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Uncovering layers of entrepreneurship

This week is about how to use empathy to build products, our attention spans, and open-source communities.

Anna Grigoryan
Anna Grigoryan
4 min read
Uncovering layers of entrepreneurship

This week's interview is with Michele Hansen co-host of Software Social podcast and also the writer of Deploy Empathy book.

We talked about Software Social, and how her book helped me to understand how to do customer interviews.

At 11:48 you'll get an awkward recount on how I used to do customer interviews in 2019.

Pro members get early access to the new episodes of the podcast, and also conversation breakdown with additional curated resources on the topic.

Reflection of the week

For as long as I can remember I wanted to be in a team.
In 2015 the tech community in Armenia had the gold rush aka the startup rush.

"This is my time!" I thought and became very active in the space.

There was a very specific hype in the industry. I remember I felt always late to something: a trend, an event, to see some kind of important dude from some kind of important company.

And at the same time I was getting into the culture in this new ecosystem this one thing stuck with me: power dynamics. Those are very hard to navigate in a world where your every word should be a sales pitch, especially as a software engineer, because your only input was writing code.

Doing pitches? Have a say in the feature? Nope. Not your realm.

The idea of extraverted-charismatic-business-person (roll in the Dune music) is alive and well. Someone has to sell your work, and someone has to work.
In the end, I always was ending up in the position of a back-end operations machine that was presented in the front by another person. Some people would be satisfied with this, but for me seeing that my work was credited to other people was hard.

From all the places where I worked I heard the same sentences: "Anna, we see you in the operations more. We value your work so much, you don't need to be in other places."

For me, these kinds of speeches sound like "Anna we like exploiting you in the background. Keep doing what you do, and we'll use it as we please."

This experience broke some trust muscle that I had.

It's hard to believe that you are accepted as who you are, not just for your specific revenue-generating skills.

Being open and vulnerable is a double edged sword. And while I'm in the process of healing myself from hustle culture narratives, I hope to also train and use the trust muscle more.

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Drawer of Inspiration

1/ Attending to another
We usually talk about attention spans in regards to content, social media platforms and productivity.

However, what did the digital revolution to our ability to connect?

I'm going to say the most cliché sentence, but the more connected we are on internet, the more we drive away from each other in real life.

Jasmine Wang writes in her newsletter:

"The ultimate touchstone is witness, the privilege of having been seen by someone, and the equal privilege of being granted the sight of the essence of another, to have walked with them, and to have believed in them, and sometimes, just to have accompanied them, for however brief a span, on a journey impossible to accomplish alone".

"We must learn to attend without language for what it is we are experiencing".

The community movement that happened in 2021 provided some hope that we may unlearn the tricks.

I enjoyed Jasmine's take on the attention and how we can redistribute it, and possibly try to think about it as more then just a productivity resource.

2/ WTF is wrong with open-source communities

Open source is usually praised for pioneering community before it was trendy. Even though I never contributed to an open-source I deeply appreciate the work that is getting done on those repositories. Some tools that we love are built on open source, such as OBS the most popular streaming solution.

However, as everything, open source has it's dark side. The article talks about some practices that make open-source communities unwelcoming and how community managers can overcome them.

3/ Podcast listening party
I saw this tweet and thought, that podcast listening party is an amazing idea!

I'm geographically separated from my friends and finding ways to stay connected through media helps to stay in touch.

We were doing YouTube parties and recently also started to do Podcast parties using group sessions on Spotify.

Really helps to get through that 3 hour podcast that you wanted to listen for a long time.

The example I'm attaching even uses Clubhouse for this, so also interesting way to get into streaming with friends.

🎵 This newsletter is produced in cooperation with Caravan Palace - Wonderland 🎵

This song can energize you in just a few seconds. And don't get me started on their music videos - work of art!

Thank you for supporting my work.

With love from Lithuania,

Weekly Newsletter

Anna Grigoryan

Writer, engineer and recovering over-achiever. I bring context into creator economy with Community Weekly newsletter, and help people discover best podcasts out there with Kradl.