And the stories I tell about them

Sometime in grade school, I had an epiphany.

I discovered that my memory for numbers, dates, and equations was average at best, but my memory for images and stories was fantastic. If I found a way to represent something visually there was a pretty good chance I would remember it forever. If not, 🤷.

What started as a study hack quickly became my default way to absorb and retain knowledge. Whether it’s machine learning algorithms, statistical concepts, or organizational design, visualizations are a huge part of how I interpret and internalize the world.

For the past couple of years, I’ve…


50+ questions that are essential to remember but painfully easy to forget — for individual contributors to CPOs

Product management tends to attract people who are high ownership, who like to help, and who have a strong bias towards action. In many ways this personality cocktail is great. People with those this are fantastic at moving things forward.

But that set of personality traits also can make it hard to step back and see what you’re missing.

“I have two kinds of problems, the urgent and the important. The urgent are not important, and the important are never urgent.” — Eisenhower

This list of questions helps me make sure I’m giving attention to the important, not just the…


What we’re focusing on at Unstoppable Domains this year

The Unstoppable App Catalog

Dear Unstoppable Community,

What a year! Since we started on this journey in 2019 we’ve registered over 450,000 domains, helped launch nearly 30,000 decentralized websites, and signed partnerships with some of the biggest names in crypto. 2020 saw Coinbase, MEW, Gemini, Opera and many others join the Unstoppable community. We’re proud of what this community is becoming and we couldn’t have done it without you. Before anything else — thank you for your support!

As we look towards 2021, we’re more committed than ever to the decentralized web and we’re excited for the announcements we have planned this year. At…


Just before sitting down to write this I stumbled across a brand new post by one of my favorite internet thinkers, Chris Dixon. In this post he says:

“The most common mistake people make when evaluating new technologies is to focus too much on the “doing old things better” category. For example, when evaluating the potential of blockchains, people sometimes focus on things like cheaper and faster global payments, which are important and necessary but only the beginning. What’s even more exciting are the new things you simply couldn’t create before…”

Unstoppable Domains is a decentralized domain registry and registrar.


Go from zero to recurring revenue in less time than it takes to do your laundry (Stripe + Webflow)

Photo by Mike Petrucci on Unsplash

When I started to build my latest project — a platform for personalized job alerts — I found myself in a predicament.

I was planning to manage the delivery and support of the product over email so I didn’t need a very heavy app. All I needed was a landing page to explain the product and a subscription page where my customers could sign up. Sounds like a great match for nocode tools, right?

Unfortunately, no!

Shopify, Webflow, Squarespace, etc. are fantastic tools for selling physical goods like t-shirts and subscription boxes. They’re also great at selling digital goods where…


Navigating the first stumbling block to writing great OKRs.

“How long should they last?” is one of the first questions that comes up when a team starts writing their OKRs. It’s not a hard question to answer, but it will take some thought (and maybe some experimentation) to get it right.

There are two things you need to balance when picking an OKR time frame.

Give your OKRs enough time that you can make real progress, but not so long that the world will change under your feet.

For a small and nimble startup:

You can certainly make a lot of progress in a year or a quarter. But if you’re learning quickly (and you…


World War II Salvage, Ponies, and the birth of a new financial system.

A busy port full of shipping containers, cranes, and huge boats
A busy port full of shipping containers, cranes, and huge boats
Photo by chuttersnap on Unsplash

Bitcoin

In 1952, a North Carolina man named Malcom McLean took out a $22 million dollar loan that would change the face of international commerce.

With that loan, he bought a pair of WWII-era oil tankers.

Over the coming months and years, Malcom gutted them. He ripped out baffles, braces, and tanks. He reduced the ships to shells. And in their cavernous darkness he started welding something new. He added braces, clamps, chains, and hooks. Four years later, he was done.

In April of 1956, Malcom McLean launched the world’s first container ship.

It set sail from Newark, New Jersey with…


Floris Andréa

The key results you choose will make or break your OKRs. Learn how to pick the right ones for your team, company, and product.

Key results tell us if we’re getting closer to achieving our goals.

They seem simple, but writing great key results can be hard.

The perfect key result

Since key results measure our progress towards an objective, the best key result is a direct measurement of that objective itself. For example, say we have an objective to “Make our website more resilient”. That’s a laudable goal and ideally, there’s a number on a dashboard somewhere that says “Website Resiliency: 12”. Perfect! Our key result might be “Increase Website Resiliency from 12 to 17”.

That’s a great metric. It’s clear, concise, and verbatim what we’re trying…


This is all you really need

Most OKR software is woefully over-engineered. You don’t need likes, recommendations, or social sharing features. You need a simple, collaborative place where you can record your goals and your progress against them. Most teams just need a spreadsheet. I’ve used this template personally with teams in excess of 450 people. Chances are it will work for you too.

To use the template, click on the link above, make a copy (FileMake a copy), and fill in your company’s information. If you have any questions or issues, comment here or reach out to me on Twitter or email (contact info…


Lessons learned from facilitating dozens of remote OKR sessions for dozens of teams

The end of the quarter is quickly approaching and for many companies, that means it’s OKR setting time once again. That process can be stressful and confusing under the best of circumstances. And with many leaders finding themselves suddenly in charge of partially or fully remote teams (thanks, COVID-19), that stress and confusion multiply tenfold.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve spoken with many leaders who are looking for advice on how to set OKRs remotely for the first time. This short primer summarizes what I’ve learned from facilitating dozens of remote OKR sessions. …

Michael Williams

Product manager. I write about systems, organizational design, and occasionally crypto. Say hi on Twitter at @mvwi

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