The Power of Friendship and Belonging: Changing Minds and Managing Products


Hatched by Glasp

Aug 31, 2023

3 min read


The Power of Friendship and Belonging: Changing Minds and Managing Products


In this article, we will explore two seemingly unrelated topics: the influence of friendship on changing minds and the challenges of managing new vs established products. Although these subjects may appear distinct, they share common points that provide valuable insights into human behavior and decision-making. By examining the impact of social connections on belief systems and the strategies used in product management, we can uncover actionable advice for fostering change and achieving success in various domains.

Beliefs, Friendship, and Change:

Harvard psychologist Steven Pinker astutely observed that people often hold beliefs that align with their social groups rather than those based on truth. Our desire to belong and gain the approval of others can lead us to prioritize social ties over facts. Convincing someone to change their mind is, therefore, a process of convincing them to change their tribe. To facilitate this change, we must provide individuals with an alternative community that supports their new beliefs, ensuring they don't face isolation or loneliness.

Friendship as a Catalyst for Change:

Friendship plays a vital role in shaping our beliefs and perspectives. The closer we are to someone, the more likely their beliefs will influence ours. This phenomenon highlights the importance of surrounding ourselves with diverse perspectives and engaging in open-minded conversations. However, it is crucial to create psychologically safe environments for such discussions, as defensiveness can hinder the process of changing minds.

The Impact of Books and Ideas:

Silence is the enemy of ideas, as concepts that are not expressed or shared often fade into oblivion. Ideas gain strength through repetition and discussion. Clear's Law of Recurrence demonstrates that the number of people believing an idea is directly proportional to the number of times it has been repeated, even if the idea is false. Therefore, instead of focusing on debunking bad ideas, it is more productive to champion good ideas and share them widely.

Practical Advice for Changing Minds:

  • 1. Develop genuine friendships: By building strong relationships with others, we create a supportive environment where changing beliefs becomes more feasible. Sharing meals, engaging in meaningful conversations, and gifting books can foster connections that open minds.
  • 2. Democratize information: In the realm of product management, effective communication and transparency are crucial for success. In large organizations, like Facebook, democratizing information ensures that everyone is aligned and empowered to contribute.
  • 3. Focus on measurable metrics: When faced with improving areas that are difficult to prove ROI, such as customer service, it is essential to identify measurable metrics. By tracking progress and demonstrating tangible results, the value of these initiatives becomes apparent.


The power of friendship and a sense of belonging cannot be underestimated in the realm of changing minds and managing products. By understanding the influence of social connections on belief systems and implementing effective strategies, we can navigate the complexities of human behavior and achieve success. Whether it is transforming someone's perspective or launching a new product, building genuine relationships, sharing ideas, and focusing on measurable outcomes are key to driving change and growth.

(Note: The content has been revised and combined to create a coherent long-form article that incorporates unique insights and provides actionable advice.)

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