More on Science
9 months ago
Dehumanization Against Anthropomorphization
We've fought for humanity's sake. We need equilibrium.
We live in a world of opposites (black/white, up/down, love/hate), thus life is a game of achieving equilibrium. We have a universe of paradoxes within ourselves, not just in physics.
Individually, you balance your intellect and heart, but as a species, we're full of polarities. They might be gentle and compassionate, then ruthless and unsympathetic.
We desire for connection so much that we personify non-human beings and objects while turning to violence and hatred toward others. These contrasts baffle me. Will we find balance?
Assigning human-like features or bonding with objects is common throughout childhood. Cartoons often give non-humans human traits. Adults still anthropomorphize this trait. Researchers agree we start doing it as infants and continue throughout life.
Humans of all ages are good at humanizing stuff. We build emotional attachments to weather events, inanimate objects, animals, plants, and locales. Gods, goddesses, and fictitious figures are anthropomorphized.
Cast Away, starring Tom Hanks, features anthropization. Hanks is left on an island, where he builds an emotional bond with a volleyball he calls Wilson.
We became emotionally invested in Wilson, including myself.
Why do we do it, though?
Our instincts and traits helped us survive and thrive. Our brain is alert to other people's thoughts, feelings, and intentions to assist us to determine who is safe or hazardous. We can think about others and our own mental states, or about thinking. This is the Theory of Mind.
Neurologically, specialists believe the Theory of Mind has to do with our mirror neurons, which exhibit the same activity while executing or witnessing an action.
Mirror neurons may contribute to anthropization, but they're not the only ones. In 2021, Harvard Medical School researchers at MGH and MIT colleagues published a study on the brain's notion of mind.
“Our study provides evidence to support theory of mind by individual neurons. Until now, it wasn’t clear whether or how neurons were able to perform these social cognitive computations.”
Neurons have particular functions, researchers found. Others encode information that differentiates one person's beliefs from another's. Some neurons reflect tale pieces, whereas others aren't directly involved in social reasoning but may multitask contributing factors.
Combining neuronal data gives a precise portrait of another's beliefs and comprehension. The theory of mind describes how we judge and understand each other in our species, and it likely led to anthropomorphism. Neuroscience indicates identical brain regions react to human or non-human behavior, like mirror neurons.
Some academics believe we're wired for connection, which explains why we anthropomorphize. When we're alone, we may anthropomorphize non-humans.
Humanizing non-human entities may make them deserving of moral care, according to another theory. Animamorphizing something makes it responsible for its actions and deserves punishments or rewards. This mental shift is typically apparent in our connections with pets and leads to deanthropomorphization.
Dehumanizing involves denying someone or anything ethical regard, the opposite of anthropomorphizing.
Dehumanization occurs throughout history. We do it to everything in nature, including ourselves. We experiment on and torture animals. We enslave, hate, and harm other groups of people.
Race, immigrant status, dress choices, sexual orientation, social class, religion, gender, politics, need I go on? Our degrading behavior is promoting fascism and division everywhere.
Dehumanizing someone or anything reduces their agency and value. Many assume they're immune to this feature, but tests disagree.
It's inevitable. Humans are wired to have knee-jerk reactions to differences. We are programmed to dehumanize others, and it's easier than we'd like to admit.
Why do we do it, though?
Dehumanizing others is simpler than humanizing things for several reasons. First, we consider everything unusual as harmful, which has helped our species survive for hundreds of millions of years. Our propensity to be distrustful of others, like our fear of the unknown, promotes an us-vs.-them mentality.
Since WWII, various studies have been done to explain how or why the holocaust happened. How did so many individuals become radicalized to commit such awful actions and feel morally justified? Researchers quickly showed how easily the mind can turn gloomy.
Stanley Milgram's 1960s electroshock experiment highlighted how quickly people bow to authority to injure others. Philip Zimbardo's 1971 Stanford Prison Experiment revealed how power may be abused.
The us-versus-them attitude is natural and even young toddlers act on it. Without a relationship, empathy is more difficult.
It's terrifying how quickly dehumanizing behavior becomes commonplace. The current pandemic is an example. Most countries no longer count deaths. Long Covid is a major issue, with predictions of a handicapped tsunami in the future years. Mostly, we shrug.
In 2020, we panicked. Remember everyone's caution? Now Long Covid is ruining more lives, threatening to disable an insane amount of our population for months or their entire lives.
There's little research. Experts can't even classify or cure it. The people should be outraged, but most have ceased caring. They're over covid.
We're encouraged to find a method to live with a terrible pandemic that will cause years of damage. People aren't worried about infection anymore. They shrug and say, "We'll all get it eventually," then hope they're not one of the 30% who develops Long Covid.
We can correct course before further damage. Because we can recognize our urges and biases, we're not captives to them. We can think critically about our thoughts and behaviors, then attempt to improve. We can recognize our deficiencies and work to attain balance.
