Think Big Thoughts

In 2006, I was interviewed by Spencer Ante at BusinessWeek for an article they called The Science of Desire.  The article focused on the ways ethnographic research was being used to shape an understanding of customers.  I was quoted in one of the sidebars (top left box in the image below).


At the time, I used to collect all the articles I found about ethnographic methods.  It was really exciting to see so much visibility for ethnographic methods in the mainstream press!  It’s hard to believe this is 12 years old, now.  I don’t want to say we take these things for granted now, but in a way we do – and it is really healthy to reflect on how times have changed.


Interview with ‘This Anthro Life’

At the end of last year, I was interviewed by Adam Gamwell and Ryan Collins from This Anthro Life (TAL).   The podcast went  live on January 31st, and you can listen to it here.

If you’re not familiar with this podcast series, it is worth a listen!  They are ‘crowdsourcing the human condition to inspire communication, foster wonder and generate empathy’.  Since inception four years ago, they have produced over 100 podcasts, and they are now sponsored by both the American Anthropology Association and the Society for Applied Anthropology.  In addition to recent episodes about anthropology and design, they have covered everything from visual anthropology, to beer, ‘the happiness fetish‘, and long-haul trucking in China.

Although our conversation was spontaneous, Ryan and Adam asked me to be prepared to answer the following questions, most of which we managed to cover during our time together:

  • My origin story, including the history of anthrodesign
  • My current role, and how I got here
  • The state of enterprise UX
  • Applying anthropology insights to enterprise software
  • Selling research in the enterprise, communicating Return on Investment (ROI)
  • How to enter the field

Hopefully you’ll find it of interest!  I’ve had the interview transcribed, so you can read it below, if you prefer.

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Amazon Books

I was in San Diego for work last week, and while I was there I had a chance to visit a brick-and-mortar Amazon bookstore. I didn’t really have any expectations, but I was curious. I have been a longtime Amazon customer and I value the convenience. I love independent bookstores and I worry about their disappearance, so I support them when I can. One of my favorite things – at Powell’s Bookstore in Portland OR, for example – is the book recommendations from staff. I was really curious to see what the Amazon store experience would be like.

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Andy Cutler Chelation (ACC)

This blog post is a follow up to one I wrote about a year ago called It’s Not Just Flint, in which I started to address my lead and mercury poisoning. Although much of what I learned still holds true, I’ve learned a lot more since then. In this post, I’ll be mostly focused on describing the Andy Cutler Chelation (ACC) Protocol, as I am planning to start it in the next few months.

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Getting Giants to Dance

Closing Keynote: Getting giants to dance – what can we learn from designing large and complex public infrastructure?
Stephen Pollard, Director at Arup

From the Design Operations Summit website:
Airports are vital pieces of national infrastructure. They cost billions, and can take decades to design and deliver. We expect them to meet the day to day needs of millions of users, operate totally reliably, survive changing climate conditions, whilst providing a return on investment for their owners and operators. Stephen Pollard from Arup will explore the past present and future of a major airport in London, looking at challenges and successes to understand how best to manage design at the nexus of people, process, technology, and large complex assets.

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