Dollars to Donuts
Apr 04, 2020 1 hr 6 min
30. Laith Ulaby of Udemy
In this episode of Dollars to Donuts I speak with Laith Ullaby, the Head of Research at Udemy. I’m really into the idea of questioning what we do. That can be the methods and that conversation about getting out of our comfort zone. It can be thinking about our relationships with stakeholders and trying to reimagine and iterate on those. And it can be thinking about the historical trajectory of the field and the legacies that that has imbued us with. And I think that being ready to iterate and question the assumptions that a lot of those things are built on, is the thing that I’d really want folks to come away with. – Laith Ullaby Show Links Laith on LinkedIn Udemy UC Berkeley School of Information See One, Do One, Teach One Acquisition of Fjord Partners At Teehan+Lax Join Facebook Facebook Acq-Hires Part Of Design Firm Bolt | Peters Adaptive Path Acquired By Capital One Edward Tufte Understanding Your Users by Kathy Baxter, Catherine Courage, and Kelly Caine Insights Association Code of Standards and Ethics Advancing Research conference Advancing Research community Research Skills Framework Follow Dollars to Donuts on Twitter and help other people find the podcast by leaving a review on Apple Podcasts. Transcript Steve Portigal: Welcome to Dollars to Donuts, the podcast where I talk with the people who lead user research in their organization. I had a profound moment this week. I was facilitating a meeting, not a user research setting at all. But we were having a fairly open-ended conversation. One of the people in the meeting shared some very specific advice for the rest of us, offering almost an impromptu speech or pep talk, filled with passion and encouragement. It was very inspiring. But as the facilitator, perhaps because of my work as a user researcher, I wondered if maybe that wasn’t enough. This person articulated their richly-realized state of being, and it may be easy for anyone else to dismiss it, oh, that’s just so-and-so, they’re just like that. But, we’re not born with insight about ourselves, or clarity about a new way of being, so I was curious – and I thought it would be helpful – to understand more about how this person accomplished this. How did they get here? And even though I wasn’t asking followups in this session, it seemed like an opportunity to shift my role slightly. And so I asked “How did you get to this stage, where you have this clarity in your approach?” This person paused, and said, “Well, if you really want to know” and then proceeded to share very perso...
Mar 29, 2020 1 hr 5 min
29. Kathryn Campbell of Ticketmaster
In this episode of Dollars to Donuts I speak with Kathryn Campbell, the Director of Research & Insights at Ticketmaster. Whenever there is availability of somebody that might normally work on the marketplace side, they might tag team on an account manager project and that helps to inform them about that product. It gives them a little bit more purview. It facilitates internal sharing of learnings because we are a very large, complex organization. So that flexibility is both more satisfying to the researchers, but also benefits the product teams in the long run. – Kathryn Campbell Show Links MoveOn Kathryn on LinkedIn Kathryn on Twitter Ticketmaster Live Nation Amy Howe, President and COO at Ticketmaster Kathryn Frederick, CMO at Ticketmaster Customer Insights Center of Excellence Ogilvy (formerly Ogilvy & Mather) Jakob Nielsen: Why You Only Need to Test with 5 Users Dustin Guinee, Lead User Experience Researcher at Ticketmaster Hilary Bienstock, Cal State University, Fullerton Brent Jefferson Lowe, Senior Manager, UX Research at Ticketmaster Follow Dollars to Donuts on Twitter and help other people find the podcast by leaving a review on Apple Podcasts. Transcript Steve Portigal: Welcome to Dollars to Donuts, the podcast where I talk with the people who lead user research in their organization. Over the past few years I’ve been volunteering with MoveOn a progressive organization. My contribution is to be part of their texting team, where they identify an issue or a cause and a group of us volunteers send text message about that topic to their membership. Last week I was part of a campaign raise awareness of best practices for protection against coronavirus. We don’t send text messages from our phones, it’s through a browser interface. A texter sees a pre-addressed, and pre-written message which they send, one at a time, usually thousands in total. When people respond, the volunteer can classify that response, which will produce a relevant response that we might customize to ensure it makes the most sense. MoveOn collects responses and future campaigns (say, for someone to call their representative about an issue, or to get out of the vote) a built based on what they learn from looking at their data. In this recent experience, we were asking people if they were practicing social distancing and sharing al link with resources and information. The responses that they were expecting were essentially, “yes I am”, “no I can’t (or don’t think I need to)”, “I need medical help” and “thank you.” The first day I participated, I heard from a number of people who were medical professionals. Now even though we are working on a dashboard with pulldowns menus, people are entering text on their phones, and have no idea what our interface is. They wouldn’t necessarily share their responses according to ...
