And how you can hijack the recommendation algorithm to improve your mood.

Have you ever had the eerie experience of typing just one word into a search query and having the rest auto complete perfectly? That has a happened to me even while searching the most seemingly random and esoteric of topics. It’s… uncomfortable.

The age of and have paved the path to create algorithms that know what you want even before you do. While it is unfortunate that most of our smartest technology seems geared to sell us more stuff, many of the same algorithms can be used deliberately to your advantage.

The high-growth industries of 2021 will demand experts in the regulatory environment.

Drone with camera
Drone with camera
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Cannabis. Solar Energy. Online Therapy. What do industries have in common? For starters, they all saw massive growth in 2020. Second, they all are projected to continue outpacing other industry sectors in the coming years. One more thing, they all exist in regulation-heavy environments. The regulatory environment as a whole will become a more important part of many industries in 2021 and beyond.

There are so many pieces written about the skills a product manager must acquire in order to be successful. These skills could be anything from learning about user psychology, understanding business models, or even programming. What is…

Why national politics is just a distraction

Image credit to The New Yorker. Illustration by Christop Niemann; Animation by Olivia Blanc

Many Americans are focused on national politics where they act as spectators at the cost of involvement in their city and county. This is despite the fact that city and county involvement is where one can have a much larger impact on shaping policy. As the country sprints towards constitutional, climate, economic, and racial crises, we all hope to avoid disaster but many feel helpless to make the big changes necessary to divert them.

Only by re-engineering our political systems and getting involved locally, can we gain the necessary agility provided by diversity of thought and experience. Expanding voter registration…

We should do it anyways.

photo credit: Shutterstock/The Atlantic

The United States has one of the lowest voter participation among established democracies. Why is that? We’re the oldest democracy? We’re a wealthy country and most people do agree in the importance of democracy here within our country.

Over the years, there have been several proposals to increase voter turnout; including the sponsored by none other than Senator Bernard Sanders. This proposal would designate election day as a national holiday with the hopes of increasing voter turnout and strengthening our participatory democracy. …

Person drawing diagrams as a part of planning
Person drawing diagrams as a part of planning
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S o you’re a new Product Manager at a company. You’re excited about the opportunity but you’ve just received the third customer request this month for changes to form functionality that was released six months ago.

The form was kept purposefully simple so that it could be released as an MVP and it has covered most use cases. Now it’s time to iterate and improve.

As the new Product Manager, how do you go about making an informed decision about the direction when you’re still getting your bearings at the company?

Recognize Your Unknowns

For me, the first step is always going to…

How I’ve employed product management best practices to wrap my head around prioritizing thousands of backlogged tickets.

Homer Simpson looking overwhelmed at work
Homer Simpson looking overwhelmed at work

At every company I’ve joined as a Product Manager, the role inherits a giant backlog. In one company, the backlog literally consisted of over 2900 items — some of which were logged over a decade ago. This doesn’t scare me. I think that a big backlog is a sign of a healthy company. It means that you have stakeholders at all levels interested in the product. It means that as a company, you have ideas coming in and directions worth exploring. …

Computer monitors displaying generic code
Computer monitors displaying generic code
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It isn’t uncommon to have a lot of ideas on a product backlog. Ideas flow in from executives, customers, sales, support, and just about everyone. It is common to hear that a good Product Manager is one who knows how to say “no”. I would take it a step further and say that a good Product Manager knows how to build a framework that can help them to say “no” ideas that don’t move the company forward and “yes” to those that do. …

Religion may be the biggest driver of human progress….and manipulation.

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I’m not a religious person. That fact wouldn’t surprise anyone who knows me. What may surprise all but those closest to me, however, is that I hold religion in pretty high regard.

I have tattoos and make blasphemous jokes. I proudly carry my Satanic Temple mug into the office (pre pandemic of course) and delight at the discomfort of others at the presence of the Baphomet in a project status meeting. I can’t remember the last time I was in a church building; so understand my internal contradiction when I say that Religion may be the biggest driver of human…

In the world of startup tech companies, it is common understanding that 9 out of 10 new businesses will fail. This isn’t due to a lack of demand or not having the right people for the job. Often, failure is as a result to make a plan and then execute on it.

The Atlanta-based organizer and rapper, Killer Mike, seems to understand this concept. In the last few years, he has gained prominence as a voice for the progressive Black community — notably taking the stage alongside Atlanta Mayor, Keisha Lance Bottoms, in the aftermath of George Floyd’s murder. In…

….I can’t believe it’s come to this.

If you’re anything like me, you were anticipating November 3, 2020 with both hope and dread. As I sat there watching preliminary results come in, flashbacks to the unbelievable and unfathomable realization that Donald Trump would be our president loomed heavy. If you believe in and understand Democracy, you probably asked yourself “What has happened to our country”. How could so many people, knowing what we know about Trump, vote for him again?

It’s easy to say his followers are dumb, ignorant, voting against their self-interest, poisoned by social media and political propaganda. In fact, it’s too easy.

That’s a…

Anthony Ranallo

Reader, thinking, creator, and father interested in the intersections of technology, democracy, and humanity. Check out my work at

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