Different != Better

In the labyrinth of SaaS, the pulse of product management beats a steady rhythm. I’ve been at it for two decades, caught in the crosshairs of armchair critics and would-be virtuosos.

U X Designers, Tech Writers, and we product managers are the usual suspects on their list. If you’ve been on the receiving end, you know the sting, but have you ever dealt the same blow? Cast the first stone? Poured cold water on another’s parade?

We exist in a world where “different” often masquerades as “better”. Hired hands who wouldn’t know a heuristic from a diarrhetic throw in their two cents, adding noise, not value.

Their revisions? Sledgehammer edits with all the finesse of a bull in a china shop. Changing for the sake of being seen making changes, new look, same flavor.

We’ve all seen it—the opinion artists, the ones who mistake their viewpoints for hard-earned expertise, mixing apples and oranges, thinking they’ve created the next iPhone.

But let’s get this straight, my friends. Expertise isn’t just some loudmouth’s half-baked opinion thrown around like cheap confetti. It’s the grit and grind of years on the job, the sweat-soaked hours of training. It’s sinking into a subject until the wee hours, wrestling with it day in, day out, for weeks, months, years. It’s the painstaking craft of study, the relentless rhythm of practice. That’s the raw material that forges a bona fide expert.

When the floodgates of feedback open, don’t play into the game of opinions. Pan for gold in the stream, the sparkle of legitimate rationale. A solid reason can turn even the harshest criticism into an invaluable gem. But if it’s just another stone skipping across the water, let it sink without a ripple, even if it bounced off your temple on the way to the pond.

Now, there’s a breed of characters who thrive on the spectacle, on the illusion of action—they’re not the real deal, just Nickelback trying to pass as Nirvana. They fill the air with smoke and mirrors, seeking applause for doing the moonwalk and not realizing where the moonwalk actually takes you– backwards.

So don’t get sucked in. The path to success isn’t painted with flashy gimmicks. Your colleagues aren’t blind to the antics of the glory-seeking noise machines. You’re not in a duel with them.

You’re in a duel against mediocrity, trying to break through into greatness. You’re a hit if your product is a hit. After all, in the end, it’s your name in the closing credits, not theirs.

So here’s my parting shot, my final roll of the dice. Stay sharp, stay focused, and stay humble. Trust in the grind, in the grit, in the late-night wrestling matches with your obstinate subject. Remember that change, draped in a shiny new coat, isn’t necessarily an upgrade, and a jabbering opinion doesn’t equal hard-won expertise. Even if it’s yours.

At the end of the day, you’re the one in the ring. You’re the one sweating, bleeding, and striving for the bell. In the end, the only judge that matters is the one staring back at you in the mirror. Keep it straight and keep it real, because in this town, this hard-boiled city of SaaS, authenticity is the rarest jewel of all.

Embrace the feedback that has a heartbeat, that’s backed up by solid reasoning, but let the empty echos fade away. Watch out for the showboats, the smoke-and-mirrors folks who are more sizzle than steak. But don’t let them distract you from your goal—punching mediocrity in the face and making a beeline for greatness.