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A friend of my dad once had a long commute to work. It was the better part of an hour’s drive, which I consider a long commute. One day, towards the beginning of his daily travels, an opossum scrambles out onto the highway. Being a good driver he doesn’t swerve, knowing that to swerve could endanger human life. So he did something I’ve done before… kept a straight course and wished the little thing the best of luck.

He then heard that awful “kerchunk” sound of the opossum rolling a natural one in the adventure of life, a life now…

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As a long-time UX researcher, personas have been a standard part of my UX practice. Who hasn’t passionately explained to leadership why personas are important and made presentations to dev teams hoping that maybe, just maybe they’ll think about the user more often?

It’s not news that personas have always been a struggle. Articles abound on how to do them right, or how to fix them. But what if we don’t need to fix them? What if our uphill struggle to perfect personas is the medical equivalent of perfecting blood-letting? That is, its fundamentally archaic as well as ineffective?


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Photo by mynameisgeebs on Flickr.

For part two in this series we’re going to zoom into part of one story we came across through our interviews. You really never know what you’re going to hear, as you’re about to see.

The Loaded Gun

Brad was selling his home. Things were going peachy: he had an offer accepted and, if all went well, would be closing on the house in a short time.

One day Brad awoke early in the morning to the sound of a stranger in his house. He could hear the person walking from room to room downstairs.

He reached into his nightstand and pulled out…

I learn about people for a living, and I love it! I’m trying to figure out why they do what they do for the sake of improving business, but along the way I hear lots of interesting stories.

What follows is a series of anonymized stories that I have selected as more interesting.

The Inheritance

I was talking to Grace. Her mother died at a good old age, and had left behind an excessively valuable ring. Grace inherited this ring, and not knowing what to do with it, stored it in a safety deposit box.

But Grace wanted to bring the ring…

We’ve all heard it from the immense Seth Godin and others: The product is the marketing, the product is the thing that makes itself stand out, be interesting, be useful, be remarkable.

So it follows that the product owner, or the person responsible for making the product what it is, has an immense responsibility. Every day they have to decide what is important to work on, and how important it is.

A good product owner needs to live inside the mind of a potential customer. They need free rent to know the how and the why of the people who…

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Such a simple and direct question should seem easy. After all, it is entirely subjective; there is no wrong answer if indeed your answer is what you want.

But is it ever? Really?

Most people take the life that is handed to them. Essentially they follow a string of opportunities that lead them. Each opportunity seems to offer some kind of promise, but when you look back at them, did they lead you where you wanted to go?

More often than not, a person ends up in a far different place than they had dreamed of. In some cases it’s…

Jonathan Devine

UX Strategist by day, Startups by night

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