Mar 27, 2020 1 hr 5 min
28. Laura Faulkner of Rackspace
In this episode of Dollars to Donuts I speak with Laura Faulkner, the Head of Research at Rackspace. I’ve never just sat and done just what I was asked to do. I’m always looking for something new, something else. It’s probably just part of how I’m built but it’s also a conscious choice of, of just doing my my current job is simply not enough for me and even just that extra 10 minutes of curiosity or desire to see something else or learn something new while still doing my job and delivering on that, it’s just opened so many doors helped me step into a lot of opportunities and learn new things. – Laura Faulkner Show Links Public Speaking Laura on LinkedIn Laura on Twitter Rackspace Blink by Malcolm Gladwell Applied Research Laboratories Follow Dollars to Donuts on Twitter and help other people find the podcast by leaving a review on Apple Podcasts. Transcript Steve Portigal: Welcome to Dollars to Donuts, the podcast where I talk with the people who lead user research in their organization. I just watched Martin Scorcese’s 2010 documentary “Public Speaking” a profile of author Fran Leibowitz. I honestly didn’t know very much about her, but she’s a smart and acerbic social critic, whose persona, and perhaps her life is built around her strong opinions and her skill in expressing those opinions. She repatedly emphasized in the film how there are too many books, and thus too many poorly written books; she’s pretty critical of the ability of most people to have an interesting story to share and to have the ability to communicate it in a valuable and valid way. While her career is indeed public speaking in one form or another, for the rest of society, she advises public listening. But really this is because she wants to be listened to, she doesn’t necessarily want to listen, she wants to talk. This is in no way meant to be an indictment of her – she very clearly exists in a world of her own making. While the mode of the times, and indeed given the work that many of us do, emphasizes the importance of everyone’s stores, and we put real effort into inviting people in and giving them space. I mean, this approach, this mindset is at the core of user research! But I found it remarkably refreshing to hear a different point of view. It reminds me of an experience I had in the field last year interviewing a head neurologist, someone who was very successful, who had written multiple books and taught surgery around the world. Before this project, I was kind of warned to expect a lot of ego from surgeons especially, and I guess in some ways this particular interview subject was the platonic ideal of that. He would not sit through my carefully scripted concept presentation. He interrupted. He pointed out his bookshelf of published books, he told us about his children attending an Ivy League school. He gave examples of where he’d been influential, how many times he’d taught, how much money he had saved the hospital with his process innovations. I had to adapt my approach for him so that we could get through the session. After we left, my colleague, who worked my frequently in this domain half apologized and half-checked-in with me to see if I was okay or not, given how quote awful and difficult the interview had been. But I didn’t have that feeling at all. The interview was amazing! We learned so much from him! He was incredibly accomplished,
Jan 07, 2020 1 hr 7 min
27. Colin MacArthur of the Canadian Digital Service
In this episode of Dollars to Donuts I chat with Colin MacArthur, the Head of Design Research at the Canadian Digital Service. We talk about bureaucracy hacking, spreading the gospel of research throughout government, and embedding researchers in complex domains. Often the idiosyncrasies in people’s research and the sort of surprises that don’t fit within the template are the most important things that our researchers find. – Colin MacArthur Show Links It Choose You Miranda July The Future PennySaver Advancing Research conference Colin on LinkedIn Colin on Twitter Canadian Digital Service Treasury Board of Canada Scott Brison, Canada’s First Minister of Digital Government Public opinion research Snowball sampling Randomized controlled trial Stand-up meeting Homepage Usability by Jakob Nielsen and Marie Tahir U.S. National Park Service Wizard of Oz ResearchOps Follow Dollars to Donuts on Twitter and help other people find the podcast by leaving a review on Apple Podcasts. Transcript Steve Portigal: Welcome to Dollars to Donuts, the podcast where I talk with the people who lead user research in their organization. I just read the 2011 book “It Chooses You” by filmmaker and artist Miranda July. It’s one of the best books about ethnographic research that isn’t really actually about ethnographic research. In the book she describes a period of her life where she was creatively stalled in finishing the screenplay for her film “The Future.” As a way to either get unblocked or just avoid what she should be working on, she develops another project, to call people who have placed ads in the free classified newspaper the PennySaver, and arrange to come to their homes and interview them. She reports on each of the interviews, including excerpts of the transcripts, and some amazing photographs. The interviews are sort of about the thing being sold, but because she’s getting outside of her cultural bubble, she takes a wider view, asking people about a period in their life when they were happy and whether or not they used a computer (since even in 2011 a newspaper with classified ads was a relic of a previous era). These interviews are confounding, hilarious, disturbing, touching – everything you’d hope. And July is honest about what makes her uncomfortable, about her own failures to properly exhibit empa...
