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Is This All There Is?


Ari Abraham

September 29, 2019

In 2019, I have confronted myself about the value we are putting into the world as product strategists, designers, and engineers. As an immigrant to this country, I am now living in a time where I agonize over making a living and putting meaningful products out in the world. Like many of us, I aspire to try and make a difference in times when some conspire to make this a meaner and less compassionate place.

Now, I’m lucky. I work at a company that tried very hard to think about what we’re delivering into the public sphere and where I’m never asked to compromise ever.

Then, I went to see Mike Monteiro talk in Pasadena, and I nearly burst into tears from frustration and joy. Frustration, because his talk and his book Ruined By Design articulated all the internal despair I often have working in tech. Joy because I am glad that someone finally said it and is spreading the idea that we can and need to be better.

If you’re reading this, you’re typically in one of these brackets; you’re someone who’s in the industry, you might be thinking of applying to work with us, or you’re a client who’s thinking of hiring us.

This blog post is for those of you who are potential clients.

We’re asking, “Why?” more and demanding meaningful outcomes.

For a long time, I was happy enough to validate markets and navigate a client towards product-market fit. However, now, in 2019, I find myself demanding clients have a good “why,” and meaningful outcomes to spur my interest in helping them.

Why? No really, why are we building this? Talk to me about the outcome we’re getting to for the user? Moreover, also the result you’re gunning for. If the goal is simply growth towards acquisition before moving on to the next thing, then please find a dev shop. It’s not that we don’t want to help you be successful, it’s just that we’re more interested in making you a better client and business that lasts and puts something good out into the world.

Our job is not to coddle you. Our job is to take your idea, maybe even invalidate it but in the process get you to the gold dust that will truly set you apart not just in the market but with your customers as well. We’re interested in your intentions and your integrity.

In short, no, I’m not going to build you that menu that looks like the latest app that is now the fad amongst all your other similarly minded friends. What I am going to do is force you to work with me to identify a meaningful outcome for your user that should sound like “I want to help someone accomplish X and this is important because of Y.”

We’re going to work on a problem that needs solving and will make it better for your customers. Not something that’s just going to help you buy that new Tesla you want so badly. We’re not interested in building something only to help you get seed round funding. Sure, that’s A REASON, BUT we’re more compelled to help you make something that’s finally going to create real, lasting change in the world.

Looking For True Innovators

We mean that. If you’re looking to affect change in the world, if you’re prepared to think about business value in intentional ways, then I want to talk to you. You don’t have to have something you’d like to build yet; you may very well not have any business to do with us at the moment.

If you’re someone who thinks that for all the talent we have in this industry, we should be doing more with it than the next e-commerce platform, delivery service, or cannabis startup, if you’re someone who thinks we should be leveraging our talent to solve the big, meaty problems of our time and wanna just talk an idea through – email me. I’m down to discuss big ideas, problems you’ve recognized opportunities for, or even to talk about burning it all down.

Also, no, if you’re a crypto bro, I’m not interested.

PS: Thank you, Mike, for showing me I’m not alone and telling me to “stay angry”!

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