We're currently attempting to find equilibrium between opposites. It's superficial to defend extremes by stating we're only human or wired this way because both imply we have no control.
Being human involves having self-awareness, and by being careful of our thoughts and acts, we can find balance and recognize opposites' purpose.
Extreme anthropomorphizing and dehumanizing isolate and imperil us. We anthropomorphize because we desire connection and dehumanize because we're terrified, frequently of the connection we crave. Will we find balance?
Katrina Paulson ponders humanity, unanswered questions, and discoveries. Please check out her newsletters, Curious Adventure and Curious Life.
1 day ago
Soon, a Starship Will Transform Humanity
Launched last week.
Four minutes in:
SpaceX will succeed. When it does, its massiveness will matter.
Its payload will revolutionize space economics.
Civilization will shift.
We don't yet understand how this will affect space and Earth culture. Grab it.
The Cost of Space Transportation Has Decreased Exponentially
Space launches have increased dramatically in recent years.
We mostly send items to LEO, the green area below:
SpaceX's reusable rockets can send these things to LEO. Each may launch dozens of payloads into space.
With all these launches, we're sending more than simply things to space. Volume and mass. Since the 1980s, launching a kilogram of payload to LEO has become cheaper:
One kilogram in a large rocket cost over $75,000 in the 1980s. Carrying one astronaut cost nearly $5M! Falcon Heavy's $1,500/kg price is 50 times lower. SpaceX's larger, reusable rockets are amazing.
SpaceX's Starship rocket will continue. It can carry over 100 tons to LEO, 50% more than the current Falcon heavy. Thousands of launches per year. Elon Musk predicts Falcon Heavy's $1,500/kg cost will plummet to $100 in 23 years.
People underestimate this.
2. The Benefits of Affordable Transportation
Compare Earth's transportation costs:
It's no surprise that the US and Northern Europe are the wealthiest and have the most navigable interior waterways.
So what? since sea transportation is cheaper than land. Inland waterways are even better than sea transportation since weather is less of an issue, currents can be controlled, and rivers serve two banks instead of one for coastal transportation.
In France, because population density follows river systems, rivers are valuable. Cheap transportation brought people and money to rivers, especially their confluences.
How come? Why were humans surrounding rivers?
Imagine selling meat for $10 per kilogram. Transporting one kg one kilometer costs $1. Your margin decreases $1 each kilometer. You can only ship 10 kilometers. For example, you can only trade with four cities:
If instead, your cost of transportation is half, what happens? It costs you $0.5 per km. You now have higher margins with each city you traded with. More importantly, you can reach 20-km markets.
However, 2x distance 4x surface! You can now trade with sixteen cities instead of four! Metcalfe's law states that a network's value increases with its nodes squared. Since now sixteen cities can connect to yours. Each city now has sixteen connections! They get affluent and can afford more meat.
Rivers lower travel costs, connecting many cities, which can trade more, get wealthy, and buy more.
The right network is worth at least an order of magnitude more than the left! The cheaper the transport, the more trade at a lower cost, the more income generated, the more that wealth can be reinvested in better canals, bridges, and roads, and the wealth grows even more.
Throughout history. Rome was established around cheap Mediterranean transit and preoccupied with cutting overland transportation costs with their famous roadways. Communications restricted their empire.
The Egyptians lived around the Nile, the Vikings around the North Sea, early Japan around the Seto Inland Sea, and China started canals in the 5th century BC.
Transportation costs shaped empires.Starship is lowering new-world transit expenses. What's possible?
3. Change Organizations, Change Companies, Change the World
Starship is a conveyor belt to LEO. A new world of opportunity opens up as transportation prices drop 100x in a decade.
Satellite engineers have spent decades shedding milligrams. Weight influenced every decision: pricing structure, volumes to be sent, material selections, power sources, thermal protection, guiding, navigation, and control software. Weight was everything in the mission. To pack as much science into every millimeter, NASA missions had to be miniaturized. Engineers were indoctrinated against mass.
Starship is not constrained by any space mission, robotic or crewed.
Starship obliterates the mass constraint and every last vestige of cultural baggage it has gouged into the minds of spacecraft designers. A dollar spent on mass optimization no longer buys a dollar saved on launch cost. It buys nothing. It is time to raise the scope of our ambition and think much bigger. — Casey Handmer, Starship is still not understood
A Tesla Roadster in space makes more sense.
It went beyond bad PR. It told the industry: Did you care about every microgram? No more. My rockets are big enough to send a Tesla without noticing. Industry watchers should have noticed.
Most didn’t. Artemis is a global mission to send astronauts to the Moon and build a base. Artemis uses disposable Space Launch System rockets. Instead of sending two or three dinky 10-ton crew habitats over the next decade, Starship might deliver 100x as much cargo and create a base for 1,000 astronauts in a year or two. Why not? Because Artemis remains in a pre-Starship paradigm where each kilogram costs a million dollars and we must aggressively descope our objective.
