Categories
product management

What Luke Skywalker and Your Customer Have in Common: Thoughts on Emotional Needs

The other week I was conducting a storytelling and product management workshop—more on this in a future blog entry—and walking people through an exercise on customer needs. I had instructed the participants, who were IT managers and officers, to write down fictional characters and their needs, and then analyze the latter in terms of a functional dimension, and an emotional dimension:

Functional: A young man needs to blow up the Death Star and save the galaxy from the Evil Empire.

Emotional: Luke wants a larger purpose in the galaxy and longs to be a Jedi like his father.1

Then I asked the participants to think of the following:

  • actual customers and their needs,
  • the functional dimension, and
  • the emotional dimension

Simple, I thought: Functional needs were easy. We worked in IT, so we saw functional requirements all day. But the emotional dimension? A couple of participants expressed difficulty with this part of the exercise, and in the moment I, too, was stumped, because I was so used to baking in the qualitative outcome in my storytelling framework, and couldn’t properly describe to the participants what seemed to be a bit of a mental leap.

How do I work backwards, and contextualize how one gathers this “emotional requirement,” as it were? Some thoughts follow.

Categories
games

Vengeance: Session Report and Review

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The Vengeance board game box.

Vengeance

A game by Gordon Calleja

Mighty Boards

Board Game Geek listing

Three in the morning and no one out in the streets except him and a stray dog sniffing around a dumpster.

Shadowman steps out into the light and looks around the corner of the alley at the old printing shop. A nondescript building in a dilapidated neighborhood, hollowed out by redlining and neglect after white folks lit out for the suburbs. Nothing but abandoned warehouses and junkie squats and the occasional gang hideout. Griffon Printing, reads a weather-beaten sign hanging from a pole. Creaking in the wind. Newspaper blowing across the street like tumbleweed.

Storm blowing in. Coming for Roxy Kween and her empire of dirt.

Categories
games

Mage Knight: Session Report and Review

For a few years now I’ve been writing session reports over at Board Game Geek. I thought I’d expand on some of my entries—especially the ones where I dive into something more creative—and post them on the blog. Below is the first one I ever wrote, back in March of 2016, followed by a new section that describes the game a little more for non-gamers, then some thoughts on why I like it.

The Mage Knight board game box.

Tovak paused in his weary trudge and lifted his helmet to look at the White City behind him. He was reluctant to leave his swordsmen behind, but they were spent, riding under the Banner of Fear, having expended their energies in conquering the beast guardians of the city. Now they were healing their sore limbs with drink, and perhaps other unsavory pursuits besides, and Tovak could not blame them: he had, after all, threatened them by his sword to join his company, and he was now known as a mage knight of ill repute.

Tovak turned to face the lake, the cold moon shivering on its surface. It was deceptively calm. The villagers had spoken of a rampaging draconum hidden in its depths, and Tovak warmed to the challenge, despite his weariness. He had battled its likes before, in a tomb just a few leagues away; the sepulcher had yielded a spell written on parchment, and four mana crystals, the greatest haul of his career. But slaying this draconum was his last chance to prove himself a mage knight of some renown, and to repair his tarnished reputation—one final attempt before the sun rose.

Categories
product management

Bingo at work

Screenshot of slide deck
Screenshot of “Bingo” card

Last week I played Bingo at work. Well, not exactly; I didn’t have a marker in hand, hoping to snag four corners. Instead I had the pleasure of attending a talk that was part of the SF Fed’s UX Design Center Micro-Series hosted by my buddy and colleague Brian St. John. (That’s him in the tiny square on the upper left.)

The talk was entitled “Listening. Envisioning. Disrupting Business as Usual,” featuring Tracey Kelly (Envisioning Lead at Microsoft–also with a book coming out in September, “Design Thinking in AI and Software Projects“) and Daniel Hunter (20-year veteran at Microsoft, from software development to sales, now Director at Microsoft Catalyst), who spoke about how design thinking was critical to their success.

Instead of the fixed sequence of a PowerPoint presentation, we started instead with a “Bingo” card of topics as the first slide, and we were invited to choose a topic for discussion. I was greedy and chose two. (I’m totally stealing this idea, by the way; it afforded more novelty and audience interaction, especially crucial for a Zoom call.)

Categories
movies

Osgood Perkins’ The Blackcoat’s Daughter (2015).

The Blackcoat's Daughter
[Some mild spoilers below, but no more than what you’d read in other reviews.]

I was looking for horror movie recommendations a little while back (because it’s Shocktober) and my friend Dan Coffey asked if David Lynch movies counted. I replied that they didn’t; Lost Highway was certainly unsettling, but insufficiently horror-like to me. In my head, at least, I needed strange sounds in the night, supernatural presences, people dispatched in terrible and inventive ways. Things that stalked or crawled. Creatures that fed.