The Power of Effective Note-Taking and Strategic Product Management

Aviral Vaid

Aviral Vaid

Jul 23, 20233 min read


The Power of Effective Note-Taking and Strategic Product Management


In this article, we will explore two different topics - the importance of taking effective notes when reading and the mindset and strategies of senior product managers. While these topics may seem unrelated at first, there are common points that can be connected to provide valuable insights for personal growth and professional success.

Section 1: The Brutal Truth About Reading: If You Don't Take Notes Right, You'll Forget Nearly Everything

1. The Brain as a Forgetting Machine:

It is a well-known fact that the brain is more inclined to forget information than to retain it. We are constantly bombarded with new information, making it challenging to remember everything we learn. Taking notes is a powerful tool to combat this natural tendency and retain valuable knowledge.

2. Sharing to Remember:

Sharing what you learn helps reinforce your memory. When you first have a new insight, you are excited to share it with others. However, as time goes by, this excitement fades. It is crucial to resist this natural decline and actively share your knowledge to enhance your retention.

3. The Value of Knowledge:

The value of knowledge can be measured by two factors: how often you use it over time and how valuable it is when you use it. Often, we underestimate the long-term value of knowledge that helps us improve incrementally over time. Titanium Knowledge, as we can call it, may only make us slightly better at prioritizing, but its cumulative effect can be significant over the course of our lives.

Section 2: How Senior Product Managers Think Differently

1. Factors Influencing Promotion:

Getting a promotion as a product manager involves various factors beyond skills and achievements. Factors like the development of talents, peer competency, company politics, and manager support play a significant role in career advancement.

2. Execution and Backlog Management:

When the problem and solution are well-defined, a product manager's focus shifts to executing the solution efficiently. Managing the backlog becomes essential, ensuring clear, prioritized, and appropriately sized tickets that facilitate quick shipping and user feedback for risk reduction.

3. Evaluating Solutions and Problems:

Critical evaluation of both the solution and the problem takes product thinking to the next level. As a product manager, it is crucial to question whether there is a better way to solve a problem and determine the strategic importance of the problem being addressed. This may involve saying no or pushing back against stakeholders to ensure the right constraints are in place.

Actionable Advice:

Before concluding, here are three actionable pieces of advice derived from the combined insights:

  • 1. Incorporate Effective Note-Taking: When reading, actively take notes to reinforce your memory and retain knowledge. Share what you learn to solidify your understanding further.
  • 2. Embrace Strategic Thinking: As a product manager, focus on execution but also critically evaluate solutions and problems. Understand the strategic objectives behind your work and the metrics that define success.
  • 3. Quantify Impact and Cost: Quantify the impact of your product by considering factors like reach, intensity, and user segment value. Understand the true cost of building a feature, including time and other resources.


In conclusion, effective note-taking and strategic product management share common points that can enhance personal growth and professional success. By taking notes, sharing knowledge, and embracing strategic thinking, one can improve memory retention and excel in their role as a product manager. Remember to quantify impact and cost, and always strive for continuous improvement.


  1. "The Brutal Truth About Reading: If You Don’t Take Notes Right, You’ll Forget Nearly Everything", (Glasp)
  2. "How senior product managers think differently", (Glasp)

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