Space agencies can deliver 100x more payload to space for the same budget with 100x lower costs and 100x higher transportation volumes. How can space economy saturate this new supply?
Before Starship, NASA supplied heavy equipment for Moon base construction. After Starship, Caterpillar and Deere may space-qualify their products with little alterations. Instead than waiting decades for NASA engineers to catch up, we could send people to build a space outpost with John Deere equipment in a few years.
History is littered with the wreckage of former industrial titans that underestimated the impact of new technology and overestimated their ability to adapt: Blockbuster, Motorola, Kodak, Nokia, RIM, Xerox, Yahoo, IBM, Atari, Sears, Hitachi, Polaroid, Toshiba, HP, Palm, Sony, PanAm, Sega, Netscape, Compaq, GM… — Casey Handmer, Starship is still not understood
Everyone saw it coming, but senior management failed to realize that adaption would involve moving beyond their established business practice. Others will if they don't.
4. The Starship Possibilities
SpaceX invented affordable cargo space and grasped its implications first. How can we use all this inexpensive cargo nobody knows how to use?
Satellite communications seemed like the best way to capitalize on it. They tried. Starlink, designed by SpaceX, provides fast, dependable Internet worldwide. Beaming information down is often cheaper than cable. Already profitable.
Starlink is one use for all this cheap cargo space. Many more. The longer firms ignore the opportunity, the more SpaceX will acquire.
What are these chances?
Satellite imagery is outdated and lacks detail. We can improve greatly. Synthetic aperture radar can take beautiful shots like this:
Have you ever used Google Maps and thought, "I want to see this in more detail"? What if I could view Earth live? What if we could livestream an infrared image of Earth?
We could launch hundreds of satellites with such mind-blowing visual precision of the Earth that we would dramatically improve the accuracy of our meteorological models; our agriculture; where crime is happening; where poachers are operating in the savannah; climate change; and who is moving military personnel where. Is that useful?
What if we could see Earth in real time? That affects businesses? That changes society?
11 months ago
Did volcanic 'glasses' play a role in igniting early life?
Quenched lava may have aided in the formation of long RNA strands required by primitive life.
It took a long time for life to emerge. Microbes were present 3.7 billion years ago, just a few hundred million years after the 4.5-billion-year-old Earth had cooled enough to sustain biochemistry, according to fossils, and many scientists believe RNA was the genetic material for these first species. RNA, while not as complicated as DNA, would be difficult to forge into the lengthy strands required to transmit genetic information, raising the question of how it may have originated spontaneously.
Researchers may now have a solution. They demonstrate how basaltic glasses assist individual RNA letters, also known as nucleoside triphosphates, join into strands up to 200 letters long in lab studies. The glasses are formed when lava is quenched in air or water, or when melted rock generated by asteroid strikes cools rapidly, and they would have been plentiful in the early Earth's fire and brimstone.
The outcome has caused a schism among top origin-of-life scholars. "This appears to be a great story that finally explains how nucleoside triphosphates react with each other to create RNA strands," says Thomas Carell, a scientist at Munich's Ludwig Maximilians University. However, Harvard University's Jack Szostak, an RNA expert, says he won't believe the results until the study team thoroughly describes the RNA strands.
Researchers interested in the origins of life like the idea of a primordial "RNA universe" since the molecule can perform two different functions that are essential for life. It's made up of four chemical letters, just like DNA, and can carry genetic information. RNA, like proteins, can catalyze chemical reactions that are necessary for life.
However, RNA can cause headaches. No one has yet discovered a set of plausible primordial conditions that would cause hundreds of RNA letters—each of which is a complicated molecule—to join together into strands long enough to support the intricate chemistry required to kick-start evolution.
Basaltic glasses may have played a role, according to Stephen Mojzsis, a geologist at the University of Colorado, Boulder. They're high in metals like magnesium and iron, which help to trigger a variety of chemical reactions. "Basaltic glass was omnipresent on Earth at the time," he adds.
He provided the Foundation for Applied Molecular Evolution samples of five different basalt glasses. Each sample was ground into a fine powder, sanitized, and combined with a solution of nucleoside triphosphates by molecular biologist Elisa Biondi and her colleagues. The RNA letters were unable to link up without the presence of glass powder. However, when the molecules were mixed with the glass particles, they formed long strands of hundreds of letters, according to the researchers, who published their findings in Astrobiology this week. There was no need for heat or light. Biondi explains, "All we had to do was wait." After only a day, little RNA strands produced, yet the strands continued to grow for months. Jan Paek, a molecular biologist at Firebird Biomolecular Sciences, says, "The beauty of this approach is its simplicity." "Mix the components together, wait a few days, and look for RNA."
