Conversations with people who share our passion
for understanding what makes people tick
NASA UX Designer Krys Blackwood teaches us how to build interfaces for users who are a decade away from using them.
The Mule Design co-founder and Just Enough Research author on why doing good research scares us, experience design is a misnomer, and real creativity requires logging off.
Cordelia Hyland on what “research democratization” really means—and where it can fall short.
IDEO alum Ovetta Sampson on the future of data science, UX, and bringing forth the individual behind every data point.
Patreon’s Thaniya Keereepart on the right way to ask “why” and the moments that reframe the way we think about our impact.
Research Ops Manager at Atlassian Kate Towsey talks to us about clearing the way for great research with an organizational machete.
Clinical psychologist and former Intel research scientist Margaret Morris on how individual technology hacks shine a light on what users really crave.
Headspace’s Design Research Lead on building qualitative research on the expertise of behavioral science and 6,000 years of meditation theory.
Expert user researcher Steve Portigal breaks down why thinking about bias and mistakes is the key to joyful discovery.
Hopelab President Margaret Laws delves into the company’s teen-centric, tech-enabled design process.
David Keegan of investment app Acorns on the high-value ROI of feedback from users.
Former UXPA International president Jen Romano-Bergstrom on the industry’s rapid growth, biggest challenges, and where researchers should be doing even more to break down boundaries.
Serial host Sarah Koenig on compelling, empathetic storytelling in the age of audio.
Sonos’ Kirsten Lewis on why researchers are explorers, and how prototyping makes an ongoing conversation with users possible.
Behind the scenes with the team at Google that’s moving beyond design thinking to design feeling.
New York Times Magazine journalist David Marchese breaks down the art of conversation and getting impactful answers from an interview.
BallotReady’s deep dive into how to engage voters on political issues and create a more informed electorate.
How Jobs-to-be-Done pioneer Tony Ulwick used a “humiliating failure” to fuel a career helping companies innovate to meet customer needs.
Public Broadcasting Executive Editor and veteran Journalist Madhulika Sikka describes how to connect a story to an audience of one or one million.
Neuroscientist Tali Sharot on why humans are wired for optimism, influence, and imagination.
Amnesty International’s Sherif Elsayed-Ali explains how he conducts qualitative research in human rights crises, and the future of humanity in the artificial intelligence era.
Healthtech anthropologist Rachel Ceasar on the inextricable link between cultural and socio-economic bias, and how healthy we really are.
Felicity Heathcote-Márcz tells us why understanding cyborgs is essential to understanding humans.
Criminal Justice professor and researcher Lacey Wallace on what we know—and don’t know—about gun violence.
LinkedIn’s Enterprise UX team on how research is changing the Enterprise landscape.
LinkedIn’s John Garvie on how research is changing the Enterprise UX landscape.
LinkedIn’s Jesse Livingston on how enterprise research is fully enabling people’s ultimate potential.
LinkedIn’s Elizabeth Gin on the power of the “hidden user” in Enterprise UX.
LinkedIn’s Anton Zadorozhnyy on the multifaceted nature of Enterprise research.
Your job as a researcher is to be a catalyst, a guide who enables the entire company—from the C-suite on down—to get as close as possible to the people the company is serving.
UChicago’s Nicole Beechum on the experience of students in urban school districts from an equity and strengths-based perspective.
A qualitative researcher of 20 years, Carrie Yury has found that agile can make qualitative research process and findings more visible to stakeholders and even create new hunger for user understanding.
Researcher Jonathan Bean is an architect, sustainability consultant, ethnographer, marketing guru, and expert on consumer taste—and he brought all of those skills together to study the cultural and social movement unfolding at a Harlem restaurant. Bean takes us through his interdisciplinary approach to studying the current moment, and the importance of the environment around us.
Indigo Books’ Markus Grupp knows that when it comes to deeply human needs—how we’re inspired and how we communicate—algorithms don’t hold a candle to person to person connection.
Maci Peterson, founder of On Second Thought, wants to give us a chance to correct ourselves, and improve the way we communicate in the process.
Design researcher Yasmine Khan shows us how exhibit design can help stakeholders and product teams grasp research insights in a whole new way.
People Nerd John Dominski has spent countless hours studying gorillas. We chat about how the experience taught him to be a better observer, and how his learnings can be applied to human research.
Leadership consultant Lisa Stefanac, group behavior expert, breaks down the importance of good questions, the value of silence, and everything you can learn about yourself from how you play with others.
Ran Zilca, Chief Data-Science Officer at Happify, talks about what makes us happy—both what the data tells us, and what he found on his own personal 6,000 mile journey across the country.
