Julie Zhuo Profile picture
26 May, 11 tweets, 2 min read
Life is like a video game. The πŸ’΅ question: which game are you playing?

Is it Fortnite Battle Royale, where you outshine an arena of others?

Pokemon, where you collect and show off your rare finds?

Minecraft or Roblox, meta-games where you build games that others play?

Or perhaps you're playing...

Tetris, the game of slotting stuff into the right place with increasing intensity (aka management)

Minesweeper, the game of avoiding being cancelled

Myst, the game of figuring out what the hell this world is all about.

Some games are extraordinarily popular. When everyone around you is playing, it's easy to get swept up in them:

The "Be influential on [App] about [Topic]" game

The "Show off your wealth and fancy possessions" game

The "Look attractive and get liked" game

But there are a stunning variety of games you can play:

The "Make money off crypto" game

The "BTS ARMY breaks records" game

The "Make others laugh" game

The "Help someone else reach their full potential" game

The lesson many eventually learn is that the game we've spent years playing turns out not to be the right one.

It's like discovering all your life you've been trying to win at competitive Street Fighter when what you really love is Final Fantasy.

And the problem with most advice you get is that someone will say: "Oh, to get to the next level, you just need to mash the 'jump' button twice as quickly as you can and press Y."

And their advice might be absolutely spot-on if you're playing Mario. But are you?

So how do you find the game that's right for you?

1) Ask others what they're playing to know the options. "What drives you?"
2) Try out a bunch of different games.
3) Think about yourself at 80--what will you be proud that you played?
4) Avoid comparisons.

What game am I playing these days?

1) Can I show up for my family, friends and community in accordance with my values?
2) Can I learn and better myself every single day?
3) Can I create at the peak of what I am capable of?

What game are you playing?

P.S. I write weekly tweet threads, and if you want a once-a-month-email digest of them all, sign up here: lg.substack.com

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More from @joulee

19 May
Imagine you're using a product and something bothers you about it.

Maybe it takes 5 clicks to do anything.

Maybe it works but is kinda ugly and clunky.

"I bet I could make a new app that's 15% better," you think. "Instant business success!"

This is a fallacy. Thread πŸ‘‡
This lesson took me many failures to properly appreciate.

Especially since it seems like a given: if millions of people use a mediocre service every day, and I come along and make the same thing but better, won't they obviously choose my product?

But no.
Product builders are trained to ask: "Is our product better than the competition's?"

What they should be asking instead is: "Is our product better enough to motivate a change in behavior?"

There is a big difference.
Read 14 tweets
12 May
Is there a term for someone who geeks out on how to get to know someone better? Because I'm definitely in that club.

So of course I looooove thinking about interview questions.

Thread of my favorite questions to ask folks to understand how they think and work.

For understanding their personality:

If I interviewed your siblings and 3 best friends and asked them to describe you, what would they tell me?

For understand their career journey:

What was your decision-making process to join/leave your last 3 roles?

Read 15 tweets
6 May
Designers have many superpowers, but one underrated one is that the work of design leads one to become more comfortable with uncertainty.

How does this impact the product development process?

Thread πŸ‘‡
I learned this lesson almost immediately after receiving my first shiny new design assignment. This was also my first time working with a PM.

She asked me when my work would be done by. I had no experience with design scoping, so I said I'd get back to her.
I brought the question to some senior designers on my team.

"How long should a project like this take?"

A shrug. Then: "It'll take as long as it takes until it's good."
Read 14 tweets
28 Apr
"Some people are simplifiers. You're a complexifier."

This was a piece of feedback I received once from a colleague.

Yeah, it burned.

It felt like a shitty thing to say.

Thread πŸ‘‡(1/11)
Why did I think that? Let's break down the ways:

1) Immediately I'm cast as different, part of the "other" group

2) Saying I'm a "complexifier" makes it sound like this sucky label is my permanent identity.

3) Geez this statement is broad. How about some examples?

I can't say why my colleague gave me feedback this way.

Were they trying to sound insightful? Smart? Superior?

Maybe they thought this kind of delivery would have the biggest impact?

Maybe they wanted to see me squirm?

Read 12 tweets
22 Apr
Companies are like people.

Not sprawling networks of people (though technically that's right)

Rather, thinking about a company as an individual makes many things easier to understand.

Pick the company to join like you'd pick who you'd want to hang out with every day.

Companies have personalities, just like people do. Some companies are flashy and dramatic. Others are staid and quiet. Some live in the future, constantly tossing out new inventions. Others are ruthlessly competitive.

Like with people, all strengths have shadow downsides. Apple's quality and cool comes from a secretive, top-down culture.

Zoom's focus on superior tech leaves it lacking when it comes to product features.

Read 13 tweets
15 Apr
Before The Making of a Manager came out, my publishers and I had a chat that left me deeply uncomfortable.

"Who are some business writers / leaders you admire?" they asked.

Easy. I rattled off a dozen names.

"Great, can you ask them to read your book and give a blurb?"

My initial reaction: 😬
I came up with a myriad of excuses for why I couldn't ask for a blurb.

They don't know me! It would be rude to ask.
They are important people and far too busy to read my book!
I don't have their e-mails.

My publishers cheerfully added some e-mails to the list, reminded me of how important blurbs were to establish the credibility of my book, and wished me well.

Read 10 tweets

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