Even when they don’t think they do

Talented young black woman looking into the future

In my very early twenties, I worked at a tech startup and then at Microsoft. Fresh out of grad school, my life was a shell of what it is now. New city, no friends except one from ‘back in the day’ who didn’t work with me. The things that would eventually fill my life — work friends that became personal friends, work rivals, new hobbies, girlfriends, community, church etc. were nascent. A lot of it was catalyzed by the work environment I was in. …


Looks like this is going to be a think we’re doing in tech companies now, instead of guiding and shaping what is natural for us as people. So I have some thoughts condensed from this Tweet:

Tech world blowing up about 37 Signal’s new no causes at work policy. Look I get it — storied marquee company (ok quirky, so?) staking out an unpopular position on the surface, but is actually deeply popular (judging by the reactions). They blame it on the young ‘uns. And lost productivity. …


Coinbase is wasting its time with its new rules on being ‘apolitical’. This isn’t an ideological statement, it’s an expression of the fact that Coinbase is rowing against a tide that is bigger than it. For many people (and yes ‘employee’ is just a particular sub identity of a person), being completely apolitical is no longer a possibility. People are people before they come to work, in fact we draw strength from our lives that is expended at work for the benefit of the company. Company founders and CEOs err in thinking they are attracting ‘zealots’ whose identity is wrapped…


How to implement flat spaces in your company

So how do you create flat spaces at work?

A few weeks back, I wrote about how crucial it is to create “flat spaces” for modern workers like the software creatives I work with every day. The main idea is that building a culture that prizes the best ideas regardless of hierarchy gives you an edge to make your business grow faster.

So how exactly do you do this? First of all, the short answers are a) I have some experience, theories and practices I will explain below, but there is so much more to learn and b) it really…


Which means the political fabric too.

depiction of a chaotic earth from lifehopeandtruth.com

I’m an immigrant, who was born in Nigeria, a developing nation of 200+ million people. I’m also American and now have a dual identity as African American because I stand on the shoulders of the civil rights movement of the 1960s and a lot of black struggle. I was born to the struggle and an uncertain world.

But even I am amazed at the amount of flux in the world today. Two things stood out to me this week and caused a lot of reflection. I read something about Evangelical women questioning the devotion…


But no one knows what we will become

“The pandemic will change everything”.

Everyone says that now, but I don’t think people realize to what extent. Take the simple things — Zoom meetings have cut short the small ways people socialize when they get to a meeting early. Questions like “How are you and how was your birthday party?” are becoming extinct. Its hard to do that now because no-one gets to a Zoom meeting early. And only really close-knit teams feel comfy blowing the first 5 minutes on banter (by the way, a word that will soon go the…


To build great products, write down the answer to these 5 questions

What if you could solve almost all creative product problems you face, just by writing down great answers to five questions?

Every 2–3 years (and even that is too long!) I try to update my productivity and creative toolset. Over the years I’ve noticed that I have accumulated a lot of three kinds of tools: a) A place to organize notes and ideas, b) A place to visualize ideas and flows quickly, c) A place to track what I need to get done.

I have multiple of those…


Creating “Flat Spaces” for product innovation

One of the hardest things to do, as a product leader, is harnessing the intelligence of all the people in the organization. But those who do, can unlock a more productive organization, that delivers more consistently on its goals and is more profitable. This is more important as the world navigates a shift away from traditional work, which is often done by experts; to work done in the information economy. …


Twenty years ago, when I first came to this country, from Nigeria for grad school (Fight On Trojans!), I recoiled in horror when I saw how America, an ostensibly resource rich country, treated its poor. I was even more astounded when I saw how it treated black people. It made me cringe. I’d led a first-class existence in Nigeria (everyone is black) and I felt bewilderingly thrust into a second-class existence; demoted because of the color of my skin. For a couple of years, as a defensive reflex, I naively tried to separate my identity from the target of that…


(when thinking about large groups of people)

most of society is not exceptional by definition. Its important to designs systems that work for the most without penalizing the exceptional (image by Sandra Howgate)

I haven’t yet seen the new Netflix show, “Inside Bill’s Brain”, but by all accounts it’s “amazing!”, “marvelous!” and other superlatives.

Some of the more forward thinking people I know even go as far as using that exposure to theoretically posit their ideas on education policy — “schools should be built to create more Bill Gatesies..”. Its not just education policy either. The spectacle of the massive intellect and how well he has harnessed his talents, often makes people imagine what could be, if we could have more of him or make more of him from mere mortals. …

Oji Udezue

Decent human being. Proud African. Proud American. VP of Product at Calendly.com. Follow me: @ojiudezue

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