Nonetheless, the findings pose a slew of problems. One of the questions is how nucleoside triphosphates came to be in the first place. Recent study by Biondi's colleague Steven Benner suggests that the same basaltic glasses may have aided in the creation and stabilization of individual RNA letters.
The form of the lengthy RNA strands, according to Szostak, is a significant challenge. Enzymes in modern cells ensure that most RNAs form long linear chains. RNA letters, on the other hand, can bind in complicated branching sequences. Szostak wants the researchers to reveal what kind of RNA was produced by the basaltic glasses. "It irritates me that the authors made an intriguing initial finding but then chose to follow the hype rather than the research," Szostak says.
Biondi acknowledges that her team's experiment almost probably results in some RNA branching. She does acknowledge, however, that some branched RNAs are seen in species today, and that analogous structures may have existed before the origin of life. Other studies carried out by the study also confirmed the presence of lengthy strands with connections, indicating that they are most likely linear. "It's a healthy argument," says Dieter Braun, a Ludwig Maximilian University origin-of-life chemist. "It will set off the next series of tests."
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4 months ago
I discovered a bug that allowed me to use ChatGPT to successfully web scrape. Here's how it operates.
This method scrapes websites with ChatGPT (demo with Amazon and Twitter)
In a recent article, I demonstrated how to scrape websites using ChatGPT prompts like scrape website X using Python.
But that doesn’t always work.
After scraping dozens of websites with ChatGPT, I realized that simple prompts rarely work for web scraping.
Using ChatGPT and basic HTML, we can scrape any website.
First things first, use ChatGPT's advanced version (Playground)
ChatGPT Playground's enhanced version is needed to scrape websites quickly. It generates code faster and has less constraints.
Here’s how it looks.
The classic ChatGPT display just allows you to type a prompt. Playground is more customizable and generates code faster than the basic version.
No more delays or restrictions.
In this tutorial, we'll write prompts underneath Playground.
How to Use ChatGPT to Scrape Any Website
To show you how to utilize ChatGPT to scrape any website, we'll use subslikescript, which lists movies.
Later in this post, I'll show you how to scrape Amazon and Twitter, but let's start easy.
If we try a basic prompt like “scrape the movie titles on this website: https://subslikescript.com/movies” it won’t scrape anything. Here’s when we need some HTML knowledge to build the right prompt for ChatGPT.Let's scrape the above movie titles. First, check the webpage. Right-click any element and choose Inspect.
Then see below.
We identify the element to scrape (those in the red box). The data elements are ul, a, and scripts-list.
Here's the prompt for movie titles.
Scrape this website: https://subslikescript.com/movies with Python and Beautiful Soup. Locate the element with tag “ul” and class “scripts-list”. Scrape all the “a” elements inside. Get the text attribute and print it.
import requests from bs4 import BeautifulSoup page = requests.get('https://subslikescript.com/movies/') soup = BeautifulSoup(page.content, 'html.parser') scripts_list = soup.find(class_="scripts-list") all_a_elements = scripts_list.find_all('a') for element in all_a_elements: print(element.get_text())
It extracts movie titles successfully.
Let's scrape Amazon and Twitter.
ChatGPT's Amazon scraping
Consider scraping Amazon for self-help books. First, copy the Amazon link for self-help books.
Here’s the link I got. Location-dependent connection. Use my link to replicate my results.
Now we'll check book titles. Here's our element.
If we want to extract the book titles, we need to use the tag name
class attribute name and
a-size-base-plus a-color-base a-text-normalattribute value.
This time I'll use Selenium. I'll add Selenium-specific commands like wait 5 seconds and generate an XPath.
Scrape this website https://www.amazon.com/s?k=self+help+books&sprefix=self+help+%2Caps%2C158&ref=nb_sb_ss_ts-doa-p_2_10 with Python and Selenium.
Wait 5 seconds and locate all the elements with the following xpath: “span” tag, “class” attribute name, and “a-size-base-plus a-color-base a-text-normal” attribute value. Get the text attribute and print them.
Code generated: (I only had to manually add the path where my chromedriver is located).
from selenium import webdriver from selenium.webdriver.common.by import By from time import sleep #initialize webdriver driver = webdriver.Chrome('<add path of your chromedriver>') #navigate to the website driver.get("https://www.amazon.com/s?k=self+help+books&sprefix=self+help+%2Caps%2C158&ref=nb_sb_ss_ts-doa-p_2_10") #wait 5 seconds to let the page load sleep(5) #locate all the elements with the following xpath elements = driver.find_elements(By.XPATH, '//span[@class="a-size-base-plus a-color-base a-text-normal"]') #get the text attribute of each element and print it for element in elements: print(element.text) #close the webdriver driver.close()
It pulls Amazon book titles.
Utilizing ChatGPT to scrape Twitter
Say you wish to scrape ChatGPT tweets. Search Twitter for ChatGPT and copy the URL.
