Creating Customer Personae

with Julie Hamwood

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The essence of problem-solving

Julie Hamwood

Strategist, Project Manager, User Experience Expert

Lessons Learned

Entrepreneurs are doing important work.

At the end of the day, there are a lot of human problems that need to be solved.

Meet the essence of a need with the clearest solution.


Lesson: Creating Customer Personas with Julie Hamwood

Step #10 Essence: The essence of problem-solving

I think that this work that we do is incredibly important because at the end of the day we've got a lot of human needs that aren't being met right now. And if we're actually able to create viable ways of meeting them, then that's really valuable. So I really applaud people who do this work.

If I was to be a cheer squad, what I would say would be that there was this point that Steve Jobs gave that I use a lot in my own work. And that is when you first start thinking of an idea, it's so crystal clear to you and it's so simple. And you just think, "Oh this is going to be easy. I know how to make the pieces, I'm going to put it all up, it's going to have straightforward execution and it's going to be a success." And then once you start to make it you realize how much complexity there is. All sorts of different factors come in and there's all sorts of considerations that you have to attend to and it ends up becoming kind of like a plate of spaghetti. It's in and out, you're not sure what's right or what's wrong and it's become complicated.

Steve Jobs basically says that's where most people stop. And they then tell themselves, this problem was really hard, it had all these difference components to it. And that's definitely what you'll get from doing customer interviews is this idea of like the spaghetti of it all. But people who are really good at making products listen to the essence, and they find the essence of what that need is. And they meet that need. And by meeting that need in a very clean and clear way, all of the kind of extra noise spaghetti pieces, start to fall away. They start to get clearer on how to either shear off parts of that or elegantly address that while staying true to the essence of the need that you're meeting.

And most people don't get to that third phase. But when you do get to that third phase, that's when you're able to do really good product design that actually meets a human need. And that's when you're going to have success. So that's what we need to stick with, and keep doing with all of our customer development work is find that essence and build to it.

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