Three strategies to protect your vulnerability and effectively play offensive against Trump

Dear Mr. Biden,

Around the country, Democrats, many independents, and some never-Trump Republicans are holding their breath.

Despite a troubled economy, nationwide pandemic, racial strife, and raging wildfires, the Presidential race has been surprisingly stable. You have maintained a consistent lead over President Trump. And if the election were held today, FiveThirtyEight gives you a 90% chance of winning it.

So why all of the anxiety among your supporters? The debates.

While you have been remarkably immune to most attacks from the Trump camp, the one idea that seems to be sticking is that you’re senile.

We fear that the…

At Girbil, we’ve been running a distributed/remote team for the last year. We love the many benefits of remote work, but there are also challenges.

We have learned it’s important to have intentional conversations about how we work. So we put together a framework to brainstorm ways to work better as a remote team.

I want to share this framework and retro process with you in hopes it will be helpful as your team transitions to remote work this week.

The Framework

Here’s the framework we used to structure our team conversation around working remotely. …

What we learned from conversations with over 100 product leaders

We recently had a 100+ conversation with product leaders, and we’d like to share some of the things we learned.

We’ve broken the themes into five sections: (1) Challenges, (2) Responsibilities, (3) Practices, (4) Tools, and (5) Recommendations.

This is not enough data for these concepts and ideas to be definitive, but they came up enough to be worth noting.



  1. The most common challenge and frustration mentioned across our interviews is stakeholder management. Product managers seem to spend more time with internal stakeholders than with customers.
  2. PMs feel that their roadmap is being driven more by the demands…

I recently had a 100+ conversation with product leaders. I want to share what I learned.

I’ve broken my learnings into five themes: (1) Challenges, (2) Responsibilities, (3) Practices, (4) Tools, and (5) Recommendations.

These concepts and ideas are not definitive, but they came up enough times in my conversations to be worth mentioning.



  1. The most common problem and frustration mentioned across our interviews is stakeholder management. Product managers seem to spend more time with internal stakeholders than with customers.
  2. PMs feel that their roadmap is being driven more by the demands of executives, sales, customer success, etc. …

An Open Letter to former Senator Hatch

I wrote this letter to former Senator Orrin Hatch two years ago in response to Trump’s Travel Ban. In honor of World Refugee Day, I’m sharing it publically. May we all remember that most of us are, have been, or descend from refugees.— Jeff

To the Honorable Orrin Hatch,

As a constituent of the the State of Utah and a Republican State Delegate, I’m writing to share my disapproval of President Trump’s recent executive order entitled, “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States,” and would like to encourage you to take two courses of action in…

Are you raising money using a YC post-money SAFE? Your investors may want to know what their ownership stake will be when the SAFE converts. You can use this model to show them:

YC Post-Money SAFE Investor Ownership Model

The model accommodates a cap, discount, or both.

Also, here are two important things to keep in mind:

  1. Your SAFE investors will be diluted by the shares issued in the priced round (including option pool creation or re-up). So the % ownership shown in the model is prior to that dilution.
  2. SAFE investors are not diluted by any option pool created before the priced round.

Hope that helps.

How to level up your product quality with release checklists

Atul Gawande, in the Checklist Manifesto, argues that “the volume and complexity of what we know has exceeded our individual ability to deliver its benefits correctly, safely, or reliably.”

His recommended solution? A checklist.

A checklist? Come on. That’s too simple.

According to Gawande, however, checklists have been shown to significantly improve quality and decrease error in a number of fields from hospitals to air travel.

We took this idea to heart and started a pre-release checklist to improve the quality and minimize the errors in our builds. The checklist was simple, but it greatly improved our release quality. …

An Open Letter to My Congressional Representative

I wrote this letter to my Congressional Representative, John Curtis, several months ago. In recent days, however, it seems the immigration debate has reached fever pitch, so I felt to make this letter public in an attempt to encourage reasoned and respectful immigration debate. — Jeff

Dear Representative John Curtis,

As a local Utah tech entrepreneur and constituent, I encourage you to seek a bipartisan solution to immigration reform that finds a fair balance between security, efficiency, economic growth, and US global competitive interests, while holding true to our cherished Utahn and American values by rejecting the more extreme elements…

Principles of Good Categorization Schemes for Product Managers

Analyzing free-form text customer feedback is an essential skill for great Product Managers. Great feedback analysis can uncover insights, help you prioritize, and shine a light on unknown issues.

But analysis of qualitative data is typically only as good as the categorization scheme you use.

From our experience, a good feedback categorization scheme should have 5 characteristics:

I. Useful

Do your data categories create value? This happens in one of two ways:

1) Data categories lead to action

Do your categories enable you to take action?

There are several valuable action types that your data categories can lead to…

  1. Routing the comment to a team/department responsible for the…

Notes on Using Notion to Run My Startup

Lean Canvas Notion Template: Link

I’ve long written about my love ❤️/ hate 😡relationship with Evernote(for example, here ). I tried many alternatives (e.g., Bear, Google Keep, Apple Notes), but each of these had their own failings and were not quite good enough to lure me away.

Then came Notion. In short, it’s amazing—see my Product Hunt review below for more details. It has the potential to be so much more than a note-taking tool. After playing with Notion, I caught the vision of how I could potentially use Notion to run a large portion of business, from OKRs to Investor tracking.

Jeff Whitlock

CEO and Founder at Unbird. I love product, startups, software, and politics.

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