Here’s the link I got. We must check every tweet. Here's our element.
To extract a tweet, use the div tag and lang attribute.
Scrape this website: https://twitter.com/search?q=chatgpt&src=typed_query using Python, Selenium and chromedriver.
Maximize the window, wait 15 seconds and locate all the elements that have the following XPath: “div” tag, attribute name “lang”. Print the text inside these elements.
Code generated: (again, I had to add the path where my chromedriver is located)
from selenium import webdriver import time driver = webdriver.Chrome("/Users/frankandrade/Downloads/chromedriver") driver.maximize_window() driver.get("https://twitter.com/search?q=chatgpt&src=typed_query") time.sleep(15) elements = driver.find_elements_by_xpath("//div[@lang]") for element in elements: print(element.text) driver.quit()
You'll get the first 2 or 3 tweets from a search. To scrape additional tweets, click X times.
Congratulations! You scraped websites without coding by using ChatGPT.
8 months ago
Bills are paid by your 9 to 5. 6 through 12 help you build money.
40 years pass. After 14 years of retirement, you die. Am I the only one who sees the problem?
I’m the Jedi master of escaping the rat race.
Not to impress. I know this works since I've tried it. Quitting a job to make money online is worse than Kim Kardashian's internet-burning advice.
Let me help you rethink the move from a career to online income to f*ck you money.
To understand why a job is a joke, do some life math.
Without a solid why, nothing makes sense.
The retirement age is 65. Our processed food consumption could shorten our 79-year average lifespan.
You spend 40 years working.
After 14 years of retirement, you die.
Am I alone in seeing the problem?
Life is too short to work a job forever, especially since most people hate theirs. After-hours skills are vital.
Money equals unrestricted power, f*ck you.
F*ck you money is the answer.
Jack Raines said it first. He says we can do anything with the money. Jack, a young rebel straight out of college, can travel and try new foods.
F*ck you money signifies not checking your bank account before buying.
F*ck you” money is pure, unadulterated freedom with no strings attached.
Jack claims you're rich when you rarely think about money.
This doesn't imply you can buy a Lamborghini. It indicates your costs, income, lifestyle, and bank account are balanced.
Jack established an online portfolio while working for UPS in Atlanta, Georgia. So he gained boundless power.
The portion that many erroneously believe
Yes, you need internet abilities to make money, but they're not different from 9-5 talents.
Sahil Lavingia, Gumroad's creator, explains.
A job is a way to get paid to learn.
Mistreat your boss 9-5. Drain his skills. Defuse him. Love and leave him (eventually).
Find another employment if yours is hazardous. Pick an easy job. Make sure nothing sneaks into your 6-12 time slot.
The dumb game that makes you a sheep
A 9-5 job requires many job interviews throughout life.
You email your résumé to employers and apply for jobs through advertisements. This game makes you a sheep.
You're competing globally. Work-from-home makes the competition tougher. If you're not the cheapest, employers won't hire you.
After-hours online talents (say, 6 pm-12 pm) change the game. This graphic explains it better:
Online talents boost after-hours opportunities.
You go from wanting to be picked to picking yourself. More chances equal more money. Your f*ck you fund gets the extra cash.
A novel method of learning is essential.
College costs six figures and takes a lifetime to repay.
Informal learning is distinct. 6-12pm:
Observe the carefully controlled Twitter newsfeed.
Make use of Teachable and Gumroad's online courses.
Watch instructional YouTube videos
Look through the top Substack newsletters.
Informal learning is more effective because it's not obvious. It's fun to follow your curiosity and hobbies.
The majority of people lack one attitude. It's simple to learn.
One big impediment stands in the way of f*ck you money and time independence. So often.
Too many people plan after 6-12 hours. Dreaming. Big-thinkers. Strategically. They fill their calendar with meetings.
This is after-hours masturb*tion.
Sahil Bloom reminded me that a bias towards action will determine if this approach works for you.
The key isn't knowing what to do from 6-12 a.m. Trust yourself and develop abilities as you go. It's for building the parachute after you jump.
Sounds risky. We've eliminated the risk by finishing this process after hours while you work 9-5.
With no risk, you can have an I-don't-care attitude and still be successful.
When you choose to move forward, this occurs.
Once you try 9-5/6-12, you'll tell someone.
Few of us hang out with problem-solvers.
It's how much of society operates. So they make reasons so they can feel better about not giving you money.
Matthew Kobach told me chasing f*ck you money is easier with like-minded folks.
Without f*ck you money friends, loneliness will take over and you'll think you've messed up when you just need to keep going.
Steal this easy guideline
Let's act. No more fluffing and caressing.
If you detest your 9-5 talents or don't think they'll work online, get new ones. If you're skilled enough, continue.
