Minimizing TTV, keeping a holistic view, and writing better error messages

Raz TirboacaRaz Tirboaca
Minimizing TTV, keeping a holistic view, and writing better error messages

What is it about Apple’s boxes that you don’t want to throw them away?

The answer can be traced back to Jobs‘ ability to keep a holistic view for the entire product. Here’s a story told by one engineer demoing speakers in the first flat panel iMac to him:

We prepped two physical models one with forward firing speakers and a grille in the chin, and one with downward firing speakers. I stacked the demo and showed him the good one first. Forward firing. Sounded great. Best sounding iMac ever. Really. Then I demoed the downward firing speakers. It sounded crappy, sound comb filtering off the hard surface of a lab bench. Pretty nasty. He winced. Made a comment about the sound. Demo in the bag – I though we were doing the great sounding forward firing speakers.

Some one asked ‘which model Steve?’

‘The last one’

Wait. What!?? I blurted out ‘but you said they sound like crap’

‘They do - your job is to make them sound good enough so customers don’t bring the product back. The thing is that anyone who cares about music, will plug in external speakers. And then they will be looking at the product wondering why there is a grille on the front. I want the design to be clean’

Sounds obvious, right? Sure, but in my experience, keeping a holistic view for every decision we make, is not. Specifically in the current product development environment, where multiple teams own different parts of the customer journey AND measure success against different KPIs. Sigh!!


🧶 Diagnose with data and treat with design. Julie Zhuo explains how data can tell you what is happening, but not what to do about it, and how – by designing – you can explore and arrive to a solution.

🍋 When life gives you lemons, write better error messages. Jenni Nadler details how Wix changed thousands of error messages in just a month.

📈 Learn how to minimize Time to Value—the time before customers experience the value promised after purchasing the product. It applies usually to SaaS, but really any product with a free trial or a freemium pricing model.

👨‍💻 Get more granular control over your applications with Next.js 13’s support for Nested Layouts, Server Components, and ergonomic data fetching. Designed for incremental adoption with the App Directory.

👍 Synthetic data. With the proliferation of AI technologies like GitHub Copilot for code completion, Stable Diffusion for image generation, and GPT-3 for text, many critics are starting to look at the data that they use to train their AI/ML models. The privacy and ownership issues around these tools are thorny, and the data used to train less prominent AI tools can have equally problematic results. That’s where synthetic data comes in.


🤙 Molly Graham asks the right questions on underperforming teams. As a manager or leader, helping people not be lost – not waste time and energy – is one of the most important things to spend time on. It ultimately means revisiting, regularly, the basics of management. Do the people that work for you know what their role is? Do they know what’s expected of them in that role? Do they know how they fit in to the larger context? Do they know how to move work forward?

There are 6 things that tend to cause lostness or under performance that you as a manager can help change:

  1. People don’t actually know what their job is.
  2. They don’t know what you expect of them in their role.
  3. People don’t know who they’re supposed to be working with—you delegated the same thing to two people.
  4. People don’t know how or when to get a decision made.
  5. Something changed around them and no one told them
  6. No one has ever given them that feedback.


🧩 The crypto story, where it came from, what it all means, and why it still matters.

💰 Coatue published a white paper on fintech, who stands to win over the next decade? And an interesting take: crypto will augment the current payments landscape forever, $1T in value will become interchangeable with fiat & invisible to consumers.

🇪🇸 Google will launch the newest Google Safety Engineering Center in Málaga early next year.

🥁 Spotify says Apple is choking competition and ruining its audiobook store. Meanwhile, Otoh – a musician with the same amount of streams (4M) on each platform – is getting $24k from Apple and just $800 from Spotify. What about that?

💰 This week was half of FAANG stocks‘ earnings, here‘s the breakdown:

  • Amazon announced that revenue grew 15% in Q3, falling short of expectations. Its stock fell 16% in extended trading as a result
  • Apple exceeded fiscal Q4 earnings expectations, but missed expectations for iPhone and services sales. Mac sales were up 25%+
  • Meta stock plunged 25% to its lowest point since 2016, the company is no longer in the top 20 in terms of market cap in the U.S.

Thanks for reading! See you again next week 🫶