January 06, 2021 (2 min read)

You know more than you know you know

In a world ruled by data scientists and committees, being the person in the room that knows when to trust their gut can be your secret weapon, your competitive advantage.

Your intuition isn't just what you feel is right, right now. It should be informed by experience, first principles, good taste.

Example: Typefully wouldn’t have made it alive even after just a meeting in the average tech company, at least in my experience.

I can imagine the loud voices in the room, screaming:

  • This will take more than the 2-weeks allocated to this kind of project, pass.
  • We don’t know that Twitter won’t block this kind of API usage in 3 years, pass.
  • There are already 2 similar products, pass.
  • You should ask 100 Twitter users first if they think this would be useful.

And also:

  • If you want to make it, certainly not with that thread live preview, it's too complicated, start cutting features.
  • The UI is too polished for an MVP, start ruining it (maybe they would have phrased this one differently).
  • Can we add ads under the editor? Why not?
  • Can we make it work with Linkedin instead?

I could go on.

Typefully was born as a little side project of mine, and I had some discussions with Francesco to promote it to a “Mailbrew team” effort. After brief discussions, we agreed that:

  • This looks incredibly useful, we shouldn’t ask around.
  • It will probably take more time than a “marketing project” but fuck it, it looks very cool and could make a splash.
  • It feels like our core Twitter audience would love something like this.
  • Let's cut a couple of features, but just to make it simpler and ship it. Let's not ruin the design or compromise its core features.

We used a lot of intuition to reach these conclusions. Intuition we fine-tuned with years of product work and seeing a lot of things fail. Intuition that we constantly challenge, but know when to trust.

By trying many things and seeing them fail, and then understanding why they failed, you hone your intuition.

Of course the more we grow as a company, the more we trust data and analytics, and I’m not downplaying their importance. I’m arguing that intuition can be a wiser guide, that your adaptive unconscious is your best friend in decision making, that you know more than you know you know.

End of meeting.

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