Easlo recommends these skills:
Designer for Figma
editor in Photoshop
Automation consultant for Zapier
Designer of Webflow
video editor Adobe
Ghostwriter for Twitter
Artist in Blender Studio
2. Develop the ability
Every night from 6-12, apply the skill.
Practicing ghostwriting? Write someone's tweets for free. Do someone's website copy to learn copywriting. Get a website to the top of Google for a keyword to understand SEO.
Free practice is crucial. Your 9-5 pays the money, so work for free.
3. Take off stealthily like a badass
Another mistake. Sell to few. Don't be the best. Don't claim expertise.
Sell your new expertise to others behind you.
Using a digital good
By providing a service,
Point 1 also includes digital service examples. Digital products include eBooks, communities, courses, ad-supported podcasts, and templates. It's easy. Your 9-5 job involves one of these.
Take ideas from work.
Why? They'll steal your time for profit.
4. Iterate while feeling awful
First-time launches always fail. You'll feel terrible. Okay. Remember your 9-5?
Find improvements. Ask free and paying consumers what worked.
Multiple relaunches, each 1% better.
5. Discover more
Never stop learning. Improve your skill. Add a relevant skill. Learn copywriting if you write online.
After-hours students earn the most.
Repetition is key.
7. Make this one small change.
Consistently. The 6-12 momentum won't make you rich in 30 days; that's success p*rn.
Consistency helps wage slaves become f*ck you money. Most people can't switch between the two.
Putting everything together
It's easy. You're probably already doing some.
This formula explains why, how, and what to do. It's a 5th-grade-friendly blueprint. Good.
Reduce financial risk with your 9-to-5. Replace Netflix with 6-12 money-making talents.
Life is short; do whatever you want. Today.
Looi Qin En
7 months ago
I polled 52 product managers to find out what qualities make a great Product Manager
Great technology opens up an universe of possibilities.
Need a friend? WhatsApp, Telegram, Slack, etc.
Traveling? AirBnB, Expedia, Google Flights, etc.
Money transfer? Use digital banking, e-wallet, or crypto applications
Products inspire us. How do we become great?
I asked product managers in my network:
What does it take to be a great product manager?
52 product managers from 40+ prominent IT businesses in Southeast Asia responded passionately. Many of the PMs I've worked with have built fantastic products, from unicorns (Lazada, Tokopedia, Ovo) to incumbents (Google, PayPal, Experian, WarnerMedia) to growing (etaily, Nium, Shipper).
Soft talents are more important than hard skills. Technical expertise was hardly ever stressed by product managers, and empathy was mentioned more than ten times. Janani from Xendit expertly recorded the moment. A superb PM must comprehend that their empathy for the feelings of their users must surpass all logic and data.
Constant attention to the needs of the user. Many people concur that the closer a PM gets to their customer/user, the more likely it is that the conclusion will be better. There were almost 30 references to customers and users. Focusing on customers has the advantage because it is hard to overshoot, as Rajesh from Lazada puts it best.
Setting priorities is invaluable. Prioritization is essential because there are so many problems that a PM must deal with every day. My favorite quotation on this is from Rakuten user Yee Jie. Viki, A competent product manager extinguishes fires. A good product manager lets things burn and then prioritizes.
This summary isn't enough to capture what excellent PMs claim it requires. Read below!
What qualities make a successful product manager?
Themed quotes are alphabetized by author.
Embrace your user/customer
Aeriel Dela Paz, Rainmaking Venture Architect, ex-GCash Product Head
Great PMs know what customers need even when they don’t say it directly. It’s about reading between the lines and going through the numbers to address that need.
Anders Nordahl, OrkestraSCS's Product Manager
Understanding the vision of your customer is as important as to get the customer to buy your vision
Angel Mendoza, MetaverseGo's Product Head
Most people think that to be a great product manager, you must have technical know-how. It’s textbook and I do think it is helpful to some extent, but for me the secret sauce is EMPATHY — the ability to see and feel things from someone else’s perspective. You can’t create a solution without deeply understanding the problem.
Senior Product Manager, Tokopedia
Focus on delivering value and helping people (consumer as well as colleague) and everything else will follow
Darren Lau, Deloitte Digital's Head of Customer Experience
Start with the users, and work backwards. Don’t have a solution looking for a problem
Darryl Tan, Grab Product Manager
I would say that a great product manager is able to identify the crucial problems to solve through strong user empathy and synthesis of insights
Diego Perdana, Kitalulus Senior Product Manager
I think to be a great product manager you need to be obsessed with customer problems and most important is solve the right problem with the right solution
Senior Product Manager, AirAsia
Lot of common sense + Customer Obsession. The most important role of a Product manager is to bring clarity of a solution. Your product is good if it solves customer problems. Your product is great if it solves an eco-system problem and disrupts the business in a positive way.
