games review

The Lost Expedition: Session Report and Review

The Lost Expedition

A game by Peer Sylvester

Osprey Games

BGG listing.

Note: The most cursory of historical research went into the writing of this fictionalized session report on the card game The Lost Expedition.

My dearest Slimane,

I cannot conceive of a place so different from Geneva and my beloved Algiers than the province of Mato Grosso. But I speak neither of the tropical weather nor the lush environs of the city of Cuiabá; I refer here chiefly to the commotion that my fellow explorers, Messrs. Roosevelt and Chapman Andrews, have precipitated as we prepare for our expedition through the Amazon interior. We are but three souls, and yet between the two of them they have created a hullabaloo of unloading and transporting materiel to rival arrangements for war. Even the press has followed us from Manhattan–from one riverine city to another–and so perspiring journalists, pen and paper clutched in fingers swollen from the heat, skulk about the teeming docks.

Nonetheless, the papers consistently omit one important detail about our expedition. For we are encircled and enclosed and en-fussed over by an entire cavalry’s worth of assistants—Roosevelt’s standard retinue, it would seem—porters, carriers, raft men,  guides, and the indefensible luxury of two mess cooks. Why, I crossed the Saharan desert with naught but a sulking dromedary and a waterskin!

Men. I shake my head in disbelief.


Over There

So as part of an experiment–not that I have a formal hypothesis or anything, though I should have, but I just wanted to see what it was like–I started posting my blog entries on product management and customer engagement on Medium. I’m many years late to the party, but I figured there were a good bunch of product managers who write excellent stuff on it, and maybe I could play along.

Writing posts on Medium actually goes against an old rule of mine. Different blog entries that sit in different walled gardens ultimately makes me hard to find or stumble upon. All my blog pieces live, and has lived, in the one place where I more or less have total control: this very website. Everything I post here is, well, who I am, and that includes writing that’s related to my professional career. It’s the sort of thing I promote on LinkedIn, as opposed to say, Facebook.

But discoverability is certainly key. It’s a lot easier to be found on Medium, because there are other like-minded people over there, and I’m a terrible promoter of my own work.

So, I’m over there too. I would have loved to tell you that I MADE $8K IN MY FIRST MONTH AS A “CONTENT” WRITER WRITING JUST 8 MINUTES A DAY–and there are suspiciously numerous Medium articles with that kind of title, I have to say–that is absolutely not the case. I did buy myself a beer, which is still the most I’ve ever earned from writing anything in the last decade or so.

So here’s what I have over there (some of these articles also have abbreviated versions on this blog):

books games music

Random Notes, 2/21/21

I’m almost a decade late to the party—which means I’ll probably be signing up for a Substack newsletter in 2029—but as an experiment I’m posting my product management pieces on Medium. I write about product management and strategy from my background as a project-turned-product manager who writes fiction and has a doctorate in anthropology. Feel free to follow me there, subscribe for notifications, all that stuff.

Further below, recommendations for reading and watching, plus thoughts on maids, the gig economy, board games, deep work, and FOMO, though not all at the same time.

product management

Seven Reasons Why Stories are Ideal Frameworks for Product Management

Storytelling is at the heart of product management. Whether referring to assembling the nuts and bolts of product delivery, crafting a product strategy, or selling a product vision, stories are key to both successful product development and customer engagement as a whole. I’d even argue that stories—and no, I’m not just talking about user stories—are also integral to the execution of projects. A story—that simplest of frameworks—serves as a musical counterpoint, if you will, to the formal project management phases.

Consider below some general reasons for using stories (and prepare yourselves for some unapologetically mixed metaphors). In a later blog entry I’ll focus on storytelling and specific applications to product management—but I’ll set the stage first before the curtain rises.

product management

How I Came to Storytelling and Product Management, or, a Short Origin Story

So this radioactive spider accidentally got loose in a lab and—ahh, who am I kidding. But my interests in the intersection of storytelling and product management do have an origin story of sorts.

Most people keep the different spheres of their life completely separate: there’s the day job, and there’s the stuff they do for fun. By day I’m a senior product manager, working with development teams to build software applications for internal customers at the Federal Reserve.

At night—or on weekends, or early in the morning, or on the bus back when I used to commute to work—I write. That’s my other “job.” I write blog posts like the one you’re reading now, but what floats my boat the most is my creative writing. I’ve written and published a handful of short fiction, a couple of personal essays, and I’ve also left the husks of many short stories, a novella, and a full-blown novel in a metaphorical desk drawer. (I am, however, still working on a crime novel. I haven’t given up on that one yet.)

And for a long time, there was no connection between these two aspects of my life.