After finding an issue related to an analytics product, I wrote an email to their support team asking for help. I described the observed issue, gave context, and speculated a cause. I hit send and went on with my da—wait, I just thought of another possible factor, and I should tell them. Send again.

Hold on… This could all be traced to this one thing; I should point them to it. Send.

Oh, let me see the revision history of that thing…

Ah, this must be it. Let’s try a fix…

Yes, that was it. I should tell them it’s resolved, and describe the fix in case they see this again. Send.

Example of thinking "out loud"

Maybe I could’ve figured it out without bugging the support team, but maybe not. Each time I transcribed my observations and thought process for them, it sparked another idea, and another, and finally it brought me to the solution.

Thinking out loud helps us see problems clearly. When there’s nobody nearby to talk to, find someone to write to.[1]

If you’re on the receiving end of someone asking for help, don’t rush to respond; they might just find the answer if you let them think after the send.[2]

[1] Or talk to a rubber duck.

[2] Thanks to the Segment support team for their patience.

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