Implications of the latest advances in tech, shifts in culture, and evolution in the art and science of product design and building teams.
What results from what’s happening?
I believe this is among the most important questions to consider as an investor, founder, builder, or leader. After all, ideas require not just great execution to happen, but also great timing and relevance. This monthly analysis (for the writer and the reader) is designed to sharpen our intuition, synthesize what’s happening, and socialize the edges that may someday become the center.
“Implications” is an analysis I work on daily and send monthly that explores the spectrum of what to expect from the latest advances in tech, shifts in culture, and evolution in the art and science of product design and building teams. My goal every 3-4 weeks is to outfit you with a discrete set of “forecasts” and a number of surprising and potentially important “implications” of each forecast. Some forecasts will carry over, but the implications will always be different, updated based on the analysis. Each edition should enlighten you on implications for things that matter - across technology, culture, product design, and operating modern teams. After all, it is the implications of these things (not the things themselves) that change our life, work, and world. Each edition’s insights will be sourced from research, a network of thought partners, private dinners with industry leaders, and a network of builders and thinkers I’ve developed over the years. But frankly, this is also a creative outlet for me. From past books and years of sharing annual, more general themed forecasts for the future, I love going down rabbit holes, connecting dots, discussing relevant start-ups I am seeing, and surfacing insights with broader and often counterintuitive relevance. So, your subscription is my accountability.
Why a Newsletter?
Well, I don’t think the world needs more newsletters (and i’d rather call this a “monthly analysis”), but I firmly believe that corporate executives, product leaders, investors, and founders spend too little time considering the implications of the big things happening around them. The exercise of doing so develops your judgment and accelerates the socialization of what’s next. As the Mandalorians would say, “this is the way.” I send this newsletter to all of the founders I work with as an advisor/investor, some colleagues I work with, as well as a small group of people that take the initiative to subscribe.
This newsletter WILL be about:
forecasts for the future.
exploring the spectrum of implications of recent advances in tech, shifts in culture, and both the art and science of product design and building teams.
new start-ups and efforts that leverage and address the implications.
This newsletter WON’T be about:
the news, or a laundry list of announcements and cool internet discoveries.
interviews with industry leaders.
quick summaries of trendy topics
summaries of books i read, deep thoughts by jack handy, etc.
Why a subscription?
The monthly email of forecasts and implications is free and widely available for sign-up (and an annual summary is typically covered by other press publications and shared more broadly). It has tens of thousands of readers and generates quite a bit of discussion and feedback. However, there is a private section at the end of each edition intended for founders I work with and (as a paid tier) a smaller private opt-in audience (so I can take a bit more risk, and know who my audience is, and hopefully escape search indexing and AI training bots). As a subscriber, you’ll get the monthly list of forecasts, implications, as well as access to this bonus section covering provocative data (and its implications, start-ups I am seeing, and additional raw observations that I think are relevant. Paid subscriptions will help cover the cost of an editor (and provide a full-fledged experience participating in the creator economy). The majority of all subscription proceeds are donated annually to the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, where I sit on the board, and other non-profits I support.
About The Writer
You can find my formal bio at scottbelsky.com. I’ve spanned the gamut as a founder/ceo, product designer, author, executive and chief product officer, chief strategy officer and design/emerging product leader, and advisor and early-stage investor to some world-changing startups. The common thread across these experiences and my personal life is a love for design, ideas born from frustration, a passion for refining ideas, and an obsession with both product experiences and execution. These experiences have yielded a lot of juxtaposition, a network of thought partners, and a lot of lessons learned the hard way…all of which you can expect to impact this “Implications” project:
Entrepreneur: Founded Behance, the world’s leading platform for creative work with a community of 50M+ creative professionals showing their work, collaborating, and getting jobs - bootstrapped from 2006 until early 2011, then venture backed until Adobe acquired Behance in Dec, 2012. Over this time period, we also launched brands such as the 99U Conference that ran for a decade, and ActionMethod - an online resource and line of organizational products designed to help people take action and make ideas happen.
Product Leader: Upon Behance’s acquisition in 2012, I led Mobile, Creative Cloud Services, and Behance. I became Chief Product Officer & Executive Vice President of the company in Dec 2016, and then Chief Strategy Officer and EVP of Design & Emerging Products five years later. What a whirlwind. From late 2018 through early 2023 I led all of product, design, and engineering for Adobe’s creative business, which has been an incredible opportunity to start evolving our flagships and extend products like Photoshop and Illustrator to the iPad and web (which required modernization of teams, practices, and platforms), make critical acquisitions and pioneer strategy for new mediums like 3D & Immersive and AI-powered features and tools, as well as build entirely new products like Adobe Express that advance our mission of “creativity for all.” Leading a team that manages dozens of products across all creative segments, as well as massive marketplaces like Adobe Stock, and fast growing businesses like 3D presented all sorts of challenges, and I couldn’t be more proud of what the team has built to date and where the flag is now planted. The journey from entrepreneur to executive (with a brief stint as a General Partner at Benchmark in between, learned quickly that traditional VC was not for me…) has been an education in leading change, shifting strategy and culture, the benefits and costs of innovation within large companies.
Early Stage Investor: Being an entrepreneur with an exit over ten years ago offered the opportunity/privilege to be an early advisor and often first seed investor in some remarkable companies (and wild journeys). These companies include Pinterest, Uber, Warby Parker, Airtable, Flexport, Whoop, sweetgreen (also a former board member), and a more recent crop that includes Alma, Circle, Good Inside, Meter, NexHealth, Notion, OpenSea, Ramp, and several others in the early stages (a larger list is on my website). From those I was more involved with, I have witnessed playbooks work until they became outdated, cultures rise and fall (and reboot), 1am deliberations and debates about fateful decisions, the crafting of high-performing teams, and have helped review products at all stages of a company’s life cycle. I have always viewed these engagements as an education more than hopes of a return.
Author: I wrote two national bestselling books, ten years apart, that began as side projects and became passionate efforts - each for a different reason: Making Ideas Happen was born from my frustration with the rampant disorganization in the creative world and my fascination with exceptions - the small number of creative people and teams that were extraordinarily productive and what we can learn from them. The Messy Middle was also born from frustration. I felt the world was too obsessed with the starts and finishes of new products and bold ventures, and failed to understand the endurance and endless optimization required to survive “the middle” of making of these marvels. These two projects helped develop my love for writing and merchandising ideas and knowledge in new ways.
Family: Most importantly, I thoroughly enjoy the microcosm of leadership, development (of people, not products) and strategy as a partner and parent. Watching three kids figure out their world, discover and appreciate the many things we adults take for granted, and navigate modern culture and technology has been fascinating. The topic of parenting has become a meta one for us in recent years as my wife became co-founder/coo of Good Inside, a parenting platform she started with her friend “Dr. Becky” from graduate school. Good Inside leverages a novel framework for parenting that Becky developed as a psychologist and started sharing on Instagram. I am proud to also serve as their product advisor. Today, the company consists of a subscription-based community for parents, top podcast, popular parenting book under the same name, and an incredible reach to millions of parents.
You’re welcome to sign up for free and join the Implications community. Expect quality and provocation over frequency and trendiness. We don’t cover news, we explore the implications of what’s happening. My goal is to ignite discussion, socialize edges that may someday become the center, and help all of us connect dots. Every new edition of the newsletter goes directly to your inbox…. ;-)