Deploy Empathy

A practical guide to interviewing customers

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Two books you should read

I intentionally went light on theory in Deploy Empathy. I wanted to make the book as quickly actionable as possible to help you get up and running with interviews, rather than bogging you down in theory. I permitted myself one restrained section with framewor…


Anyone can be empathetic

You're driving on the highway and notice a car pass you on the left. They're clearly going over the speed limit, but not extraordinarily so. A short while later, they are pulled over by the police. As you drive by, you have the choice to think one of the foll…



I talked to Kjell Vandevyvere recently about the writing-in-public process for the book, and in many ways, it's one of the most personal interviews I've done yet. You on the Spotify playlist of all of my book tour appearances. I also had a lively conversation…


Can you interview over chat? Kind of.

I've had quite a few people ask me whether it's possible to interview someone in text over chat, like Twitter DM or Intercom live chat. I can see where this is coming from. You have a lot going on and async is easier than finding time for a call. Plus, if you…


One question you should never ask

A few weeks ago, Mathieu Dhondt alerted to me an interesting paper on customer research: "The Cost of New Ideas: Idea Generators Become Less Satisfied." The paper claimed that asking people for ideas on things a business could do better reduced their satisfac…


IndieHackers + longer book preview + Discord!

I was on the IndieHackers podcast this week talking about the book. Here's a sample of what people are saying about the episode:


A question that was on my mind as I wrote (+ Discord community!)

Last week, I talked to Jason Knight of One Knight in Product and he asked me a question that weighed on me heavily as I wrote: "Are you afraid that people will use this to manipulate people?" He asked me a lot of other good questions, too. The episode just ca…


The Deploy Empathy Rough Draft & Writing Process

A bunch of people have asked me over the last few days whether I would write about the writing-in-public process. I figured I should do that while it's still fresh. I wrote it up this morning and posted it on IndieHackers. (If you were along for the ride and …


#1 on Product Hunt!

You read that right! I am absolutely floored by the support of the community. Can you lend some support to keeping the momentum going?


Print book now available + audiobook private podcast pre-sale!

The print book is available from Amazon. Follow the link for your (or nearest) country:US | Canada | Australia | UK | Germany | France | Spain | Italy | JapanThe Kindle edition is available in more countries, including India. If your country is not listed abo…


Deploy Empathy: The Comic!

Stick figure drawings depicting conversations between an interviewer and interviewee in 12 sets of two. For each set, the first image is the negative example, and second is the positive. Customer Interviews #1: Use Gentle Voice. Person 1, shouting: “What have…


Writing an interview recruitment post: a line-by-line breakdown

Huge, huge thanks to everyone who has bought the book so far. This never would have become a book without all of your questions, comments, ideas, and feedback along the way, and I'm so grateful for that. As a first-time author whose blog posts landed with a s…


Deploy Empathy is the #1 New Release in R&D!

Click here to see it for yourself—I still can't believe it myself!


Order the print book!

A little over five months ago, a few of you took a chance on this newsletter. Your replies with feedback and your own experiences have motivated me and shaped this book from the very beginning, and this never would have happened without your input. The book h…


Survey or interview?

To figure out whether a question is better suited to an interview or a survey, think about the kind of answer someone would give.If someone can answer a question with one of the following, it's a survey question:yes/nochoose from a list of the followingrank t…


Curiosity statements > hypothesis statements

As I read this, I found my mind wandering to another concept entirely, one that is more pertinent to the content of this newsletter (I appreciate you hanging with me through that introduction): being willing to be proven wrong by your customers. We've talked …


Whats > Whys

Notice two things about these reframes: they rephrase the question as a what and that what question asks for process, steps, or backstory. "Why did you sign up today?" => "What led you to sign up today?""Why do you need [what your product/service helps peo…


Technical people can talk to people, too

I've seen first-hand how damaging and incorrect this stereotype is. I'm not an engineer myself, but both of my parents are software engineers and I'm married to an IT engineer who does software. In fact, I'm the only person in my immediate family without a sc…


Book update: pre-order the ebook!

A bunch of you have joined since the first issue, where I talked about why I was doing this and how it may become a book. I find writing emails much easier than staring at a blank page with a blinking cursor, so I wrote the book as a newsletter to start. The …


Interviewing in text

Let's recap for a moment what you're looking for when you interview someone:The overall goal they're trying to accomplish ("file my expense reports so accounting doesn't get mad at me")All of the steps of that process Which of those steps require a lot of tim…