Edward Xie, Mastercard Managing Consultant, ex-Shopee Product Manager
Perfect your product, but be prepared to compromise for right users
AVP Product, Shipper
For me, a great product manager need to be rational enough to find the business opportunities while obsessing the customers.
Janani Gopalakrishnan is a senior product manager of a stealth firm.
While as a good PM it’s important to be data-driven, to be a great PM one needs to understand that their empathy for their users’ emotions must exceed all logic and data. Great PMs also make these product discussions thrive within the team by intently listening to all the members thoughts and influence the team’s skin in the game positively.
Director, Product Management, Indeed
Great product managers put their users first. They discover problems that matter most to their users and inspire their team to find creative solutions.
Grab's Senior Product Manager Lakshay Kalra
Product management is all about finding and solving most important user problems
Quipper's Mega Puji Saraswati
First of all, always remember the value of “user first” to solve what user really needs (the main problem) for guidance to arrange the task priority and develop new ideas. Second, ownership. Treat the product as your “2nd baby”, and the team as your “2nd family”. Third, maintain a good communication, both horizontally and vertically. But on top of those, always remember to have a work — life balance, and know exactly the priority in life :)
Senior Product Manager, Prosa.AI Miswanto Miswanto
A great Product Manager is someone who can be the link between customer needs with the readiness and flexibility of the team. So that it can provide, build, and produce a product that is useful and helps the community to carry out their daily activities. And He/She can improve product quality ongoing basis or continuous to help provide solutions for users or our customer.
Lead Product Manager, Tokopedia, Oriza Wahyu Utami
Be a great listener, be curious and be determined. every great product manager have the ability to listen the pain points and understand the problems, they are always curious on the users feedback, and they also very determined to look for the solutions that benefited users and the business.
99 Group CPO Rajesh Sangati
The advantage of focusing on customers: it’s impossible to overshoot
Ray Jang, founder of Scenius, formerly of ByteDance
The difference between good and great product managers is that great product managers are willing to go the unsexy and unglamorous extra mile by rolling up their sleeves and ironing out all minutiae details of the product such that when the user uses the product, they can’t help but say “This was made for me.”
BCG Digital Ventures' Sid Narayanan
Great product managers ensure that what gets built and shipped is at the intersection of what creates value for the customer and for the business that’s building the product…often times, especially in today’s highly liquid funding environment, the unit economics, aka ensuring that what gets shipped creates value for the business and is sustainable, gets overlooked
Stephanie Brownlee, BCG Digital Ventures Product Manager
There is software in the world that does more harm than good to people and society. Great Product Managers build products that solve problems not create problems
Delivery Hero's Abhishek Muralidharan
Embracing your failure is the key to become a great Product Manager
DeliveryHero's Anuraag Burman
Product Managers should be thick skinned to deal with criticism and the stomach to take risk and face failures.
DataSpark Product Head Apurva Lawale
Great product managers enjoy the creative process with their team to deliver intuitive user experiences to benefit users.
Dexter Zhuang, Xendit Product Manager
The key to creating winning products is building what customers want as quickly as you can — testing and learning along the way.
PayPal's Jay Ko
To me, great product managers always remain relentlessly curious. They are empathetic leaders and problem solvers that glean customer insights into building impactful products
Home Credit Philippines' Jedd Flores
Great Product Managers are the best dreamers; they think of what can be possible for the customers, for the company and the positive impact that it will have in the industry that they’re part of
Set priorities first, foremost, foremost.
HBO Go Product Manager Akshay Ishwar
Good product managers strive to balance the signal to noise ratio, Great product managers know when to turn the dials for each up exactly
Zuellig Pharma's Guojie Su
Have the courage to say no. Managing egos and request is never easy and rejecting them makes it harder but necessary to deliver the best value for the customers.
Ninja Van's John Prawira
(1) PMs should be able to ruthlessly prioritize. In order to be effective, PMs should anchor their product development process with their north stars (success metrics) and always communicate with a purpose. (2) User-first when validating assumptions. PMs should validate assumptions early and often to manage risk when leading initiatives with a focus on generating the highest impact to solving a particular user pain-point. We can’t expect a product/feature launch to be perfect (there might be bugs or we might not achieve our success metric — which is where iteration comes in), but we should try our best to optimize on user-experience earlier on.
Nium Product Manager Keika Sugiyama
I’d say a great PM holds the ability to balance ruthlessness and empathy at the same time. It’s easier said than done for sure!
ShopBack product manager Li Cai
Great product managers are like great Directors of movies. They do not create great products/movies by themselves. They deliver it by Defining, Prioritising, Energising the team to deliver what customers love.
