I am tired of hearing people talk about passion in product development/management, it’s often considered a positive attribute. I see it on almost everyone’s resume and hear it in every interview.

I want to offer that it’s not a good thing.

  1. it is limited
  2. it does more harm than good

My recommendation, stop saying you’re passionate about X and stop looking to hire people who are passionate.

Love > Passion

What does that mean? Well, we can all think of people or things we love and compare to those where we had/have passion. Take a moment here to do that, I’ll wait… [after you’re done thinking, please carry on and feel free to add your answers in the comments]

Love is enduring. Passion is fleeting. Love has commitment and perseverance. Thus, when you’re in the shit — and everyone in product is going to be in it at some point — love perseveres and passion flees. These are crucial moments that make or break products. More than anything, I want to create workspaces and work with people who love what they do, because perseverance is a key contributor to success.

Negative impacts

Let’s address how love is still a little bit better here. The person who loves their purpose and work will be far more willing to work through their bias and irrational thoughts.

With both love and passion, we need to be aware of the power of influence on others. Often, this will be in ways that don’t lead to better decisions. This works in a similar risks of the downsides of politics in software.

Intentionally or unintentionally we can use passion or love to fuel emotional arguments and rally people to our cause. As I’ve said, I want to work with people who love what they do — sometimes it’ll get emotional. It’s important to not let this be the dominant force in decision making. Decision making is another key to success. Our job requires us to inspire, but it can’t come at the cost of decision making.

Assuming you are aiming to truly serve a market, for the long-term, and not be evil, I recommend letting go of passion and doing it with love.

Coach. Leader. Manager. Passionate about helping people. Curious about problems, especially customer. Create environments for delivering software people love.

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