On scaling, thoughts, and life

I don’t really have an excuse for the amount of updates that this blog has. From trying to follow a consistent schedule in the beginning, to the eventual forfeit and writing purely based on “guilt and obligation,” it’s always been pretty difficult to determine what to write and submit.

It’s not that there’s nothing to write about. Donny and I had concluded long ago that the lethargy was a result of wanting to write something to scale. This blog, being our platform to the public, was both a pedastle and a broadcast. A spot where we internalized as a place to only put our best and brightest ideas: thoughts and philosophies that we could be proud of and establish ourselves as thinkers and the experienced.

Which is ironic, seeing that we’re also painfully aware of our inexperience from the mere fact of our age and still pre-double digit tenure in the professional world.

As a result of that, under the few posts that are already on the blog, there lies a graveyard of posts never submitted. Just browsing through a few of mine: there are topics ranging from content filtering, trust in distrust, and some other concepts that at ideation seemed solid and elegant enough until put onto paper. The thought is as always thought, as Silicon Valley is oft to repeat: What’s the value-add?

And that’s when we feel that quiet inner voice answer: “There is none.”

Of course, the answer is to just… not think that way. But once established, it’s hard to do away with. We are trying though. We’ve created PocketDial: a podcast where we’ve designed from the get-go to be much more grounded. It’s still topics, but we’ve forced ourselves to go into a medium where there’s nothing but uncensored and spontaneity. The podcast itself took about 6 months to finally get going: most of it spent between procrastination and convincing each other that it was the right move after answering questions like:

1- But can a podcast scale?
2- How can we protect ourselves?
3- What would we talk about?

As you can tell, this was leading to the same dilemma as the blog. And so before the first episode, we had to establish some ground rules:

1- No more than 10 minutes of editing
2- Talk about whatever we want
3- Talk. Do it. Schedule the episode and no matter how bad it is, release it
4- Don’t care about numbers

So far we only have about 4 episodes. But it feels like a weight has been lifted off the shoulders. For one, outside of adding random topics to a shared Notes app time to time and scheduling the calls, there is no work. We free-form our conversation and let it flow. When one of our recent episodes had a major audio syncing problem— causing lag between our two tracks that made for awful hearing— we still went ahead and released it.

And that in itself I think is inspiring. To me at least. I think if we didn’t, if we hid that track, then the future would just be like the graveyard of blog posts we have now. Instead we got ahead of it: willfully and consciously deciding to show an embarassing/“lack of quality” side and now feel much more free.

This long talk about our decision to start a Podcast (note: this blog will still keep going, though again— with hopefully more updates) points to the idea on scaling. Presenting the best side so that it can be replicated ad infinitem. And how utterly paralyzing it is.

And from this. From Donny and my’s hand at our college startup. To even our two current separate jobs as product managers, I think show again and again how difficult and actually counter-productive it is. In the tech space, we are told to scale to make money. In finances, the version is passive income. In marketing— viral marketing. And let’s not forget about automation.

There’s a time and place for it. And our professional lives always have us thinking about it. How to best create a machine that once placed will generate value across millions of users almost as if on auto-pilot.

But people, life, and even products are not like that. Not at least in the beginning. In the beginning it’s all about change. Learning. Testing. How can we possibly only show a good side when we know nothing? Products are likewise in the beginning as well. So how could our thoughts, blogs, and perspectives be any different?

To expect otherwise is insanity.

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