Product Guidance
March 4, 2021

How we speak changes how we make.

Open Reference

In the world of high-tech product making most people like rocketship metaphors more than gardening metaphors. But most of us are creating gardens, not rockets. The work we do is not "launched"; it's planted, grown, harvested, and replanted.

In the software and app design, people often say "ship it."
It's an homage to shipping a physical product to someone.

It reminds me of something Seth Godin says, something like - you don't ship things because they are ready; you ship them because you said you would.

With all these digital products, they hold an odd space in our minds, so we have to talk about them as physical things. And the language we use changes how we treat our work (and the people who use our work).

Rockets are for exploring; a garden is for nourishment.
Both have merit, but the language we use may change our approach.

Understanding the metaphors you use enables you to frame your work as other physical things and see how it changes your ideas.

What if you think of your product or process as pottery or white water rafting or building a house (another common one), or managing a farm? What changes when you change your metaphors?

I‍ think how we speak changes how we make.

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