Sep 05, 2019 1 hr 2 min
26. Jesse Zolna of ADP
In this episode of Dollars to Donuts I talk to Jesse Zolna, who leads the User Experience Research Team at ADP’s Innovation Lab. We talk about driving change as an experiment, exposing the organization to how customers solve problems, and engineering psychology. One of the challenges we face is getting “credit” for the work that we’ve done. A lot of what we do is help people understand the problem space better and understand these things that their users aren’t able to do, or want to do, or whatever. And oftentimes it’s not going to be brand new. Rarely do you come up with something that nobody’s ever thought of before. A lot of times we help solidify or better articulate those problems, which then you can attack much better. – Jesse Zolna Show Links Northern Soul The Day Mick Jagger and Keith Richards Met Again ‘Friends’ Will Be There For You At Beijing’s Central Perk Lowrider Culture Spreads to Brazil and Beyond Russian Doll Ronald does the wai McDonald’s to Offer International Menu Items Including (Yes!) the Stroopwafel McFlurry Jesse on LinkedIn Jesse on Twitter ADP ADP’s Innovation Lab Drives New Ideas And Cultural Change Within The Company Barnes & Noble Nook Stephen Gates on Design Thinking 5 Whys Tufts Department of Psychology Adlerian psychotherapy Georgia Tech Engineering Psychology Airtable OKR DJ Anne Frankenstein Follow Dollars to Donuts on Twitter and help other people find the podcast by leaving a review on Apple Podcasts. Transcript Steve Portigal: Welcome to Dollars to Donuts, the podcast where I talk with the people who lead user research in their organization. Northern Soul was a musical and cultural movement in the UK in the late sixties and early seventies. It was all about obscure soul music from America. The movement really was a scene, with clothing and dance styles, and clubs hosting dance parties, but let’s just focus on the music. For people in the UK in the 60s it wasn’t easy to get music from the US. In fact, this difficulty figures into the origin story of the Rolling Stones,
Aug 22, 2019 1 hr 0 min
25. Juliette Melton of The New York Times
In this episode of Dollars to Donuts I speak with Juliette Melton, Director of User Insight and Strategy at The New York Times. We talk about updating the old “design research” label, user research in a journalism culture, and the role of coaching. I think that researchers can bring a kind of brightness into a space and a kind of optimism for a team and a sense that we can learn these things together. It’s a bit intangible as a quality, but when we bring on new researchers that’s really something we look for. Like is this person someone who is excited about making connections across an organization? Excited to share what we’re doing? There’s something about bringing energy into research which I think is really important. – Juliette Melton Show Links
Jul 25, 2019 1 hr 5 min
24. Ashley Graham of IBM
This episode of Dollars to Donuts features my conversation with Ashley Graham, a design research leader at IBM. We discuss synthesis as a collaborative, co-located activity, being mission-driven, and building a process that addresses complexity. When I look at the wonderful research community, I don’t see a ton of people that look like me and so even by talking to you today I have a hope that we’re growing and that we’ll continue to see more diverse faces, diverse ways of thinking and diverse backgrounds represented in the field. – Ashley Graham Show Links All Those Books You’ve Bought but Haven’t Read? There’s a Word for That My Father’s Stack of Books Nextdoor Freecycle The Year’s Best Science Fiction The Best American series Goodreads Steve on Goodreads Ashley on LinkedIn Ashley on Twitter IBM Design Phil Gilbert Ginni Rometty Sarah Brooks Transdisciplinary Design Howard University – Architecture General Assembly Follow Dollars to Donuts on Twitter and help other