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The Most Valuable Thing They Teach at Harvard Business School

It all comes down to one word: empathy. At Harvard Business School, renowned professor Clay Christensen helps his students see that the role of a business is to solve someone’s problem -– and therefore, by their very nature, all businesses are an exercise in empathy. James Allworth, a fellow at Harvard Business School’s Forum for [Keep Reading…]

The Purpose of a Business is to Create a Customer

A customer is defined as a person who pays a business for goods and services. If a person does not pay, they are not a customer. The nebulous term of “user” is assigned when a person is accessing goods and services without directly paying for them. Call them a visitor, a prospect, a constituent, whatever you want. Until they pay you, they’re no customer of yours — and you have not fulfilled upon your purpose as a business.

Why Guess? A Familiar Screenplay

CUT TO: INT. SCREEN SHARING MEETING – DAY A client shows their consultant the progress they’ve made on a redesign. They want the consultant’s feedback before it’s too late. CLIENT Currently the user does A, then B, then C. Now the user will be able to do C, then A, then B. We don’t think [Keep Reading…]

UX and The Lawsuit

So you may have heard that Apple and Samsung are suing each other. I hate when mommy and daddy fight. In general, this lawsuit really irks me. Patents are outdated, both sides are being petty bullies, and customers are the ones who are going to suffer. I was wishing it would all just go away [Keep Reading…]

You Are What You Ink

I just turned down a lucrative contract because in my heart I’m ethically opposed to the company’s corporate owners. When I was first contacted by their director of engineering, I had a negative gut feeling that it just “wasn’t me,” but I put off the concern in an effort to challenge my assumptions. I wanted [Keep Reading…]

Knowing Why Beats Knowing How

Last year around this time, I started following an eating plan called The 4-Hour Body by Tim Ferriss. At the same time, I was feverishly traveling the globe presenting my talk Design Principles: The Philosophy of UX. Midway through the book, Tim begins a chapter with a quotation from Ralph Waldo Emerson that draws a [Keep Reading…]

User Research War Stories: “Taking empathy to a whole new level”

My friend Steve Portigal, an esteemed customer research consultant in the Bay Area, has a series on his blog titled “War Stories” — anecdotes from ethnographic researchers about the craziest things that have happened to them in the field. One entry from Priya Sohoni is particularly striking. Titled “Taking empathy to a whole new level,” [Keep Reading…]