"The Looking Glass: the biggest reasons I failed to influence"

Aviral Vaid

Aviral Vaid

Jul 17, 20234 min read


"The Looking Glass: the biggest reasons I failed to influence"

Freedom to decide is an illusion, even at the highest levels. So long as it takes working with other people to get the outcome you want, the need to influence is like a shadow against the setting sun—it only grows and grows until it becomes the entire job. Even if you’re good at being right, if you can’t tell people why they ought to agree with you, you’re asking for blind faith.

Great managers know how to weave a compelling story that spreads because it’s easy to retell. They understand that good ideas can come from anyone, whether it's clients, salespeople, team members, advisors, or even other companies. They recognize that future trust and greater collective learning comes from reflecting on past bets that didn't work.

Influence is not just about convincing others to agree with your ideas, but also about understanding and adapting to different mindsets. There are two key mindsets to consider when trying to influence others: the advisor mindset and the solver mindset.

The advisor mindset involves influencing others by aligning with their frameworks and principles for decision-making. It's about understanding their perspective and finding common ground. By adopting the advisor mindset, you can show others that their ideas and opinions matter, and that you value their input.

On the other hand, the solver mindset involves proving the positive impact of making a particular decision. It's about presenting evidence, data, and logical arguments to support your point of view. The solver mindset is effective when dealing with individuals who are more results-oriented and prefer a more direct approach.

While some people naturally lean towards the advisor mindset and others towards the solver mindset, it's important to use the right mindset for the right context. Managers should aim for an 80%+ advisor mindset when working with their reports. This empowers their team members to make decisions and be proactive, rather than removing decision-making from their hands.

Reports, on the other hand, should aim for an 80%+ solver mindset when working with their managers. By taking on more responsibility and reducing the decision burden for their managers, they can demonstrate their ability to think critically and problem-solve effectively.

Now let's shift our focus to another topic: microservices explained for product managers.

Microservices are an architectural approach where the code base is split up into distinct areas, each independently responsible for a specific function or business capability. The idea behind using microservices is that they can be developed, tested, and deployed independently of the other services in the application.

While microservices offer many benefits, such as increased flexibility and scalability, there are also potential downsides to consider. One of the main challenges is complexity. Microservices can be more complex to develop and maintain compared to a monolithic application because they require coordination between multiple services.

Additionally, debugging and troubleshooting can be more difficult with microservices. Errors can be hard to track down when they span multiple services, making it challenging to identify and fix issues.

Another consideration is latency and speed. The communication between microservices can add overhead and increase latency, potentially impacting the performance of the overall system.

Furthermore, microservices can be more expensive to operate. They require additional infrastructure to support the individual services, which can result in higher costs.

Despite these challenges, having a bird's-eye view of your applications can help you and your team identify potential security risks. One common vulnerability is endpoint exposure, where poor architectural decisions can leave your product susceptible to attacks.

To overcome these challenges and make the most of microservices, it's important to build with change in mind. Instead of aiming to build a system that lasts forever, focus on building a system that is flexible and adaptable to future changes. Strong tech leads anticipate change and build solutions that can accommodate future iterations and the introduction of new, interoperable services.

In conclusion, whether it's influencing others or implementing microservices, understanding different mindsets and adapting to change are crucial for success. Here are three actionable pieces of advice to consider:

  • 1. Develop your storytelling skills: Learn how to weave a compelling narrative that resonates with others. Craft your message in a way that is easy to understand and retell, increasing the likelihood of others embracing your ideas.
  • 2. Embrace both the advisor and solver mindsets: Recognize when to align with others' frameworks and principles, and when to present evidence and logical arguments to support your point of view. By understanding and using both mindsets appropriately, you can increase your influence and effectiveness.
  • 3. Build for change, not just for the present: When implementing microservices or any other architectural approach, think about how it can accommodate future changes. Anticipate potential challenges and design solutions that can adapt and scale as needed.

By incorporating these strategies into your approach, you can enhance your ability to influence others and successfully navigate the complexities of implementing microservices. Remember, influence is not just about being right but also about building trust and empowering others to make informed decisions.


  1. "The Looking Glass: the biggest reasons I failed to influence", https://lg.substack.com/p/the-looking-glass-the-biggest-reasons?utm_source=activity_item (Glasp)
  2. "Microservices Explained for Product Managers - Department of Product", https://www.departmentofproduct.com/blog/microservices-explained-for-product-managers/ (Glasp)

Want to hatch new ideas?

Glasp AI allows you to hatch new ideas based on your curated content. Let's curate and create with Glasp AI :)