You Want To Improve Your Output? Improve Your Input First

You gotta know more to make more.

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Everyone wants to make better products. This goes for nearly any job in the world although the product may vary depending on the career of chooice. For a chef, the output would be the food they put out. For a software engineer, it could be the code they write or the software they made. For a product manager it would be the product they created. Everyone wants to be make something good. But in order to make something good, you need to know all about that particular ‘something’.

In the case of a chef, if you look at the pros, I mean the real professionals, they seem to know everything you can think of about food. They know about various cooking techniques, spices, vegetables, and other kitchen tools. They’ve tried thousands of different menus, researched about other talented chefs, and keep up to date about the trends of food. Their input regarding their field is so high that if you ask them a question about food, you would probably get a reply that is much more than what you asked for.

If the input you have regarding your profession increases in volume and frequency, this naturally leads to better output. You need to know everything you can about your field in order to see what others can’t see and do what others can’t do. Eureka moments don’t come out when you sit on your desk and say “I’m going to discover something today!”. They come when everything you learned accumulates, mixes up, and suddenly something pops up from the mixed pot.

So the question arises about what methods there are to improve your input? Well there are various ways.

  1. Read Read Read
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Photo by Patrick Tomasso on Unsplash

We live in a world where information is literally a fingertip away. There are so many ways to learn about whatever you want either from a blog or from a news article. You can also easily order a book online and receiving it in just a few days. For me particulary, I like to read blogs on a daily basis and order books when I really want to deep dive into a particular subject. Here’s a list of books I’ve read in the past few years. Although they aren’t all related to my field, they are all subjects that I find interesting and I feel are worth learning.

2. Talk With Your Friends

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Photo by Bewakoof.com Official on Unsplash

A great source of input I found were my friends or other people around me who I talk to. They would tell me about things that were going on in their lives that were related to my particular field. However, in order for them to actively engage with me I would have to let them know what exactly I’m interested in and what I’m excited to learn more about.

For example, as a data analyst I’m constantly trying to find more efficient ways to extract and utilize data. I would talk about such interests with my friends and so one day, my friend told me about Apache Spark and how he was using it at work. I tried applying it in my workplace and was able to effectively analyze huge sets of data that previously would have taken much longer.

3. Find Other Experts and Learn From Them

This might be a bit related to #1 but in a more specific sense. There are other very skilled people out there and there’s so much to learn from them. You can learn from them indirectly through a book or an interview clip but if you get the chance to speak with them, grab it and try to ask as many questions as you can.

One of the most talented product managers in the world is Steve Jobs and I’ve tried to learn everything I can about him. I read his book, watched all of his Keynotes, and rummaged through Youtube to find every clip I could where he spoke about his products and how he created them. Here’s one clip that I found particuarly interesting as it explains how he came to create the Iphone. It turns out he started by trying to make the Ipad first, but realized a phone could be made and instantly pounced on the opportunity.

Becoming someone who can constantly create outstanding output is extremely difficult and challenging. In order to become that someone requiries constant effort and a continuous flow of input. Such input might start in your specific field, but its even better to learn about other fields you might be interested in. You never know what might emerge from the mixed pot.

Becoming someone who can constantly create outstanding output is extremely difficult and challenging. In order to become that someone requiries constant effort and a continuous flow of input. Such input might start in your specific field, but its even better to learn about other fields you might be interested in. You never know what might emerge from the mixed pot.

Product Manager and Data Analyst

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