Thursday, April 23, 2009

Bringing Our Life to Work

Welcome to the first post on The Product Messenger. If you are a Product Manager or involved with Online Media, I hope you find this to be an entertaining and valueable site for discussion.

I’m sure most of us have found ourselves at home eating dinner, or at the gym etc… still ruminating about an issue we had tackled at work that day. In a dynamic industry such as Online Media, the distinction between the working world and our personal world is often blurred. For me personally, I gave up caring about that distinction when I started my own company where my working life and personal life were perfectly entwined. Now that I’m back as an FTE in the corporate world there is a little more separation, but I find that some of my best ideas happen outside of work while I’m hiking or doing whatever.

Now to the point. While I think many of us ponder the effect work has on our personal life, I think it’s a good exercise to identify things in our personal life that strengthen our working life. I find great value when interviewing a candidate or interacting with a collegue to find out what they like to do outside of work.

When I am home and not spending time with my Wife, you will generally find me in my recording studio playing and/or recording and/or mixing audio. If I’m not in the studio I’m usually building or restoring audio gear for the studio. I bring this up because those activities very much inform and enrich my outlook as a Product Manager. Building a studio and making an album sound great is an incredibly complicated process. A great deal of visualization happens and the realization can often take months or years to support your initial hypothesis. Below are two simplified diagrams that show just how close the thought processes can be. Diagram 1. outlines a typical data extract, transform & load (ETL) process between some action and a downstream data store. In Diagram 2. you see a typical signal path during audio recording.

My question for discussion is: What things do you do outside of work that make you better at what you do inside of work? Please comment.

Diagram 1.
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Diagram 2.

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