Why do I need a supporting system? and how to build one?

Karen Hsieh
6 min readMar 17, 2022

Yes. I am independent. 💪 No. I’m not alone. 🥰

Everyone lives together. We depend on others to live mostly. We are human.

Supporting systems are people around me. I may not know every one of them, but I count on them.

Living with supporting systems makes me happier. Living with knowing everyone is here to help me makes me more comfortable.

This is the most important thing I realized this year. It’s incredible to have people support me.

I should devote myself to work, family, everything. I should present the best, find out answers, resolve the issues, etc., all by myself.

This mindset makes me feel lonely and sad. 😢

I was the only PM in my previous job. I did want to compare notes with others. Where were the others? 🥺 I started to participate in online and physical webinars. Though I was there, even I may ask questions, I usually was the first few people left at the end.

🤷‍♀️ I didn’t know how to know people at webinars. Exchanging business cards? What should I say after exchanging?

I enrolled Continuous Discovery master course in 2020. We were PMs from the world. Each one was the fan who read Teresa Torres’s blog for years, if not months. We naturally had lots of resonated experiences and thoughts. I have stayed in the slack community since then. See lots of factual issues raised, questions asked, and ALL❣️ of these, including mine, are answered by other PMs or coaches.

I had asked a burning issue to a Sr. engineer who just connected me via LinkedIn. He spends 30 mins to fully understanding my context and providing suggestions — same experience in dbt, Locally Optimistic communities.

My learnings come from these great experiences. They all happened naturally. People are kind to help others.

👫 Building Your Analytics Brain Trust — Locally Optimistic Great article about how we rely on others.

I feel beloved. 🥰

I know I’m supported. 100%.

Photo by Duy Pham on Unsplash

Prevent burnout

I know I’m taken care of by the system. I know how to ask for help.

I feel safe.

It’s like a safety net that will catch me.

👼 Check My Experience with Burnout as a StartFounder from Buffer’s founder to prevent burnout.
And check how she has a double life, Engineer by Day, Venture Capitalist by Night | By Casey Caruso

Collaboration makes me grow.

I find my learning happens mostly during chatting 🗣 and writing ✍️. When I talk to others, chatting, and speak to myself, writing, I organize, rethink, discover new things, and connect thoughts.

What is a supporting system?

👫 People around you.

I have mentors, friends, communities that can support me from different perspectives. I also support them. I’m part of the system.

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

Things or places 🤗 I know that can recharge me.

Coffee made by a friend

How to build a supporting system?

I have the support in products. I want more. I want more support in other domains.

When I took care of my kids, I knew I could not do this 24 hours alone. I assigned tasks to my husband; I arranged visits to the grandparents’ homes, took them to parks so I could have my time while they played with other kids, etc.

It’s the same in other parts of my life.

Take data as an example.

It started from resolving my problem. (See the whole story, Self-service product analytics) I wanted to learn more about data. I didn’t have a plan.

  • Just read the blogs or guides from the tools I used.
  • From there, google the glossary I didn’t recognize.
  • Have questions. Google the questions.
  • Find more blogs or discussions to read.
  • Check the authors of the blogs. Read more articles they wrote.
  • Join the forums to search for answers to my questions.
  • Ask questions. Get involved. Join the discussions.
  • Write something, thoughts, questions, comments, etc.
  • Try to answer others’ questions.

I naturally meet people who have the same questions. Some reach out to me, or I reach out to them. Some become my friends.

👋 If you are interested in data as well, the dbt community is a great one. Meet me at #local-taiwan. 🇹🇼

Take workout as another example

90% of women consider they are not thin enough. (Most time, I’m the 10%, but sometimes I’m the 90%. OK, the opposite.)

What do I do?

  • Ask friends how to lose weight.
  • Watch videos, read articles, follow fitness KOL.
  • Try things, e.g., 168, stay hungry, and then fail (🪀 Yo-yo effect)
  • Try workout, run
  • Get coaches, join courses, join communities
  • Discuss with other coachees

I naturally know some communities or people who encourage me, teach me, answer my questions.

Most people already know how to do

Most people have done these before.

  1. Which aspects do I need for help?
  2. What help do I need? Say my questions clearly.
  3. In that aspect, help others.

Which aspects do I need for help?

A lot. haha~ 😳

on Heptabase

These are what I need help with so far. It keeps growing, non-stop. View the details here.

If that’s something I’m interested in, I will “SEE,” so magically 🧚‍♀️, the articles, podcasts, discussions. I will search, explore and then find out more.

What help do I need? Say my questions clearly.

I learn from others. So many samples. How do others ask questions?

In the beginning, when I posted my questions, people were kind to help. The first thing they asked was, “Can you provide more context?” OR they provided their experiences and then said: “Hope this could help.”

I found myself doing the same thing when I tried to answer some questions that resonated with me.

👩‍💻 Check this very detailed guide: How to ask questions the smart way

In that aspect, help others.

I request #local-taiwan in dbt slack. Arrange the first meetup because a member asked for help, and 3 other members responded to help promptly.

During this process, I learned a lot.

  • How to start a community? How to set the goal for the community?
  • How to do a meetup? How to promote the content?
  • How to initiate discussions?

There is a lot to learn. We only have 1 meetup.

Helping others is actually helping me. 🙇‍♀️

e.g., I write this article to reinforce my mindset and consolidate why and how I build the system.

I’m part of the supporting system.

It feels good to be part of the supporting system.💪

🤩 I’m happy to hear from you. Feel free to reach out to me on LinkedIn Karen Hsieh or Twitter @ijac_wei.

🙋🙋‍♀️ Welcome to Ask Me Anything.



Karen Hsieh

Product Manager driving growth and team empowerment with a user-centric and data-informed approach, aiming to pave the way for profitability.