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The difference between caring and caring enough to do something

#askForPay instead of #payToSpeak

There’s been a movement around #payToSpeak conferences on Twitter and elsewhere, that is conferences where the speaker essentially ends up paying to speak there (travel expenses, time put into the talk, time not working when being at the conference etc.). I think that speakers should be paid, or they at least shouldn’t be going negative in budget to speak at a conference. Here’s my experience:

How much money do you make?

I was taught asking someone how much money they made was a rude question. You just don’t do it along with talking about politics and religion and a myriad of other somewhat taboo things. But why? Equal pay day wasn’t that long ago and a contribution to the reason that women don’t get paid as much is because we don’t know that we aren’t…so let’s talk about it! I got the motivation from this great article by Ellen Pao. Check that out for more ideas.

narcissistic man

Product development doesn’t have to be narcissistic

I’ve been accused of being a narcissist before. Not in those exact words, but I will never forget the conversation. I was 25 and a good friend of mine and I were talking. She finally said (in a rare pause of my banter), “Natalie, you always talk about you and never ask about me.” Wow, that one hit hard and I felt guilty and ashamed. I had never thought about it before. I wondered where my baby-boomer parents had gone wrong in raising me as a millennial snowflake (who was nothing but extraordinary) who didn’t know the true definition of meaningful discourse. Ever since then, I’ve put a concerted effort into making sure that I ask the other person I’m talking to questions about themselves. It’s a constant reminder in my awkward conversational brain – “ask them about their day, weekend, year…yeah—that’s perfect!” We often run into a narcissism problem in product development, too, and it can stem from fear and shame.

Fighting fires doesn’t prevent the fire

I’ve written about this before in some form or another, I’m sure. But why is it that fire fighting is so attractive in relation to our work lives? Oh yeah, it’s that hero mentality…

TLAs are POS and make your customers say WTF

Think about when you started in a new job or new department and the flood of acronyms that you heard. It was like people were speaking a different language and they pretty much were. I’m not saying acronyms are bad – they do have their places as mnemonic devices and to shorten things – but when they develop into a lingo that is unrecognizable to anyone outside the fold we have a problem.