#15 Difference between work & passion
One with stories of Segway, Pinterest and a mysterious soda machine
David Kelley shared a conversation about his brother Tom’s early career in the book Creative Confidence. Here’s a snippet from that page:
Back when Tom was a management consultant, he once lamented to a friend who was a social worker how sad it was that his profession got paid so much, while her profession got paid so little. Without a moment's hesitation, she said, "That's because you have to pay people a lot to do management-consulting-type work, but I'd do the social work for free if I could afford to." For her, the heart outweighed the dollar.
That’s the difference between work and passion. Passion can become a driving force while riding through the phases of tough & uncertain choices. Such passion is hard to find, even harder to maintain. But it will be worth it, ain’t it?
Let’s check out some interesting stuff from different walks of life. You never know what will click with you & gets you one step closer to your passion.
I love to read stories from the early days of today’s mega-successful products. They are filled with simple mistakes and learning from them. It humanizes all that goes behind the scene to make something meaningful. It’s reassuring that we’re not the only ones going through this pain of learning from our mistakes.
Sarah Tavel was an early employee at Pinterest and saw its product grow to become the success that it is today. She summarized her top 5 lessons from scaling Pinterest in this medium post. I’m sharing the summary here.
What you measure matters
And org chart matters
Listen to your users, but know when to ignore them too. Remember, you’re building for the next 100M users.
Think of user trust like a bank. You want to deposit a lot more than you withdraw.
It’s not always up and to the right, and that’s ok. Stay focused on the long term, and keep perspective on what you have accomplished.
Dig in the post, you’re going to get a lot of ‘aha moments’ as you read the stories. We’re all travelling the same boat, you see!
There are some products that you hope to own one day. You might not have used them and might not need them ever. But their lore is fascinating enough to make you want them, nonetheless. Segway and Pebble Smartwatch are part of my wishlist of such products. Both of them are ‘almost’ extinct today, unfortunately.
Dan Kois shared events that led to immense hype that Segway got even before the world first saw IT. And in some manner, this hype also became one of the key reasons for its failure. This one is really long-read, bookmark it and devour it over the weekend. Here is a snippet from the article capturing Dan’s view on Segway’s failure.
But I still think there was one more factor in Segway’s failure. Every once in a while, a product comes to market, and the seas part, and everyone loves it immediately. Most of the time, though, new products are flawed, and the audience doesn’t quite understand them immediately. They wobble, but they get the chance to regain their balance. The Segway, despite its ability to balance itself, never got that opportunity.
The problem, I think, was the impossible dreams everyone had for IT. When IT was a mystery, it was the coolest invention in the world. Once you saw the Segway, it was just a scooter. It could never quite recover from that letdown. And that’s why I can’t stop thinking that the Segway might still have had a chance but for the hype.
I use some emojis in my emails & chats. My vocabulary there is very limited; there is a lot to be learnt to stay current and culturally correct. These pop-culture icons have deep-rooted stories of origin, evolution and eventual demise. It's not easy to imagine that right?
This story covers how the meaning & role of the Cry-Laughing Face emoji has evolved in recent years.
If you like to explore more, this episode from the 99% invisible podcast talks about how emojis are designed & chosen for global use. Fascinating stuff!
“So I Asked Them to Smile” by photographer Jay Weinstein is a heart-touching collection of photos showcasing the power of a smile. In Jay’s words, this project is “To document the effect of the human smile on a stranger's face. Its goal is to recreate the mindset from which we view a stranger, and then witness as our assumptions transform with their smile.”
Some random goodness from the internet:
Web: Briefest correspondence in the recent history of humankind. Origin aside, it’s a very clever play. Jeff Bezos is known to send the ‘?’ note to many leaders in reference to customer complaints. Alas, Amazon teams cannot dare to send a ‘!’ as an answer.
Web: Do you want to experience your deepfake? Check this promo site build to introduce the movie Reminiscence. It’s scary how they are able to generate a small video with just one of your photos.
Twitter thread: a list of cool & useful websites. This thread has 25.2k likes, its author is a 20-year-old from Surat/Ahmedabad. I wonder what I was doing at the age of 20!
That's all for this week, folks!
Last week, I had wrongly mentioned Namak Haram as the movie with Amitabh’s funny take on English. It’s actually Namak Halaal. Thanks Gaurav for pointing it out.
Last week’s post had a 47% open rate. 106 subscribers will get ‘Stay Curious’ in their email this week. I write this newsletter to share what I learnt from others. If you learnt something from this today, can you forward it to a couple of your friends to continue this chain?
PS: Today's post is grade 5 as per https://hemingwayapp.com/