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

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.

Despise, Denounce, but Exploit

The most compelling proponents of reform are those who are successful members of the system. Complaints from those who have been burned by the fire too often seem like the sour grapes accusations of a sore loser. Plus, winners have resources and power to use as a megaphone, whereas losers are marginalised by definition. Despise, denounce, but exploit.

How many washing machines should a family have?

Lots of household objects don’t get constant use. For many, in fact, for most of the year their main function is to form part of the junk mountain preventing the closet from closing properly.

Gym incentive problems

Traditional gyms are never going to provide an amazing customer experience. The incentives just don’t line up.