Quincus' Michael Lim
A great product manager, keeps a pulse on the company’s big picture, identifies key problems, and discerns its rightful prioritization, is able to switch between the macro perspective to micro specifics, and communicates concisely with humility that influences naturally for execution
Mathieu François-Barseghian, SVP, Citi Ventures
“You ship your org chart”. This is Conway’s Law short version (1967!): the fundamental socio-technical driver behind innovation successes (Netflix) and failures (your typical bank). The hype behind micro-services is just another reflection of Conway’s Law
Mastercard's Regional Product Manager Nikhil Moorthy
A great PM should always look to build products which are scalable & viable , always keep the end consumer journey in mind. Keeping things simple & having a MVP based approach helps roll out products faster. One has to test & learn & then accordingly enhance / adapt, these are key to success
Rendy Andi, Tokopedia Product Manager
Articulate a clear vision and the path to get there, Create a process that delivers the best results and Be serious about customers.
Senior Product Manager, DANA Indonesia
Own the problem, not the solution — Great PMs are outstanding problem preventers. Great PMs are discerning about which problems to prevent, which problems to solve, and which problems not to solve
Tat Leong Seah, LionsBot International Senior UX Engineer, ex-ViSenze Product Manager
Prioritize outcomes for your users, not outputs of your system” or more succinctly “be agile in delivering value; not features”
Senior Product Manager, Rakuten Viki
A good product manager puts out fires. A great product manager lets fires burn and prioritize from there
acquire fundamental soft skills
Oracle NetSuite's Astrid April Dominguez
Personally, i believe that it takes grit, empathy, and optimistic mindset to become a great PM
Ovo Lead Product Manager Boy Al Idrus
Contrary to popular beliefs, being a great product manager doesn’t have anything to do with technicals, it sure plays a part but most important weapons are: understanding pain points of users, project management, sympathy in leadership and business critical skills; these 4 aspects would definitely help you to become a great product manager.
PwC Product Manager Eric Koh
Product managers need to be courageous to be successful. Courage is required to dive deep, solving big problems at its root and also to think far and dream big to achieve bold visions for your product
Ninja Van's Product Director
In my opinion the two most important ingredients to become a successful product manager is: 1. Strong critical thinking 2. Strong passion for the work. As product managers, we typically need to solve very complex problems where the answers are often very ambiguous. The work is tough and at times can be really frustrating. The 2 ingredients I mentioned earlier will be critical towards helping you to slowly discover the solution that may become a game changer.
PayPal's Lead Product Manager
A great PM has an eye of a designer, the brain of an engineer and the tongue of a diplomat
Product Manager Irene Chan
A great Product Manager is able to think like a CEO of the company. Visionary with Agile Execution in mind
Isabella Yamin, Rakuten Viki Product Manager
There is no one model of being a great product person but what I’ve observed from people I’ve had the privilege working with is an overflowing passion for the user problem, sprinkled with a knack for data and negotiation
Google product manager Jachin Cheng
Great product managers start with abundant intellectual curiosity and grow into a classic T-shape. Horizontally: generalists who range widely, communicate fluidly and collaborate easily cross-functionally, connect unexpected dots, and have the pulse both internally and externally across users, stakeholders, and ecosystem players. Vertically: deep product craftsmanship comes from connecting relentless user obsession with storytelling, business strategy with detailed features and execution, inspiring leadership with risk mitigation, and applying the most relevant tools to solving the right problems.
Jene Lim, Experian's Product Manager
3 Cs and 3 Rs. Critical thinking , Customer empathy, Creativity. Resourcefulness, Resilience, Results orientation.
Nirenj George, Envision Digital's Security Product Manager
A great product manager is someone who can lead, collaborate and influence different stakeholders around the product vision, and should be able to execute the product strategy based on customer insights, as well as take ownership of the product roadmap to create a greater impact on customers.
Grab's Lead Product Manager
Product Management is a multi-dimensional role that looks very different across each product team so each product manager has different challenges to deal with but what I have found common among great product managers is ability to create leverage through their efforts to drive outsized impacts for their products. This leverage is built using data with intuition, building consensus with stakeholders, empowering their teams and focussed efforts on needle moving work.
NCS Product Manager Umar Masagos
To be a great product manager, one must master both the science and art of Product Management. On one hand, you need have a strong understanding of the tools, metrics and data you need to drive your product. On the other hand, you need an in-depth understanding of your organization, your target market and target users, which is often the more challenging aspect to master.
M1 product manager Wei Jiao Keong
A great product manager is multi-faceted. First, you need to have the ability to see the bigger picture, yet have a keen eye for detail. Secondly, you are empathetic and is able to deliver products with exceptional user experience while being analytical enough to achieve business outcomes. Lastly, you are highly resourceful and independent yet comfortable working cross-functionally.
Yudha Utomo, ex-Senior Product Manager, Tokopedia
A great Product Manager is essentially an effective note-taker. In order to achieve the product goals, It is PM’s job to ensure objective has been clearly conveyed, efforts are assessed, and tasks are properly tracked and managed. PM can do this by having top-notch documentation skills.