A Change In Mindset

July 9, 2015 Will Lam


a change in mindset

While I’ve been learning to code for the last little while and with some major distractions like interviewing with many many companies over a 4 month period, it got me thinking – why aren’t I further along than I want to be?

I don’t think I’m being particularly hard on myself as I had some crystal clear milestones I wanted to achieve, but amidst the chaos of preparing, researching and understanding the companies I was interviewing with, I felt my overall mindset of “learning to code to be a better product manager” was a bit flawed.

It dawned upon me that this kind of mindset held me above all else. Why do I believe this when I was clearly making some progress in terms of understanding web frameworks like Rails or mobile like Apple’s Swift language and Xcode?

It hampered my efforts because I was learning only enough to become a better product manager and that was it – I always knew I had to dive deep, but that sort of frame of mind kept me from immersing myself in the developer world.

The subtle but powerful shift

So what’s the shift in mindset now? I’m learning to code to become a full fledged developer.  Whether or not I become a developer is not the point. It’s not enough for me to be able to understand or ship simple products with the intent to communicate better with developers. I have to become one myself, so I can deeply empathize and understand.

While it’s true that it’s not a pre-requisite to become a developer before becoming a product manager. I still have the insatiable hunger to build and ship stuff that I want made a reality without complete reliance on a developer to make that happen.

I want to feel and understand the pain, the challenges of building a product, understanding what’s possible and what’s not with the constraints that developers face in terms of time, technology, time to market and everything in between.

If I were to bootstrap a software business, I want to understand the competitive landscape alongside doing customer development, I want to take that into account into how and what to build first as opposed to knowing just enough to gain the respect of developers.

I have a compelling urge to dive into the deep end and immerse myself in learning to build products with the mindset being empowered to be able to follow through on what needs to be done, unburdened by limiting factors of being reliant. I figure if I’m making the plunge, I’ll become more tested and hardened to the challenges that developers face on a day to day basis when shipping products to the real world.

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