Scott Belsky - On Tech/Product, Creativity, & Making Ideas Happen - Issue #10





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Scott Belsky - On Tech/Product, Creativity, & Making Ideas Happen - Issue #10
By Scott Belsky • Issue #10 • View online
In case you didn’t catch the first edition of “Elaboration,” this is a ~monthly collection of what’s top of mind on edges that may someday become centers - across tech/product development, creativity, and making ideas happen… I often use past tweets as a starting point. You’ll also see a few highlights from current projects and start-ups I admire. ;-)

Thinking About...
scott belsky
I admire Zoom, the product simplicity/focus, and the staggering daily usage right now.

But we’re in the Prodigy/Compuserve era of remote work, and the gravity of video as THE product will be transcended by some massive rethinks of colllab as we know it.
It’s hard to turn a prop plane into a jet - especially when you’re in flight at top speed. My bet is that the “Brady Bunch” style video meetings of today will run its course while some new companies under the radar brew a 10x better way for us to remotely meet and collaborate…video just being a feature vs. the centerpiece.
What might we expect from early-stage teams I love:
  • Virtual office spaces that we can walk around to spontaneously “bump” into colleagues or overhear conversations and participate in ambient knowledge exchange. One early-stage team I am supporting on this front is Branch.
  • More malleable free-range browser-based solutions for instant gatherings of people and idea sharing, like the team from Here is exploring (Chrome only for now).
  • Video-as-a-service deeply integrated into whatever community or product you can imagine, made possible by companies like
  • Side-car tools like Grain that teams can use to collaboratively take notes and track actions, so that everyone participates in the source of record.
  • Transformative approaches like SlashTalk to “decentralizing” meetings and making more of the work we do together asynchronous and turbo powered.
I am obviously hopeful some of these companies redefine what remote work means and how efficient (and even more conducive for innovation) it can be. If I were Zoom, I would leverage my current lofty market cap to acquire a bunch of next gen video tools to build a pipeline of disruptive experiences on top of my own platform. We shall see.
scott belsky
have come to believe that everyone has moments of genius, but so few people compulsively capture them - and nourish them long enough to withstand society’s immune system and reach escape velocity
Those who work with me know that I am a compulsive capturer. I have a hard time moving past an idea in a brainstorm or conversation without asking, “who captured that?” Have long believed that the impact we make with our ideas is a direct product of Creativity x Organization = Impact (it’s a product not a sum). So, let’s be a little more nutty when it comes to capturing the next steps for anything that interests us…and then tending to these seeds consistently enough.
Also, as someone passionate about crafting tools for creativity, I believe one area we’ve overlooked is what happens (or rarely happens) between the seams of creativity. Whether it is how a creative team works together and shares files, or how your creative workflow spans multiple tools, I believe the “organization” part of the IMPACT equation is woefully neglected in creative workflow. Been discussing this with a few of my teams lately at Adobe…
Josh Kopelman
We raise our kids on a conveyor belt of conformity. It is really hard (and lonely) for someone to step off. But those who have the courage to do so are those who will create the change we need.
This one really resonated. Not only are we expected to fit in throughout our lives, we are also indoctrinated with a dependency on short-term rewards that incentivizes us to get the good grade or near term accolades at the expense of engaging in longer-term pursuits with more difficult (or all-together absent) near-term measures. How do we incentivize abandoning the set expectations around us, and the short-term rewards that exist to keep us on the tracks? Lately, when my (still very young) kids use the term “weird” about anything someone says or does, I try to think of and share a story of an idea that was strange in the past before it became the new and better way of living today.
scott belsky
pretty convinced: the first mile of your product's user experience will determine how it will end. 💀
Every product team I’ve worked with knows my obsession with the first mile of a user’s experience. It is the ultimate irony: most teams only spend the last mile of their experience BUILDING the product thinking about the first mile of their customer’s experience USING it. Since this is the only part of your product every customer will see (it just drops off from there), it requires a ton of consistent nurturing and new innovations for every new cohort of new customers.
  • I talk about this quite a bit in the product section in the very middle of my book, The Messy Middle. The reasons is that I believe the best product teams ultimately scale without sacrificing simplicity through this obsession with the first mile.
  • Here are a few other thoughts on Crafting The First Mile Of Product Experience.
Dr. Helen Papagiannis, Ph.D.
😁 I’m gonna call these analog #AR face filters 🤣

🎥 by Marialynnfamily on IG ✨ Follow her for more 👉
Love this. Amidst all my daily deep dives of the intricacies of AR technology in my day job, nice to remember that digital isn’t the only medium for augmented 3D experiences.
scott belsky
suddenly the mythological stories from thousands of years ago make more sense. if this year's events - from pandemics, hate crimes, and political unrest to fires and global financial chase - were transferred via stories for the next thousand years...they would be biblical.
Is this how, thousands of years later, we recount biblical periods of plagues and mass destruction? Speaking of making our country better, here’s - a compendium of everything you need to know about your state, how to register (or make sure you are registered), etc:
scott belsky
“You will move in the direction of the people that you associate with. So it’s important to associate with people that are better than yourself. The friends you have will form you as you go through life..”
Loved this ode to Warren Buffet from Bill Gates, upon Buffet’s 90th birthday. Especially this message about the people we choose to surrounds ourselves with, as time becomes especially precious.
On The Start-Up Front...
It has been a busy few years supporting early-stage founders building products and services that I feel the world needs. A few highlights of ~recent investments:
  • CashDrop: “Create an online storefront from your phone in minutes.” This team is totally transforming touchless-commerce and how any small business (think taco trucks and barbershops) can be digitally savvy without any hassle or aggressive transaction fees. Ruben is an incredible entrepreneur and I’m excited to help him.
  • Levels Health: Having previously invested in the seed of Whoop and become super geeky about understanding my own health and fitness, I am fascinated by the Levels team’s approach to democratizing access to our blood glucose data and what it means.
And to my designer, product, and engineering friends - here are a collection of new JOB OPPORTUNITIES from teams I work (will aim to share more of these ~monthly in future newsletters):
Ethyca: making data privacy compliance simple, scalable & complete.  
Nexhealth: connecting patients, doctors, and healthcare developers  
Apply: helping people find that inner artist by reframing stickers (yep, stickers!!!) as creative tool kits for self-expression, personalization, and artistic exploration in an analog world.
  a. Lead Designer
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Scott Belsky

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Scott Belsky, NY/SF