Ongoing research in large companies + 2,000 copies sold sale!
Ongoing research in large organizations: a detailed example
Ongoing research—interviewing users at a regular cadence with no specific project in mind—is something that I do myself and encourage others to do in Deploy Empathy.
Regularly scheduled interviews:
can help you add context and nuance to already-understood use cases
discover new use cases and motivations for using the product that you'd never encountered before, even if you've interviewed hundreds of your customers
keep motivation up (both within yourself and in your team)
Improve team communication because you're more on the same page about what you're building and why, and
are a valuable form of relationship-building with customers.
I included examples from Stripe in the book, and have had quite a few people ask me for more case studies on how to run ongoing research in a large organizations.
The other day, I was absolutely delighted to come across writeup on how NerdWallet, the financial advice website, has done ongoing research for the past two years. NerdWallet has about 400 employees and 160 million users as of 2020.
I came across the article via an old coworker who also worked on the same wonderful, research-driven product team where I first learned how to interview and who now works at NerdWallet.
After over two years of running and revising the program, we learned a great deal about how to successfully run rolling foundational research to build empathy.
Here are a few bits that stood out to me:
The goal of the program was first and foremost to help every employee, especially those involved in product development, build empathy for users
They identified segments to interview based on their data. (Qual + quant, YES!)
They increased the number of insights they were able to gather + use and increased non-researcher participation when they decreased the frequency of interviews from biweekly (fortnightly for my British English speakers) to monthly
They intentionally interviewed users from different core segments in the same session so observers would get a more well-rounded perspective
They prepared and debriefed observers with a pre-interview summary of known information about customer segments; during the interview, gave them structured note-taking templates; and afterwards, held a group debrief
They created an internal website to share notable research tidbits (such as video clips) and present those tidbits at company meetings on a regular basis to bring in people who did not have time to come to sessions
As word about the program spread, people from well beyond product development joined in
Kate Carey closes by saying, "Rolling interview programs, such as the one I managed at NerdWallet, are extremely valuable to the user-centered culture of any company."
🎉 Race to 2,000 copies sold sale!
Fun fact: the average publisher-published book sells 500 copies in its lifetime, and the average self-published book sells 250 copies lifetime. Recent data from a major publisher showed that half of their titles released in a given year sold less than 12 copies.
All of that makes it seem pretty darn incredible that Deploy Empathy has sold nearly 2,000 copies!
To celebrate that milestone, I'm running a sale on Amazon! If you've wanted to grab copies for your team, now is the time to do it.
The Kindle edition is $/€ 2.99 and the paperback edition is $/€ 9.99 (prices may vary based on country).
The sale ends when 2,000 copies are sold, so hop on over to Amazon:
Deploy Empathy: A practical guide to interviewing customers [Hansen, Michele] on Amazon.com. Kindle, Paperback, Hardcover and Audiobook
I'll give you a little peek behind the curtain here:
I'm making barely anything on these sales after printing and distribution costs—a dollar per copy—so, what's the point?
The short story is that Amazon reviews—stars and reviews—are perhaps the most important marketing asset for an author. Amazon reviews and ratings are proliferated across the internet, from Google to Goodreads and beyond. As another author put it to me, a sale is an investment in future reviews.
So I hope you'll take a minute to give the book some stars or even write a review!
Wanted to shout-out some folks who left reviews recently:
The book is concise and to the point. It gives enough background on the ‘why’ of each method and then gives practical tools and advice. No fluff, no repetition.
As someone who had never done user interviews before I was nervous to get started. But the step-by-step framework makes getting started quick and painless. 2 days after finishing the book I scheduled a few interviews!
If you're interested in user interviews but don't know where to start then pick up a copy. I bet you start to deploy more empathy in your everyday conversations, too.
Deploy Empathy is not the type of book you only read once. It’s more like a guidebook that you can keep coming back to at different points in your journey.
Javier also shared his takeaways on Twitter:
Jim Sproat on Goodreads
Michele makes you eager to talk to (and listen to) the people who pay the wages (i.e. customers). She showed me that I would enjoy doing so. I found that this little gem of a book informs, educates and entertains - all in a very empathetic way, of course! Buying it- and acting on it- was a wise investment for me.
And in full transparency, there's a Jason from Australia who wrote on Audible that he didn't like my narration and wished he'd bought the paperback. Totally fine! But unfortunately I have no way to reach people who buy via Amazon. So if you're Jason from Australia, let me know and I'll happily send you a PDF copy!
Until next time,