people find the podcast by leaving a review on Apple Podcasts. Transcript Steve Portigal: Hi, and here we are with another episode of Dollars to Donuts, the podcast where I talk to the people who are leading user research in their organization. In 2018, Kevin Mims wrote in the New York Times about the Japanese word tsundoku – a stack of unread books. In a New Yorker article entitled My Father’s Stack of Books, Kathryn Schulz reflects on what her family referred to as The Stack, the books that accumulated in her parent’s bedroom, especially on her father’s side of the bed. These weren’t just books to be read, but also books that were recently read that should be kept near at hand. She estimated that The Stack contained 3-400 books. For me, I switched a few years ago to getting rid of most books, passing them onto someone who might like them, or giving them away in the community via Nextdoor or Freecycle. I felt like hanging onto every book was becoming increasingly unmanageable, and in some ways was creating a barrier to acquiring – and thus reading new books. My tsundoku serves as a last-in-first-out queue, but for me unread books go in the bedroom and books that you want to keep should be displayed on bookshelves. I was a voracious reader of books as a kid, and at this point in my life, it’s something I need to make a deliberate effort towards. I read on the Internet all day; I read several magazines regularly. I read a print newspaper every dat. Plus I’m trying to watch a ridiculous number of television shows and movies on all the platforms. And oh yeah, podcasts, right? As a kid,
Jul 14, 2019 54 min
23. Michele Marut of CBRE Build
In this episode of Dollars to Donuts I speak with Michele Marut who leads user experience research at CBRE Build. We discuss the curation of research repositories, using research to go beyond fixing things, and building processes and tools that can be used by researchers and people who do research. The philosophy is that the trained researchers should be taking on the most critical, the most risky projects. That’s where they can add the most value. Are they going to lose a lot of money? Is this a totally new workflow? Is this really new to the world? So, really focus trained researchers in that area. – Michele Marut Show Links Medical Storytelling at the VA Bridges Gap Between Patients And Caregivers My Life, My Story: Advancing the Veteran Experience Michele on LinkedIn Michele on Twitter CBRE CBRE Build WTF is Proptech? Zillow Airtable Clubhouse Tomer Sharon on Dollars to Donuts Democratizing UX (and Polaris) WeWork Optimal Sort M.S. in Human Environment Relations, Cornell Kohler Company Consumer Products Safety Commission OXO Good Grips MVP (Minimum Viable Product) UXPA (User Experience Professionals Association) IxDA (Interaction Design Association) Follow Dollars to Donuts on Twitter and help other people find the podcast by leaving a review on Apple Podcasts. Transcript Steve Portigal: Thanks for joining me on Dollars to Donuts, the podcast where I talk with people who lead user research in their organization. As a consultant, I find myself collaborating with very different types of organizations in terms of the amount of experience they have in doing user research, or learning from user research, or acting on what we learn from doing user research. There might be strong leadership in user experience design, or product design, or service design…or that might be a completely foreign concept. That’s a significant challenge in my work as a consultant, ensuring that I’m in a position to assess and respond to that diversity. It’s also something I really enjoy, and I see working on this podcast as part of that journey, something that I’m able to share with you. And so, the best way to support this podcast is to support my own consulting business. You can hire me to lead user research projects or to coach your own team as you talk to users.
