Daniel Thomason's Essays

I write about anything that interests me, for two purposes:
1. To help myself understand the topic more deeply
2. To spread knowledge and ideas
I've highlighted some of my favourites just below, plus at the bottom you can find a list of my categories and tags.

All Essays

A better vocational curriculum for university

There have been a few good posts on Twitter and the blog sphere recently on the question: how would you redesign a university curriculum to optimise for success in the job market? Here’s mine – or at least a first draft.

Scales for Product Managers

Like most knowledge work jobs, product management isn’t a profession that has success metrics nearly as clear as sports. This makes it more challenging to find a smart practice regimen, but far from impossible. Before we can figure that out, though, we need to zoom out a little: what does success look like for a product manager?

When should a company hire a product manager?

How does a company know that it’s the right time to hire a product manager? This is not such an easy question to answer, as it turns out. There’s no precise formula (although there are still some helpful rules of thumb), because different companies have different focuses.

Aim to learn skills, rather than ticking off titles

Don’t choose something (a class, a book, a job, a partner) based on its headline – choose it based on what you want to get out of it, then engage in a way that makes this happen.

Georgian card game

This card game was taught to me by an excellent designer from my former country, who is a proud Georgian citizen and game aficionado.

Lessons from games: dynamic difficulty

Games are products too. In fact, I’d argue that some video games rank among the best products in the world – look no further than Breath of the Wild for a recent example. There’s a lot that Product Managers can learn from games and how they have been developed.One example is the idea of dynamic difficulty.

It rains because you're sad, baby

The sad/rain fallacy: situations in which you’ve have the causal relationship backwards, in a way that denies your own agency. (I believe I am the first to identify it, although I would be happy to be corrected!)

Thoughts on the way we measure time

It just struck me the other day: our main units of time are a hodgepodge of those determined by an external reality and those that are completely arbitrary. And since time is such a central concept to how we organise our lives in the modern world, it makes me wonder how life would be different if we changed the units…

The 'Car Product Development Stages' analogy sucks

If you’ve worked as a product manager in the last few years, I bet you’ve seen the diagram above. But the second row – the super happy wonderful example we should try to emulate – annoys me a lot.