Award-winning documentary filmmaker Alexandra Nikolchev is a People Nerd whose work centers on social justice issues and immigration. Those kinds of narratives, she says, require filmmakers to leave their preconceptions at the door in order to really listen.
Allie Mahler and Scott Weiss have spent most of 2017 talking to teenagers, and they’re feeling optimistic about the future. We sat down to learn what the newest generation really wants.
Aryel Cianflone started researching researchers to get better at her job. But quickly, she learned that everyone’s approach and process is so different that it is worth sharing.
Anne Helen Petersen really knows popularity. At Buzzfeed she dissects the role of celebrities in our daily lives and what it really means to have someone as your spirit animal.
Is curiosity a learned trait? Julie and Stefanie Norvaisas discuss working together, learning from each other, and the differences between researching for the digital and physical realms.
dscout’s head of product, Jonathan Fairman, talks to fellow product management nerd + people nerd, Suzanne Abate, on the 100PM podcast about why great product managers are the leaders of user empathy.
Lance Weiler talks about the power of collective narrative, the medium as an innovation driver, why stories are more powerful than data, and how the human experience is at the core of it all.
Josh Elman knows what people want. A visionary product manager who helped grow some of the most prominent startups in Silicon Valley into the juggernauts they are today, Elman seems to have a sixth sense for zeroing in on what’s next.
How many things have you touched today? Your phone, most likely. Your favorite coffee mug? A toothbrush? The clothes on your back? What else? If your answer is “nothing,” Paula Zuccotti suggests you think harder.
Dr. Brian Levine is a neuropsychologist and cognitive neuroscientist at Baycrest’s Rotman Research Institute and at the University of Toronto, who’s specialized in memory for over 20 years.
Hsu sees a very clear through path in their diverse work: “Anywhere I’ve gone I’ve always tried to figure out a research question that could better serve the community that I think is underserved.”
Madsbjerg argues that in order to really understand what’s going on around us, we have to place the same value on the humanities as we do on data and science.
We chat with Kat Lee to learn how Square, the tech unicorn, breaks out of their bubble, the importance of individual voices, and what it takes to make a true “People Nerd.”
Adler’s most famous as a founder of Kickstarter; he enabled regular people to help other regular people to realize their entrepreneurial dreams. And then he scaled the process.
For Martha Cotton, the promise of design-thinking is in continually solving problems driven by ongoing development of empathy. We discuss building deep human understanding into design at Fjord and how she teaches it at Northwestern.
InVision’s Prinicipal Researcher and design anthropoligist, Charles Pearson, chatted with dscout recently about how he’s weaving qualitative, discovery-oriented research into InVision’s “ship, ship, ship” agile environment.
Rick Bond has conducted, scaled and evangelized research at startups across the bay area. We discuss how he builds the story for research within organizations and what it takes to be an effective design research leader.
Natalie Hanson has had anthropology on the brain since at least the third grade. She’s followed her curiosities in the decades since, from her Ph.D. in anthropology to building out the UX teams for both SAP and ZS Associates.
Google is a data driven company, but big data doesn’t always explain ‘why’. Supriya Gokarn chats about how she brings empathy to Google Home in our first live People Nerds event.
Kelly Goto is obsessed with patterns and people. It drives her evangelism for great design and impactful research, which led her to launch gotomedia and gotoresearch.
Lanusse sat with dscout to share his passion for curiosity and empathy, his own multicultural background, and his understanding of the threads that connect viewers and consumers around the world.
Jeanne Bliss, a Chief Customer Officer, is an advocate for caring about the people who care about people. We chat what makes CX team and why CX needs UX.
With a PhD in Human-Computer Interaction, Aruna Balakrishnan has devoted her career to understanding what makes people tick, and how that ticking works with technology.
Myles spent 20 years at P&G studying the intent of in-store shoppers and became an expert in knowing what it’s like in the aisle. Now at ChaseDesign he uses new tech to replace dated techniques.
Sarah Cambridge is Google’s unofficial diary study expert for good reasons. Over her career, she’s taking research to lead design teams and brought design thinking to research organizations.
Anthropology has its place in business. In fact, Susan Kresnicka would tell you every company needs a few anthropologists. She explains how studying culture and ideas creates better products.
Combining a love for science and a need to understand people, Katy Mogal has designed her research teams to provide guidance in every product decision. User Experience means much more than just product validation.
Christopher Ireland, a design and research leader, talks about how storytelling is half of a great research project and what it takes to get to the core of a design solution.
Dan Makoski has seen true innovation happen and he knows the great ideas rarely come from the design leads in the room. The most-loved ideas come from the most ordinary people.
Journalists and qualitative researchers — the best ones anyway — are usually people nerds: humans obsessed with understanding their fellow humans. But not all of them are extroverts.
Know someone you’d love to read about in a People Nerd profile? Tell us why