Human Insight Podcast

Hear from top experts in the fields of conversion optimization, UX research, design, product, and more.

Creating a great product onboarding experience

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Customer onboarding is critical to the success of a business not just in activation, but in the long-term retention of those users.

Typically, we think of the example of when we sign up a new customer and then onboard them on our product or service. 

But onboarding is more than that. You’ll need to re-onboard a once-every-few-months user every time they log on. And you’ll need to successfully onboard a customer every time you release a new product feature. 

“If you don't,” says Pulkit Agrawal, cofounder and CEO of Chameleon, “that feature won't get adoption activation, retention, and won’t be part of the reason why customers stick around.”

Chameleon helps companies build better onboarding experiences. Agrawal was this week’s guest on the Human Insights Podcast, joining co-hosts Andy MacMillan and Janelle Estes. 

“User onboarding, while it's typically considered at the start of the product journey, really applies across the product lifecycle as you build functionality,” Agrawal said. “And in the world of product-led today, where really the companies that have the best products and the most usage in engagement are the ones that win, it's really vital that companies have a method, a process, a system and tooling to continue to onboard users onto features and continue to drive engagement adoption.”

Listen to the episode and learn more about: 

  • Why companies should focus on the why and not just the how with onboarding
  • The importance of onboarding, especially in a usage-based pricing model
  • How a friction log can help improve your customers’ onboarding experiences

Episode links: 

This episode originally aired November 21, 2022.

Our 2nd annual book recommendations from guests

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Welcome to our second annual roundup of book recommendations from guests on the Human Insight Podcast. 

It is a good mix of books, covering creativity, money, innovation and product development. There is even a children’s book recommendation, as well as one for a newsletter. 

And don’t forget, our own Janelle Estes and Andy MacMillan also wrote User Tested, which was published earlier this year. 

This episode originally aired November 14, 2022.

When you can stop talking to your customers

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Julia Austin is a strong advocate for feedback never stopping, whether she is pushing her students to get out and talk with customers or talking with business leaders. 

“I'll get this question, especially from founders early on, of ‘when do I stop talking to my customers and getting feedback and start building my product?,’” said Austin, Senior Lecturer at Harvard Business School’s Rock Center for Entrepreneurship where she currently teaches Startup Operations. “And I'm like, ‘Never ... You need to be talking to them all the time.”

In this episode of the Human Insight Podcast, Austin joins UserTesting’s CEO Andy MacMillan and Chief Insights Officer Janelle Estes to discuss the importance of customer feedback, as well as: 

  • What makes a great product manager?
  • How do you know when you have product market fit?
  • Her advice to legacy companies making the digital transition and developing new products or reinventing how their current products are offered in the marketplace?

Links in the show: 

This episode originally aired November 7, 2022.

Digital initiatives and understanding how people work

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You have to understand how people work, and why, says Kaj van de Loo, UserTesting’s Chief Technology Officer, on this week’s episode of the Human Insight Podcast. 

“What do they actually want to do or need to do to reach their goals, vs. what are they doing as weird workarounds or because they are being told to do,” he said. “Look at the former, and support it. In our case, every product manager, designer, and engineer wants to understand our customers and users and they all want to hear about how our product is being used, what people think of it, and how we can make it better. We lean into that.” 

In their conversation with Kaj, co-hosts Andy and Janelle ask him about business workflows and how the pandemic and digital acceleration changed the way we think about processes and workflows. 

The also discuss how understanding how people work, and how they leverage tools and technology, as well as customer insights, to launch products successfully. 

This episode originally aired October 31, 2022.

Cultivating customer empathy in a data-driven world with Brian Solis

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Producer’s note: This week’s episode is a conversation Janelle had with futurist and author Brian Solis at The Human Insight Summit held last week in New Orleans. We hope you enjoy the conversation. 

Do you know how your customers experience your brand today? Do you know how they really feel? Do you know what they say when you're not around? You think you know your customers, but you really have no idea–until you talk to them!

Brian Solis, author of X: The Experience When Business Meets Design, joined Janelle Estes, UserTesting’s Chief Insights Officer and co-author of User Tested, met onstage in a fireside conversation at The Human Insights Summit last week in New Orleans to discuss the importance of customer understanding and empathy in an always-on world, and why today customer experience is your brand.

Solis is a world-renowned digital anthropologist, futurist, 8x best-selling author, and international keynote speaker. He serves as VP, Global Innovation at Salesforce and has consistently been recognized as one of the world's leading voices in innovation, business transformation, and leadership for over two decades.

Leveraging insights from each of their books and professional experiences, Brian and Janelle spoke about the parallels in their books and beliefs on powering customer-centric experiences.

