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Soul of an Engineer #12

This Issue: Experience, Disagreements, Future of Work, Niche Products, Freedom

Amarinder Sidhu
Amarinder Sidhu
2 min read

Experience is a Full-Stack Problem

My new essay.

In the digital era, providing great digital experiences, which can be products in and of themselves or can facilitate great experience of physical products, is a prime value opportunity. But reducing that opportunity to just a visual design problem is a value-destroying mistake.

Approaching it as a full-stack problem is the only way for creating consistently great experiences.

Full Link to the essay

How to Disagree Well

The social media culture portrays disagreement as conflict. But losing the art of productive disagreements can be bad for societies and cultures.

This EconTalk podcast centered on Ian Leslie's new book, Conflicted, is a great listen. I haven't read the book yet but have added it to my reading list. I loved these quotes from the podcast conversation.

"We are actually evolved to think in concert with other people. That, our intelligence is essentially interactive and collaborative, and that most thinking is not best done in magnificent isolation."
"We actually do much better thinking when we're in groups where we are disagreeing with each other and we're kind of making the best case that we can for our point of view and then listening to what the others say."

Future of Work

I liked this tweet thread from Steve Sinofsky (an early employee of and led Windows division at Microsoft) discussing the future of work. The current debate - home vs. in-person vs. hybrid - may sound shrill, but how we organize work has always been part of the broader disruption of how companies operate.

An insightful thread.

Niche Products

Patek Philippe sells high-end watches. Their CEO's (Thierry Stern) answer on why haven't they tried connected watches is a masterclass in product focus.

"It’s not our field. Can you imagine? Am I going to fight against Apple, which has nearly the same budget as I do in R&D, except they have five more zeros at the end of it? I can’t compete with that. It’s another way to fabricate watches. We have always been dedicated to mechanical watches, this is what we know and what we enjoy. Working on something electronic may be fun, but it’s not my business. You have to give it to the pro, and I’m not a pro in this type of technology."

Every product builder should take it to heart.

Source: Green Dials and Smart Watches

Afterthought: Freedom is Complicated

Author Sebastian Junger on why Freedom is a complicated concept in the modern society.

"People love to believe they’re free, though, which is hard to achieve in a society that has outsourced virtually all of the tasks needed for survival. Few people grow their own food or build their own homes, and no one—literally no one—refines their own gasoline, performs their own surgery, makes their own ball bearings, grinds their own eyeglass lenses, or manufactures their own electronics from scratch. Everyone—including people who vehemently oppose any form of federal government—depend on a sprawling supply chain that can only function with federal oversight, and most of them pay roughly one-third of their income in taxes for the right to participate in this system."

Source: Freedom