My Top 10 Essays of 2020



While I can't claim Taylor Swift's level of productivity during the pandemic with two major album releases, 2020 was still a prolific year of writing for me, publishing 18 new essays and remastering 3 existing ones. I thought I'd take a moment to recap the product essays that resonated the most with readers in case you missed any of them.

The Top 10 Deliverables of Product Managers
In my most popular essay of the year, I reframe the role of a product manager as responsible for 10 critical deliverables across the four dimensions of product management: vision, strategy, design, and execution. I share exactly what each deliverable is and thereby provide a framework for assessing your own skills against each and identifying concrete opportunities for improvement.

5 Skills Every Product Manager Can Learn From Elon Musk
This year I finally got around to reading Ashlee Vance's fantastic biography on Elon Musk. Throughout my reading, I found 5 critical skills that every product manager should strive to emulate from Elon.

Finding Product Culture Fit
Through my time in Silicon Valley, I've found four specific product cultures dominate tech companies: engineering-driven, data-driven, design-driven, and sales-driven product cultures. I share what each culture entails and how understanding your personal resonance with each company's product culture can significantly accelerate your career.

A Leader's Guide to Implementing OKRs
I'm a firm believer in OKRs as a highly effective goal-setting framework. However, too often, OKRs are implemented poorly, resulting in the promised benefits never being realized. I share what I've learned it takes to develop an effective OKR program.

A Leader's Guide to Metrics Reviews
Both Ada and I have had the opportunity to work under two incredible data-driven leaders: Jeff Weiner at LinkedIn and the late Dave Goldberg at SurveyMonkey. Those experiences shaped the way that we both now think about building an effective data-driven product culture. In this post I share the details behind one critical practice both CEOs followed, which was weekly metrics reviews.

A Primer on Business Strategy From Hamilton Helmer's 7 Powers
Beyond product/market fit, it turns out business strategy really does matter. A sound strategy can make the difference between our initial product/market fit being ephemeral versus the beginning of a meaningful and lasting business. I recently read Hamilton Helmer's book and found it to be an excellent primer on business strategy. I share my key takeaways for every product manager in this post.

Beyond product, I wrote two career essays that grabbed readers' attention.

How I Write
Over the 11 years of writing over 150 essays receiving over 1.5 million views, I've developed and refined a very detailed writing process that works wonders for me. In this post I share every detail of my practice for aspiring writers looking to improve upon their own craft.

Midlife Career Exploration
I've come to realize that optimizing an early career is actually far more straightforward than managing midlife career exploration based on the many career discussions I've had with folks in recent years. In this post, I share the considerations that become important as you seek to find career satisfaction in this next phase of your life.

I also started a new blog with the birth of my daughter, Zoe, where I write letters to her sharing some of the most important lessons I've learned on living a good life. I've been amazed by their warm reception, so I thought you might enjoy a few of them as well.

Choose your dopamine hits wisely
In an effort to teach my daughter everything I know about happiness, I share my insights on dopamine and how each of us has the opportunity to proactively program our dopamine diet.

If you want love
In this personal post, I share the discussions Ada and I had about deciding to have a child and what I realize now we ultimately got wrong about thinking through that decision.

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