Jun 27, 2019 57 min
22. Vicki Tollemache of Grubhub
In this episode of Dollars to Donuts I speak with Vicki Tollemache, the Director of UX Research at Grubhub. We discuss how to manage incoming research requests, running a weekly research session for testing designs, and why candidates should come into job interviews with a point of view about the company’s product. To me, researchers are educators. They’re there to translate and educate the organization that they work with about who their users are, what they’re experiencing, where their pain points are, what they care about, what their motivations are. There’s a number of ways you could communicate that and you can educate. Experience is probably one of the best, but due to time constraints, not everyone can come into the field with us and experience that. If you just rely on reports and communicating from the researchers there’s something that’s left out in the details. There’s a richness that’s not there that I think even researchers realize. – Vicki Tollemache Show Links Mind the Product Newton Minow’s “Vast Wasteland” Speech 500-channel universe Golden Age of Television Roku Roku Guide Vicki on LinkedIn Grubhub Seamless userinterviews.com Sam Hall John le Carré Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown Usability Sciences Ron Johnson and J.C. Penney Motley crew Mötley Crüe Chuck Klosterman – But What If We’re Wrong? Follow Dollars to Donuts on Twitter and help other people find the podcast by leaving a review on Apple Podcasts. Transcript Steve Portigal: Thanks for joining me on Dollars to Donuts, the podcast where I talk with people who lead user research in their organization. I’ve mentioned a public workshop happening in San Francisco; it looks like that has fallen through but I will be speaking at the Mind the Product Conference in San Francisco next month. I’m also doing in-house training workshops so let’s talk if that’s something your team might want to pursue. In my consulting practice I have the opportunity to work with different organizations with varying levels of investment in research, varying levels of maturity in their research and product practices, and so on. I started this podcast as an extension of that, as a way to highlight the emergent practice of user research leadership. So supporting me and my business is the best way for you to support this podcast. My consulting work informs the podcast. It also pays for this podcast. If you have thoughts about the Dollars to Donuts,
Jun 15, 2019 57 min
21. Ruth Ellison of Digital Transformation Agency
In this episode of Dollars to Donuts I speak with Ruth Ellison, Head of User Research at DTA, the Digital Transformation Agency in Australia. We discuss the challenges of user research – and digital product development – in government, embedding researchers into product teams but maintaining a guild model to connect them, and how research can impact policy. My role is really more of an enabling function, looking at how do we bring in the right people into the teams? When they’re here, how do we help mentor them? I’m connecting them to other researchers in our communities. Also trying to look at how we lift the conversation around research. Part of my role is about that strategic aspect of research. How do we do it better? How do we help enable the broad decision making of government? – Ruth Ellison Show Links Fundamentals of Interviewing Users (SF) Ruth on LinkedIn Ruth on Twitter Digital Transformation Agency DTO becomes DTA 18F GDS (Government Digital Service) Leisa Reichelt Leisa Reichelt on Dollars to Donuts (part 1) Leisa Reichelt on Dollars to Donuts (part 2) Canberra Medicare TEDxCanberra Science and Geek themed jewellery Follow Dollars to Donuts on Twitter and help other people find the podcast by leaving a review on Apple Podcasts. Transcript Steve Portigal: Greetings and thanks for checking out this episode of Dollars to Donuts, the podcast where I talk with people who lead user research in their organization. Coming up in San Francisco on September 13th, I’m teaching a public workshop – Fundamentals of Interviewing Users. I’ll put the link in the show notes. I bet you know someone in the San Francisco Bay Area who would get value out of this workshop and I would appreciate you recommending it. I also work with organizations directly to help them elevate their user research practices. Of course, supporting me and my business is the best way for you to support this podcast and help me make more episodes. If you have thoughts about the podcast, reach out to me at DONUTS AT PORTIGAL DOT COM or on Twitter at Dollars To Donuts, that’s d o l l R s T O D o n u t s. I went to a cafe in my neighborhood. I placed my order and then swiped my card in the payment terminal. They told me “We’ll call you when your order is ready” and I went and sat down. I heard a couple of orders get called, “double cappuccino, soy milk latte” etc. After a few minutes they called me: “Steve!” I was briefly taken aback. They never asked me for my name, how did they know that order was for me? I realized that my when I paid for my order by credit card, of course they got my name. But this seemed like a new customer service behavior. I was curious so I paid attention the next time I went to Starbucks. They asked me for my name. They do this before payment.