Stealing ideas doesn’t have to result in imposter syndrome. If anything, copying helps reveal our most authentic selves.

Cat holding a magnifying glass, viewing a brain with different sources of information entering it — papers, audio, people talking, websites, books and a microscope (representing science)
Cat holding a magnifying glass, viewing a brain with different sources of information entering it — papers, audio, people talking, websites, books and a microscope (representing science)
Collecting and stealing ideas from a range of sources. Illustration by author.

More than 70% of people in the workplace feel they have experienced ‘imposter’ thoughts at some point in their lives. Since the term ‘Imposter Phenomenon’ was coined by Dr Pauline in 1971 — initially to describe the self-perceived intellectual phoniness in high achieving women — the term ‘Imposter Syndrome’ has since become part of the common anxiety vocabulary.

Such feelings of unworthiness of our accomplishments can have a genuine and very prevalent impact on our mental well-being. Imposter syndrome inspires overwork paradoxically in the most talented individuals, which at its worst manifests as stress, depression, and burnout.

Having come from…


The Pursuit of Simplicity Only Serves to Manufacture Our Consent, Not Our Understanding.

Cat looking for the understanding in complexity.
Cat looking for the understanding in complexity.
Seeking the understanding in complexity. Illustration by author.

There is nothing humans hate more than not knowing their place in the universe. We are continually looking at the world around us and demanding to understand our value within it. But that value is not easy to discern. Like a hurricane, there is no single root cause in a complex system. The harder one searches with the wrong perspective, the harder it becomes to find.

One of the reasons for this is our pursuit of finding a simple explanation in all things. As a society, we fetishise simplicity. We demand it from our governments, colleagues, friends and even family.


What Are the Pros and Cons of Becoming Emotionally Attached to Your Project?

One person turning towards inspiration and a cat turning away
One person turning towards inspiration and a cat turning away
For or against inspiration? (Illustration by author)

Years ago, I was devastated when a project I had poured so much passion into was one day unceremoniously cancelled. It hurt. And what was worse was I had encouraged my team to also emotionally invest themselves. I learned many lessons from that experience. I vowed never to put myself or anyone else in such a vulnerable emotional state again. Work was not worth it. Now I’m starting to rethinking that approach.

In the office, we are encouraged to take a rational, not passionate approach to our daily tasks. …


Designing an argument to inspire a change of perspective

Cat and chicken sparring in a chat bubble shaped boxing ring
Cat and chicken sparring in a chat bubble shaped boxing ring
Don’t go down the first round. Illustration by author.

Today I’m excited to announce a new machine that will help you win arguments.

It’s called the Argumentative Theory Machine, or ATM for short. The ATM has three components:

  1. A database of argumentation moves
  2. An expert system for identifying and responding to these moves
  3. An automated feedback mechanism to improve your ability to argue well

All your conflicts can now all debated for you at the touch of a button.

But, there's a catch. …


Cat dressed as clown warning that the theatre is on fire.
Cat dressed as clown warning that the theatre is on fire.
How the world ends. Illustration by Author

When the U.S. voted in their first leader, George Washington, nobody could agree on his title. Popular choices included “Your Highness” or “Your Excellency”. Congress didn’t like that. They didn’t want something that gave their leader an inflated sense of ego or ideas of monarchy. But at the same time, they were concerned other countries would not take them seriously.

A political gridlock ensued for three weeks (they’re first). In the end, congress settled on a “temporary” solution using the lowest, least-impressive title they could think of — President. Hard to believe today.

There are two lessons from this:
1. A…


Our attitude to complexity is what determines our autonomy.

Cat measuring a sand dune with calipers
Cat measuring a sand dune with calipers
Trying to measure something complex is like trying to measure a sand dune.

“What is the difference between something complicated and complex anyway?” is a typical question often posed to me during a challenging planning session.

Unbeknownst to my inquirer, they have just invited me to change their world view. I’m no expert in complexity theory, but I know enough to be dangerous.

I reply, “Comparing complicated with the complex is like comparing a Swiss watch with a Frog. You probably could only put one of those back together again”. The difference is the levels of the unknown in between.

What I want people to take away from this article is that the…


“Difficulty is what wakes up the genius” has become my mantra of 2020 (thanks Nassim Taleb). If that's true then what follows should be pure gold: a collection of my best reflections for a challenging year.

Product lessons from 2020
Product lessons from 2020
Bring on 2021 (Illustration by Author)

This year I tried something different. I wanted to craft an article each month on an interesting thought or lesson from my life as a product manager.

It’s been a long time since a year lived has taught me so much on living and working well.

In this article, I’ve summarised some of my most exciting ideas from the year. I hope you enjoy it and that it helps with your own reflections as we move forward together into 2021.

1. Turn your team into an idea factory

How to Persuade a Product Manager

Good ideas give us more opportunities for success.

We should encourage our teams to develop their thoughts with systems that…


No affiliate links. No financial incentives. Just a simple product manager’s own beautiful biases for the best picks of 2020.

Cat looking at 2020 with a knife, homepod, pillow and coffee grinder
Cat looking at 2020 with a knife, homepod, pillow and coffee grinder
Things I loved in 2020. Illustration by author

Tech and Home

Coffee Grinder — Porlex Coffee Grinder, Silver, Tall


Product manager struggling to do work on his laptop at night
Product manager struggling to do work on his laptop at night
The Product Manager’s Annual Report. Illustration by author

A product manager observes his screen glow
As the winter nights continue to grow and grow
His mind fleeting and a flutter
What has been achieved this year? I ask
How is it unlike any other?

As the annual report begins to loom
A stark absence of accomplishment sucks inspiration from the room

But, not all is lost
A glimmer of hope begins to bloom
Though I may have achieved materially little
Perhaps there is more to glean from the gloom

“A wealth of experiences have I” I utter
“Learning from failure is the real teacher” I sputter

I take…


What we learned in bringing people within a large product organisation closer together. Even when we all went remote.

The interdisciplinary nature of the product manager’s job is fertile ground for learning. I find that we can spend as much time building products as building up teams for success.

Each member of a product team helping contribute to success like the parts of a mechanical watch
Each member of a product team helping contribute to success like the parts of a mechanical watch
Product teams are like a mechanical watch (Illustration by author)

I am obsessed with the problem of team building. How can one take a valuable user issue, validate and quantify it, then apply those insights to develop a motivated and high functioning team and deliver value quickly? I’ve been mulling over this question for years. Then finally, last year I got my chance! I was asked to rebuild a search engine and put together a team to achieve it.

In…

Adrian H. Raudaschl

Physician turned product manager working in the world of academic research and health. https://www.linkedin.com/in/adrian-raudaschl/

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