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Sharing My Take Asynchronously

12 March 2023

Having distributed multi-cultural teams brings a lot of advantages, but it can make debating and sharing one’s opinion efficiently challenging. You might have already felt the pain of joining a Slack channel with a few days worth of exchanges between a many people and then tried to figure out everyone’s point of view as well as struggling to know how to add your own opinion to the exchange.

You can of course call for a meeting, but you often end up with scheduling problems, especially with time zone differences… and do you really need another meeting?

“Marc’s Take on X” Documents

To address this, a few years ago I started creating documents called “Marc’s take on [topic] + [date]”.

I call them like that because I want to be explicit that this is my opinion at a given point in time. I’m not writing specs, documentation or anything like this, it’s just me sharing my thoughts on a particular topic and how I think we should tackle it. I can be right, and of course I hope I am, but if I’m not I want my approach to be easily challengeable and corrected in order for everyone to get to the right decision together.

All these documents also start with a short disclaimer reminding readers the purpose of the document to really hammer the point home.

Once the doc is setup, I write my take as clearly as possible, ideally in less than a page with a tl;dr at the beginning. This exercise in itself is very valuable because it forces me to find compeling arguments, look up data I might have missed and generally make everything sharper and clearer than it would have been if I just showed up unprepared.

Sharing the document

Once I’ve done my best writing the document, I share it out progressively to people involved in the discussion.

This approach allows me to clarify the document without getting many people asking the same question at the same time which would be a waste of time for everyone. Using Google Doc for this is really helpful as people can leave comments on specific lines to ask questions or challenge a given point. I

Usually after 2-3 readers there is a decent chance that I just scrap everything because someone convinced me that my approach wasn’t the best.

If this doesn’t happen, I’ll just make the document public and share it with everyone involved in the discussion. This way, when we’re talking later on I can easily refer to my points. If done right, the document also helps highlight misunderstandings with other people.


Short term, I find it valuable because:

  • The document itself tend to furthers the discussion, makes my stance explicit and often helps to pre-wire meetings. If someone wants to challenge a particular point, it’s easy. If someone else wants to broadcast that they agree with me, they just can share the document and say +1 !
  • Even if some people won’t read the document, I took the time to refine my stance, which will make me more efficient when discussing the topic in meetings, on Slack or at the coffee machine.

Long term, having these documents is also helpful as I can refer back to them if the topic comes up again and easily remember why I made the decision I made. There are of course cases where my point of view changed over time, but this is why I always add the date in the title of the document… and it’s usually interesting to see what changed since last time that triggered a change.


Of course this is not the only way I share my opinions, and I would advise against going with this approach every signle time. This is just one tool amongst many that I’ll use when I see a debate go on for too long, or when too many people are involved in a decision.

If this seems interesting to you, it’s really easy to try. Next time you see a debate going on for a bit too long, create a quick document and see how it goes!

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