Yes, I’m the same guy who wrote, “Apple Watch Looks Too Much Like a Toy”…and I meant it! But three months ago, the perfect storm occurred. I was getting back into running in earnest and starting to wear my old Fitbit Alta again. However, I’d been thinking that since I don’t like running with my huge iPhone 7 Plus, I might need a small music player. Also, as a new father, I figured that I should have some way to communicate if I’m out on the road and an emergency occurs — either to me, or back at home. So, a few days into my week of shaking off rust, I saw that had the Series 3 Nike+ model on sale for 20% off. I decided to give it the ol’ 14-day trial. …

I finally upgraded my personal computer after an honorable 7-year run from my old MacBook Air, and as I was setting up my new laptop, I realized that the majority of space on my computer is taken up by stuff that I may never look at again. It’s stuff that’s around just in case. Examples include work files from previous jobs that I keep just in case I want to refer to an old project, scans of receipts just in case I have an issue under warranty, videos that I keep just in case I ever want to watch clips from that Roots concert from 10 years ago, and even photos from events with people that I don’t really know just in case one of them becomes POTUS one day (is that weird?). It’s all stuff that I could probably delete and never miss…but…but…who knows what the future holds! What if I need it one day? …

No, this isn’t about Westworld (Spoiler! 😂). I’ll save that for another post. This is about real life — my life — and it’s a little morbid, but important. Especially since people tend to avoid these sorts of conversations.

I’m officially a family man now. My wife and I have been married for almost three years, and three months ago, we brought our son into the world. Since we found out that Krista was pregnant, I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to have a legacy with so much of our lives online or just in nonphysical media. For example, how will our son come to understand himself and his parents in a world in which we’ll take thousands (tens of thousands) of pictures and videos of him with ease? That’s something that my generation didn’t have. Sure, we have photos (many of mine are Polaroids…yeah I’m old) and some lucky folks have camcorder footage (yes…👴🏽), but very few of us have the quantity or quality that the kids born around the end of the last decade and beyond have. …

We were in a car accident last week. Rear ended on I-580. It was at a low speed, and we would usually call it a fender-bender — no big deal — if not for the fact that you were on board.

A simple guide to this awesome task/project management app

It’s all a part of my to-do list
Such as writing about life lessons that some of you missed

Jericho Jackson, “To-do List”

After using EVERY task/project management app, I can say that I’ve finally found my favorite, Things (v3) from Cultured Code.

Why Things?

I’ve found that most to-do list apps are lacking the depth needed to handle full projects. Sure, Apple Reminders is cool if you need to jot down a shopping list, but if you need manage a project with multiple stages and deadlines, then Reminders won’t cut it. And apps like Todoist or Wunderlist (which is on its death bed) don’t handle projects as nicely as Things either. With Things, I can create a project, assign both a start date and a deadline (more on that below), add tags to it, write a description and notes about it, and add tasks with their individual deadlines, start dates, and tags, and divide those into groups with sub-headers. …

About a year ago, I sold my iPad Air. I didn’t think that I would miss it, but since then, I’ve realized that it was awesome for reading comic books (is there really any other way these days?) as well as having a media screen on the couch when my wife is watching Keeping Up with the Kardashians on our TV (sorry Honey, the secret’s out!).

So, on Black Friday, I found great deals on the iPad as well as the iPad Pro. As a previous iPad owner and current iPhone user (after a brief fling with Android), I knew that I wanted an iPad. My only question was if an iPad Pro would be worth the price tag — even with the Black Friday discount. My personal laptop is a 2011 MacBook Air that’s in the twilight of its life, and I’m not real excited about the current MacBook product line (Touch Bar? Meh. No Retina display on the Air? UGH. One port on the MacBook?? 🤬). As a result, I was curious to see how much of a laptop replacement the iPad Pro could be, especially considering how iOS 11 brought many features to move in that direction. I decided to buy both models with the intent to return the loser in my little face-off. …

If you’re a Star Wars fan like me, then you’ve probably had that new riff from John Williams’ score stuck in your head over the past few weeks. You know the one — the Imperial March-esque theme that was prominently featured in the trailer, Nissan commercials, and even re-arranged as a beatbox jam in Google’s AR stickers commercial.

The Last Jedi Trailer, cued up at the catchy theme
One of a few Nissan commercials using the theme
The beatbox version, cued up at the theme

Yeah, it’s catchy. I wanted to know the name of it and where it appears in the official soundtrack. Well, after some unsuccessful googling, I finally listened to the entire soundtrack (which is amazing). And since I’ve done the work for you, I’m happy to share that the riff is found in The Spark. While the whole track is worth a listen, you can hear the original version of the familiar riff at 2:15. YouTube and Spotify embeds below. You’re welcome 😄. Enjoy!

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Photo by Hermes Rivera on Unsplash

I wrote a little about this in iOS 11 Features for Product Managers, but the battle of Apple-centric note-taking apps deserves its own post. In one corner, we have the reigning champ that comes pre-installed on all of your iDevices and MacBooks— Apple’s Notes app (aka “Apple Notes”). In the other corner, the underdog from Italy — Bear Notes by Shiny Frog.

I’m currently a Bear fan, but Apple Notes gets better with every iOS and MacOS release. …

I really want to want an Apple Watch. As a mobile gadget freak who’s owned it all: Palm Pilots, Treos, a Motorola two-way pager, iPhones, iPads, and even a Nexus, it would make sense for me to ache for a smartwatch. And with Apple Watch Series 3 — the one that finally has cellular connectivity — I thought that I would finally pull the trigger. But here’s the thing…the Apple Watch is still a wristwatch, and watches are fashion accessories.

I recently bought myself a Shinola watch for my birthday. Shinola is a great Detroit brand, and I’ve been wanting one of its watches for years. …

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Photo by Tonglé Dakum on Unsplash

They’re one of the reasons tech workers peruse Medium. Every product manager, marketer, entrepreneur, or strategist has had conversations with colleagues about the tools they use to deconstruct problems and accelerate solving them. Porter. The Four Cs. The Four Ps. “AARRR!” HEART metrics. “Come for the X, stay for the Y!” “Zip it up, and zip it out!”

Ok, that last one is a Dave Chappelle joke.

These instruments are essential to product management, business strategy, and other disciplines, but there is no golden checklist or even set of lists. A defined, structured approach is great, and very useful, but the quiet truth is that great PMs and other problem-solvers spend a good amount of time thinking in an unstructured way. While frameworks and other devices can serve as mirrors on a busy highway, if used exclusively, you’ll be blind to the real obstacles directly in front of you. …


Don Woods

Product Manager. @UMEngineering and @ChicagoBooth alumnus. Native of Flint, MI. Oakland, CA resident. I write about tech, culture, and life.

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