This episode originally aired October 24, 2022.

Why human-centered government matters

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Amanda Renteria, the CEO of Code for America, joined the podcast to talk about using technology AND regularly talking with your audience to reimagine government to better serve communities. 

Amanda has worked in the financial sector, been a teacher in her hometown, and spent most of her career in the public sector, from serving as Chief of Operations at the California Department of Justice to being national political director for Hilary Clinton’s 2016 US presidential campaign. And, oh yeah, she ran for the U.S. Congress and for California’s state governor.

Among the topics discussed include: 


Links in the show: 


This episode originally aired October 17, 2022.

Solving business problems with big 'D' design

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The digital acceleration is changing everyone’s lives, especially for designers who are more and more in demand across companies, industries and geographies. 

The past decade has seen incredible changes to design, and who is a designer.

In fact, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics this year officially recognized the job of “web and digital interface designer,” says Andrew Hogan, who leads insights and analysis at Figma and was this week’s guest on the Human Insight Podcast. 

“And there’s also this realization that design can impact things at a business level, call it Big D design,” Hogan said. “It’s not just about moving pixels, it’s also about solving business problems.”

Podcast co-hosts Andy MacMillan and Janelle Estes talked with Andrew before Adobe’s announced its intentions to acquire Figma for $20 billion.

In addition to discussing how much design has changed, as well as what’s ahead, they also discussed what are the best practices across the industry, especially as it pertains to big, global, and/or enterprise organizations.


This episode originally aired October 10, 2022.

Helping SMBs close the customer intimacy gap

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Kausamby Manjita joins the Human Insight podcast this week to discuss her work bringing the complex technologies that Walmart, Alibaba and Amazon use to the rest of the retail world.

Kaus is CEO and co-founder of Mason, an all-in-one platform that helps entrepreneurs automate their online stores.

Currently, she said, about 98 of every 100 people who land on any online store (that is not big tech) usually drop off before buying anything compared to the 15 of every 100 for a big retailer. She wants to help close that gap for entrepreneurs, especially when the cost of acquiring web traffic to your store is increasing.

Additionally, Kaus outlined the specific challenges these owners face, whether that was in sales and promotions, personalization, or data-driven merchandising.

She also discussed how she helps these vastly different online businesses connect with their audiences in a way that is authentic.

This episode originally aired October 2, 2022.

12 HIP guests share their tips and advice for convincing others to invest in customer feedback

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In this bonus episode celebrating International Podcast Day 2022, 12 past guests on the show share their tips and advice for convincing others to invest in customer feedback.

In order of appearance are: 

Ep. 48: Wesley Faulkner
Ep. 46: Patrick Quattlebaum
Ep. 17: Christian Idiodi
Ep. 47: Karthik Suresh
Ep. 20: April Dunford
Ep. 45: Radhika Dutt
Ep. 41: Bobbie Wood
Ep. 40: C. Todd Lombardo
Ep. 28: Jennifer Lee
Ep. 15: Susan Rice
EP. 18: Catherine Richards
Ep. 26: Brent Leary

This episode originally aired September 30, 2022.

Connecting with your audience through sponsored communities

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"When you're thinking about measuring a community, usually what you measure is what you effect," said Wesley Faulkner, Senior Community Manager at Amazon’s AWS. "So, if you're not measuring the success of the people who are in the community, if that's not part of the measurements, then you're really not going to be tracking that. Thus, you may lose sight of what makes your community good."

Wesley talked with Andy MacMillan, UserTesting's CEO, and Janelle Estes, UserTesting's Chief Insights Officer, in Episode 48 of the Human Insight Podcast. 

Wesley is a first-generation American, public speaker, and podcaster. He is a founding member of the government transparency group Open Austin and a staunch supporter of racial justice, workplace equity, and neurodiversity. His professional experience spans technology from AMD, Atlassian, and Dell among others. Wesley is currently .

He also co-hosts the developer relations focused podcast Community Pulse and serves on the board for SXSW.

He said measuring what makes a sponsored community successful can be complicated. Ask the sales team and they want to know how many leads are coming from the community. Ask customer service and they want to know how many tickets are being diverted to and aswered in the community. 

"But if I had to boil it down to anything," Faulkner said, "it is what does the community itself say its worth?"

Listen to the episode to hear Faulkner's tips for putting metrics to that measurement. 

Additionally, they discuss: 

  1. What do Faulkner mean when he says community shapes us? 
  2. What are the benefits of a community to those within the community, and what are the benefits to the sponsoring organization? 
  3. How do you authentically build an audience, especially as everything seems to shift to more digital, more remote, and more global ? 
This episode originally aired September 26, 2022.

