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Advice That I Can’t Get Out of My Head

🌈 Abstract

The article discusses the importance of continuous learning and growth for employees in high-growth environments, and shares insights from the author's experience. It covers topics such as preventing burnout, understanding SaaS competition dynamics, and trusting one's gut instincts in decision-making.

🙋 Q&A

[01] Burnout

1. What are the 3 main causes of burnout according to Emmett Shear?

  • Permanent On-call: Never having true time off, as work can always reach you
  • Broken Steering: Feeling that your actions have no impact, causing a deep emptiness in the day-to-day work
  • Mission Doubt: The feeling that your work doesn't matter, typically because you don't actually need your job to survive

2. How has the author found this advice useful in preventing burnout?

  • The advice helped the author understand patterns of burnout they had observed, such as:
    • Vacations not helping some people who were burnt out
    • Some people appearing "burnout-proof" despite long hours
    • Product managers being at higher risk of burnout than engineers
    • Parents of young children seeming less prone to burnout
  • The author was able to take actionable steps as a manager to address the causes of burnout, such as:
    • Providing immediate positive feedback to improve "Broken Steering"
    • Measuring small wins to quantify progress and address "Broken Steering"
    • Instilling a shared sense of purpose and meaningful equity ownership to address "Mission Doubt"

[02] SaaS Competition

1. What are the key points about SaaS competition highlighted in the article?

  • SaaS sectors often turn into winner-take-most oligopolies, where the highs of winning are higher and the lows of losing are lower
  • SaaS company leaders are incentivized to compete with one another in an uncompromising, "dominant strategy" manner
  • Ignoring competition is poor advice, as SaaS companies are natural predators of one another and the only way to win is to compete brutally

2. How has the author found this advice useful?

  • The author has found that SaaS competition inevitably develops into "total war", where everyone is fighting for every dollar and a culture of excellence is required to win
  • At a startup, competition is everyone's problem, while at a large company it can be easy to view it as someone else's problem
  • This advice has made the author more attuned to the competitive landscape and the need for all functions of the business to be fully engaged in the fight

[03] Trusting Your Gut

1. What is the key advice about trusting your gut in decision-making?

  • You should trust your gut to avoid things, but use data to decide to take action
  • The reason you can trust your gut to detect danger is evolutionary - those with weak genes for detecting hazards were eliminated

2. How has the author found this advice useful?

  • The advice gives permission to be "illogical" and trust your gut instincts, rather than relying solely on quantitative analysis
  • The author has used this advice to get over the hump of bailing out of bad situations, and has been happy they did so in every case
Shared by Daniel Chen ·
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