Human Insight Podcast
Season 6 recap: connecting insights in a relatable way to solve problems
In this episode, Andy and Janelle recap season six of the Human Insight Podcast.
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.
We’re currently planning Season 7. If you have an insight you want us to investigate, or a guest you recommend, please email us at email@example.com.
13 episode clips that'll make you a better product leader
In this episode, we curated 13 clips from past episodes of the Human Insight Podcast to give you insights on being a better product leader.
You will hear from C. Todd Lombardo, author of several books including Product Roadmaps Relaunched; Silicon Valley Product Group’s Christian Idiodi; Product School’s Carlos Gonzalez de Villaumbrosia, Harvard Business School’s Julia B. Austin, Radhika Dutt, author of Radical Product Thinking; Teresa Torres, author of Continuous Discover Habits, Ignition’s Karthik Suresh, and IDEO’s Iain Roberts.
- How the role of product management evolving
- How the product leader’s role has changed
- Key skills product managers need to be successful
- 3 fundamental characteristics that makes a great product manager
- What makes a great product team
- Three pillars of radical product thinking
- What is continuous discovery
- Why customer feedback is critically important to your success
- Key elements for a successful product launch
- How do you include execs in a design sprint
- How do you know when you have good product market fit
- The seven diseases of of product strategy & development
- The future of product
Center for Human Insight: using human insight for business decision-making
What is Human Insight? What can you do with human insight? And how do you get started gathering human insight?
Those are the big three questions the Center for Human Insight, presented by UserTesting, hopes to answer.
“People tend to think of user tests as being something just tied to usability when in fact it's a way to get broad feedback on anything that you need to get reactions to or input on in real time,” said Michael Mace, VP of the Center for Human Insight. “And the range of things you can do with it, the range of things you can learn are just amazing. We want to bring that to life for everybody so that they see what you can do.”
Mace along with Michael Domanic, Head of Solutions Partners at UserTesting; and Sean Treiser, Insights Strategist at UserTesting, were guests on this week’s episode of the Human Insight Podcast.
In their conversation, they also discussed:
- What is the Center for Human Insight
- Who is the center’s target audience
- How does someone submit an article or tip for gathering feedback to the center
Links from the show
Emailing the center: firstname.lastname@example.orgThis episode originally aired December 5, 2022.
Creating a great product onboarding experience
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
Our 2nd annual book recommendations from guests
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.
- Brave New Work by Aaron Dignan
- Gerrard: My Autobiography by Steven Gerrard
- Nudge: The Final Edition by Richard H. Thaler
- Jonathan Livingston Seagull: The Complete Edition by Richard Bach
- Build: An Unorthodox Guide to Making Things Worth Making by Tony Fadell
- The Gruffalo in Scots by Julia Donaldson
- The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World by Dalai Lama
- The Marginalian by Maria Popova
- Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts. by Brené Brown
- The Psychology of Money: Timeless lessons on wealth, greed, and happiness by Morgan Housel
- Birdgirl By Mya-Rose Craig
- End of Bias: A Beginning by Jessica Nordell
- Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men by Caroline Criado Perez
- How Democracies Die by Steven Levitsky
- Permanent Record by Edward Snowden
- The Mom Test: How to talk to customers & learn if your business is a good idea when everyone is lying to you by Rob Fitzpatrick
- Orbiting the Giant Hairball: A Corporate Fool's Guide to Surviving with Grace by Gordon MacKenzie
- The Intelligent Investor: The Definitive Book on Value Investing by Benjamin Graham
- Lean Enterprise: How High Performance Organizations Innovate at Scale by Jez Humble
- Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life: Life-Changing Tools for Healthy Relationships by Marshall Rosenberg
When you can stop talking to your customers
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:
Digital initiatives and understanding how people work
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
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
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:
- Simplifying tax filing
- Code for America’s Safety Net Innovation Lab
- What is human-centered government
- Amanda’s thoughts on Hispanic Heritage Month following her recent appointment by President Biden to his Commission on Advancing Educational Equity, Excellence, and Economic Opportunity for Hispanics
Links in the show:
This episode originally aired October 17, 2022.
Solving business problems with big 'D' design
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
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.
12 HIP guests share their tips and advice for convincing others to invest in customer feedback
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
Connecting with your audience through sponsored communities
"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:
- What do Faulkner mean when he says community shapes us?
- What are the benefits of a community to those within the community, and what are the benefits to the sponsoring organization?
- How do you authentically build an audience, especially as everything seems to shift to more digital, more remote, and more global ?
Creating a process for a successful product launch
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?
Uncovering your customers' key moments as a design target
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