Creating a process for a successful product launch

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This week on the Human Insight Podcast, Karthik Suresh joins Andy and Janelle to discuss just what goes into making a successful product launch.

Suresh is co-founder and CPO/CTO of Ignition, a collaborative hub for product teams to plan, execute, and measure the GTM side of launching a product.

In their conversation, they discuss:

  • What are some ways to ensure you successfully launch?
  •  Whether that changes  based on the business size (small or large), or model (B2B or B2C)
  • What are the elements of a GTM plan?
  • What are the key ingredients in building a culture of innovation?
  • How can digital product leaders best support a culture of innovation?
This episode originally aired September 22, 2022.

Uncovering your customers' key moments as a design target

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We all have special moments. There are signature moments, critical moments, key moments, moments that matter, moments of truth and so forth.

For this week's episode of the Human Insight Podcast, we talk with Patrick Quattlebaum, Co-founder and CEO of Harmonic Design and author of Orchestrating Experiences

Quattlebaum believes moments are a powerful concept worth exploring. 

"What I have been fascinated by is this concept of moment and how it can be an architectural element that we can think about: this moment occurs and this event occurs that we can actually observe and that we can collect data on and that we can then do additional research to then really understand the dynamics around that moment," he said. "And that taps into some systems thinking in terms of drilling into structure and mental models and can we then start to see moments as a design target together? 

"We can measure it, we can try to understand it, understand how moments are connected to one another.  And if we start using that similar language, and using the term the same way, it can unlock that cross functional collaboration that companies find it really hard to get everybody focused on the same thing."

Besides the concept of moments, we also discussed: 

  • How do you engage more stakeholders in the process, especially when not everyone is a designer?
  • The concept of zooming out
  • The role storytelling in sharing insights across the organization
This episode originally aired September 12, 2022.

Why your organization needs a Radical Product Thinking mindset

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We talked with Radhika Dutt in this week’s episode of the Human Insight Podcast. Radhika is an engineer, entrepreneur and product leader who has participated in four acquisitions, two of which were companies she founded. She has built products in industries including broadcasting, media, advertising technology, government, consumer, robotics, and wine. She is currently Advisor on Product Thinking for the Monetary Authority of Singapore, Singapore’s central bank and financial regulator. 

She is also the author of Radical Product Thinking: The New Mindset for Innovating Smarter

Among the topics discussed included: 

  • Why do you think iterative product design is a bad thing?
  • How can product team leaders best mitigate risk in developing products?
  • What are the challenges with Lean and Agile with product development?
  • What are the seven diseases of product strategy & development?
  • What are Three Pillars of Radical Product Thinking?
This episode originally aired September 5, 2022.

Season 5 Recap: The customer experience, the 'only we' strategy, sharing insights, UX writing, web3 integrations with real life

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Today we’re recapping our fifth season of the Human Insight Podcast.

Maybe the biggest change to the podcast this season you’ll have noticed is we started including into episodes more clips from our opt-in contributor network. These are people from around the world, responding to questions we asked either related to that episode’s guest and topic, or to a current news event or trend.

This week's insight

In many episodes, as well as in our book User Tested, we’ve talked about the rising importance of the customer’s experience with your product or service.

In fact, Google's search trends for the term “customer experience” has increased 400 percent in the last 10 years. For this Insights segment, we asked our contributors what does Customer Experience mean to them, and for examples of good and bad experiences. Here is what they had to say:

[video] What does customer experience mean to you? 

This season's episodes: 

Thank you to all the listeners of the podcast, wherever you may be. And thank you to all the guests for making time for us and sharing their stories.

Season 6 will launch in September. If you have an insight you want us to investigate, or a guest you recommend, please email us at

Until then, you can go back and listen to any of past episodes of the Human Insight Podcast wherever you get your podcasts. Thank you.

This episode originally aired June 14, 2022.

Building deeper web3 relationships between creators and their fans

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Ethan Song, Co-founder and CEO of RareCircles, joins the Human Insight Podcast this week. 

Ethan was previously the co-founder and CEO of Frank And Oak, a leading direct-to-consumer brand, and he’s an active investor in Web3. As RareCircle’s CEO, Ethan empowers a new generation of entrepreneurs and brands to build deeper relationships with their communities through NFTs and blockchain technology. Its intuitive platform allows anyone to make, sell and manage powerful NFT memberships under one operating system.

We asked Ethan about what brands and the general public should know about NFTs, as well as:  

  • How creating a community is the foundation to today's businesses
  • How does he connect with his customers? And why that is important.
  • How brands may start to include NFTs in the products and services, such as loyalty programs, they offer their customers
  • How NFTs will be integrated into our real life experiences. 
This episode originally aired June 6, 2022.