Values I swear by

Ivan Oung
In this article...

A personal list of principles and values that I always keep close to my heart, despite where I'm at, what I'm doing, and what I'm going through.

Life will always throw you challenges that will diverge you from your focus, and only a clear set of principles will help you get back to the right track even when sidetracked.

As of 2021-12-21 today, here’s a list of values and principles that I swear by.

  1. If a 5-year-old can’t understand what I am explaining, I don’t really understand it
  2. Low-hanging fruits are low hanging because they are undesirable
  3. Always be helpful, and I don’t need power or status to start being helpful to those who are around me
  4. Being shitty will always bite back. Don’t be shitty or do sloppy work
  5. Respect never comes with power or status: it comes from wisdom
  6. When money is taken away from the equation, usually what’s left is respect
  7. Asking for advice is a sign of wisdom because it requires courage and humbleness
  8. Talk is cheap; Always be the change that I want to see first
  9. Difference between making a tough call and an idiotic call; Both are a form of madness, but a dumb call is just a repetition of human history yet expected different results
  10. Listen and learning – is the best way to find out what is the right thing to do; thinking alone and thinking that I can come up with all the right answers are just sheer arrogance
  11. Keep the speed up by taking pragmatic risks. Only agonize over irreversible decisions. Be reliable and follow through. If I say I’ll do something, do it
  12. Trust others and assume good intent. If I need to build context and understanding, always ask for and share information freely
  13. Always drive with a mission and a goal. I won’t go anywhere if I don’t have a focus, to begin with
  14. As a product person, I pay close attention to the problems people (not just outside of the company) want to solve with better tools and services, and follow their lead. If I don’t do a good job of that, I should not exist
  15. Debate to make progress, not to win
  16. Give direct feedback no matter who I am with because that’s how ideas are explored, trust is built, respect is earned, and the lesson is learned
  17. Being kind is not the same as being nice. Being kind is about taking responsibility for my impact on the people around me, and being mindful of how I can help others to grow
  18. Give credit where credit is due

It is no surprise some of the values are a reference from some of the brightest product companies, such as Notion, and Dovetail. I would like to take some of them as a reference because I couldn’t find a better way to put them into words.

Share this with your friends if you think is helpful!!

Ivan Oung

Born in Hong Kong and grew up in Canada, Ivan is a husband and a board game lover. After spending 10+ years building digital products, he is now committed to helping SMEs get more leads by building effective websites that turn attention into opportunities.

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