Kaushik Subramanian


PM @Stripe. Ex @Facebook. @McKinsey, @INSEAD. Big time startup helper, small time investor. Punekar. Views are my own.

How to write a manager manual

Your relationship with your manager is often the most crucial one for career success. Most people spend the first year of their new manager relationship setting rules of engagement. What if there was a way to supercharge this and get to the parts that matter?

Creating a manual for my manager helps me stay organized and on the same page. It outlines how I work, what motivates me, career goals—everything they might need to know in one place!

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How apps make money

Very few people know how apps make money. Fewer understand that Apple is a piece of shit for pulling the absolutist, crappy move called ATT which crippled the industry. Here's a simplistic explanation on how millions of app developers monetise in the ~$100B+ app ads market:

Jane opens Candy Crush on her phone. Candy Crush wants serve an ad. Jane's phone sends an ID that's unique to her device (IDFA) to an ad server. Think of an ad server as a traffic policeman who regulates traffic

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How to quit a job with grace

First impressions count but last impressions are forever. Most people (including me) focus a lot on starting well, but never on how to end well. The tech world is small, and average tenures keep reducing. Yet, no one talks about how to quit a job with grace

I've stumbled through leaving 3 wonderful organisations, and over time have developed an algorithm that will help you quit your job with grace, and leave a great last impression.

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Good product counsel vs Great product counsel

A great product counsel/lawyer has a significant impact on your product quality, shipping speed, risk profile and ideas. I've read very little about this, but after working with several product counsels (luckily) in highly regulated industries, I've learnt how to spot them (1/9)

Great product counsel: you can do this 10x cheaper and quicker if you frame it like X, and optimise the product/ feature set as such Good product counsel: you can do this but you'll have to do these other things first Not so great product counsel: you can't do this (2/9)

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Good feedback vs Bad feedback

Bad feedback: No one likes hearing it, but it can be a massive growth vector if you know how to channel it, and act on it. I've Here's what I've learnt re: feedback, and how to get better at taking hard, raw feedback that made me feel awful (1/n)

1/ Listen hard, it's high fidelity signal: Thinking of feedback is hard, and a lot of work on behalf of the feedback giver - its very high ROI to listen to it. Limit yourself to two phrases 'Thank you' and 'Tell me more'. Do not react in any way. If it helps, force a smile.

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The big shiny thing problem

The big shiny thing problem: Ever wondered why there are so many obvious, lucrative use cases that megacorps never build? Why did it take so long for Facebook to build commerce or Amazon to do ads? Why hasn't Twitter built even one of the 20,000 obvious features it can build?

I call this the big shiny thing problem. Here's a thread on why this happens, and how you can avoid/mitigate this🧵

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How to always have great meetings

Meetings are one of the few *controllable* events in your career (especially in a LargeCo context). Having a framework to think about what to do for each type, can help you get a disproportionate advantage in your career. A framework and a thread to go with it 🧵

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Influence without authority

Influence without authority: A lot of jobs (especially product ones) are dependent on influencing people or driving alignment without authority. I think it boils down to data, emotion and ego. Here's what I've learnt so far, and some best practices to do so:

1. Have zero ego: 'I'm the expert' or 'I think this is right' is bad. Irrespective of who you're talking to, go with 'I don't know, but this is what I have learnt so far'. With ego, the discussion is finished before it even begins. Talk about the 'why'; which brings me to

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I've learnt a ton about metrics in my time in consumer, tech and speaking to a number of early stage companies. Great metrics form goals which incentivise behaviour, so they are important. Here's what I've learnt about metrics, and some principles to remember (1/9)

1. A good metric should be real, tangible and easily measurable. Seems obvious, but we don't always do it. Everyone on your team should intuitively understand and be bought into the metric (2/9)

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Strategy vs Narrative Framing

Strategy is such a loosely used word. In my experience, most of the time (esp in big companies) when some says 'we need a strategy' all they need is 'narrative framing'. Not enough is said about narrative framing, and how to get good at it. Read on... (1/6)

What is narrative framing? Its telling a story within a story, or providing a frame of reference. In a lot of companies there will be separate efforts to achieve impact in a certain area, and they'll all come together in nice story. That story is actually narrative framing (2/6)

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