Stardate S03E35

Sean K. Gabriel
Captain’s Log: Supplemental
5 min readDec 7, 2022


Mood: 🤗. Moving from resisting to embracing. Unlocking gratitude.

Geneva’s lakeside Christmas market is back 🎅

🌹 What am I grateful for this week?

What a blur this past week and a half in Geneva has been. Things are rapidly drawing to their natural conclusions, and yet: I’m proud of myself, for advocating for myself. Even if it didn’t change any outcomes.

Lately I’ve noticed myself becoming more open to seeing where conversations lead; funny things happen when you stop resisting and start embracing. Those threads included:

  • Understanding potential career tracks in clinical psychology
  • Confronting the drive that our comparative saboteurs can give us
  • Connecting product folks I admire who might be able to help each other
  • A spread of opinions and advice on naming Letters*

Taking stock on that last one, building in public has been such a rewarding shift in my mentality from earlier in the year. It’s definitely a trend I want to continue in the new year… once I get through launch! (Which I reckon is still on track for the date I committed to.)

🌵 What do I wish could have gone differently?

I had taken a mindset in recent weeks of wanting to finish my unfinished business. But once it became clear that wouldn’t be in my control, I could have started looking ahead and owning it sooner, rather than staying fixated on what was essentially a rear view mirror. I left myself in a bit of a lurch as a result; the difference I see from today** is palpable indeed.

One leftover to noodle on with the delivery team: if we believe all companies are digital product companies, whether they realize it yet or not, then I think it follows that all our delivery leads are becoming product operations managers, whether we realize it yet or not. We’re in the business of scaling successful deliveries in blue chips, and we do it through a lens of systems and processes, backed by data but focusing on people over craft. Which is where I think this emerging discipline is vying for similar place. I suppose time will tell which way we end up going.

💡 What do I need to remember?

Taking the arc of the last few weeks into account, I’m feeling back on my game at this point. But that puts my mental recovery time in weeks rather than days. Question being: is that a bad thing?

I’m remembering from when we explored this in our (now wrapped up) PQ program, that the right baseline isn’t anyone else’s recovery time, but rather relative to yourself and your own habits. So as long as we get that 1% better every day, or each time we consciously remember to forgive, then that recovery time shortens a little. We get the rep in to build the mental fitness muscle. So that we might lift heavier weights with ease in the future.

Mario Kart got it right with Ghost Mode — your best benchmark today is the you of yesterday.

📚 What did I discover?

Gibson’s guidance is always on point, and if I cast his ‘typical month’ filter on my November, how’d I do? Probably 🟡 customer focus, 🟢 balance of thinking and doing, 🟡 managing my career, 🔴 TV time, and 🟡 time towards Letters. But as I was writing earlier, it’s a great baseline that I can reassess once we get through December!

Love seeing Kevon’s take on mixing expertise and vulnerability, as I’m approaching Letters in a similar way. I wonder if the age of iron-clad expertise*** is drawing to an end?

Are goals a form of punishment? Why live a life purely for personal success, when you can live a life of wider significance? Some deep questions and contrarian answers to explore from this interview.

I’ve not encountered the framing of ‘media company as VC’ before — but once I read it, it made a ton of sense. There’s loads to be gained from owning the megaphone, so long as you use it thoughtfully (recent Twitter activity makes for a good counterexample!).****


From an evening stroll through Parc des Bastions

It may be cold and getting dark early in Europe, but our lovely coach Shirzad helped me take a mental trip to visit my wiser elder self last week. I found him on the deck of a beach house, having finished a morning surf and relaxing into the gentle afternoon sun.

He told me to be patient, not to rush life, nor rush to any particular outcome. It was cool hanging out with him for a hot minute. ✌️👴

*To show my work, here’s how I’m narrowing down to my top five. I had originally discounted ‘young’ and ‘shy’ being too literal (and potentially polarizing) as traits, but somehow ‘intrepid’ stuck out to me even though it’s arguably in the same camp. Hard to deny when something has a ring to it.

Letters to what kind of PM?

**And that’s because today, there was space to honor the journey. And as it turns out, the good vibes were mutual. That’s been reaffirming to remember.

***Because what does it mean to be an expert, really? The modern approach seems to be about niche-ing down. And one can always find a ‘nichier’ niche if ever you spread yourself too thin.

****Even if you do use it thoughtfully, though, push your own agenda too far and others will use their megaphones to bring you back down to earth. Checks and balances matter! Otherwise you might be tricked into thinking there isn’t another side to a given issue.



Sean K. Gabriel
Captain’s Log: Supplemental

Aloha (🤙。◕‿‿◕。)🤙 big on team building & lean product dev. Author @ Thinking aloud with #weeknotes. Works best when caffeinated ☕️