Continue reading…