Self-deprecation as a defense mechanism

Newsletter #36

In the past month, three people independently told me I should stop being so damned self-deprecating.

They’re referring to the way I speak and write about my work. Here’s an example.

Yes, I see how this is a problem.

Why am I so self-deprecating?

Imposter syndrome is a part of it, but I think there’s more to it than that.

I’m proud of how far we’ve come, yet am hyper aware of how unimpressive it is in the grand scheme of things. I then worry that other people will make the same comparison, and think “what the hell is she so proud of?”

And so, I pre-empt those comparisons with self-deprecation. That is, I undermine my own work first which, in a twisted sort of way, gives less ammunition to the critics and crickets.

Obviously, this isn’t ideal, which is why I’m grateful people have taken the time to point this out to me so I can change.

The fix

The simplest and most immediate way to fix this is by removing the caveats.

For example, the tweet above still works even if I remove the first section and start with “10 days in with 10+ active installs. πŸŽ‰”

In reality, my self-deprecating caveats are still a defensive reflex that won’t magically go away just because I want them to.

But at least I’m now aware, and will filter them out in the future.

In the long run, the more lasting fix is to simply stop comparing myself to people 10 steps ahead of me. This change will take time as it involves remoulding my brain, but I’m sure I’ll get there and that it’ll be worth it.

After all, if I spend my time feeling insecure about how I’m not yet at step 10, I’ll never focus on getting past steps 1-9.


πŸ”₯ Highlights from this week

  • Just finished my 2-start kayaking certification this afternoon!
  • Spoke to some people who are active users of the plugin and got some really great feedback.
  • We launched v.1.1 with 2 big new features:
  1. Newsletter Glue Group blocks – which let you show/hide content in your blog/email.
  2. Newsletter Theme designer – which lets you choose basic style settings for your newsletter that won’t show up on your blog.

πŸ’” Lowlights from this week

In all honesty, not much. This week was pretty great!

βœ… Completed this week

  • Launched v.1.1
  • Made some great headway with building in natural feedback loops into our plugin
  • Made some great headway with how the paid plugin will work and the future of Newsletter Glue
  • Had an idea for the Newsletter Glue newsletter

🎯 Goals for next week

  • Starting designing the paid plugin
  • Start working on QA for the plugin

πŸ€” Product thought for the week
When building software, the solution for almost everything starts by talking to users.


πŸ•Hot and fresh from the Interwebz

Decided to make this week’s selection of articles more product and software focused. Each one has been incredibly enlightening to me, and I plan on revisiting them frequently.

Build better product roadmaps

“The focus is never on executing a wish list of features. Rather, the focus is on creating meaningful outcomes for the organization. They leave the team room to discover and execute the most effective solution, rather than the one that was thought of first.” This article is the basis and starting point for how I’ll be planning my own roadmaps going forward. Link to article β†’

$374k Annual recurring revenue

“The business made over $30,000 in revenue last month, but I’m not upgrading my lifestyle with each uptick. Quite the opposite actually. Having a business really changed my outlook on money…. I just want to be able to keep creating and learning new things, being in control of my life, and not dependent on any one customer or employer.” Seriously, this is everything I wish for. Link to article β†’

The post-YC slump

“In general, startups get distracted by fake work. Fake work is both easier and more fun than real work for many founders… During YC, we are ruthless about reminding startups that fake work does not count and will still get you a failed startup no matter how intensely you do it.” I’ve been obsessed with fake or busy work for awhile now and try to avoid it at all costs. But in my case, I substitute fake work with fun. Not very effective, but definitely more fun! Link to article β†’

Not all good products make good businesses

“You can tackle any of the the above problems with great products which have phenomenal aesthetics. Everything will be pointed in the right direction except for the business. But sustainability is an important feature. If a product can’t fuel a business then its quality will disappear as its value erodes and competition emerges. And that’s something a lot of great products forget: survival is the best product strategy.” Every single sentence in this article is product gold. Link to article β†’


πŸ‘‹ Before you go

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