Enlightened Empathy

At the time AirBNB was so small, Joe Gebbia personally went to listers to photograph homes for the listings. In taking these photos…

“We got so close that we go to step into their shoes for a moment and see the world through their eyes, and really see the pain points that they were feeling,” says Gebbia. That’s the basis of innovation — you take an enlightened and empathetic point of view and combine it with your own unique point of view to create something new. In a short period of time, the quality of listings improved and number of options increased.

In the How I Built This with Guy Raz podcast, Gebbia calls this Enlightened Empathy.

While doing web design, we talked to the administrators for the department who wanted a site. In doing support for the sites, I would get to talk to users to understand what they were trying to accomplish and make tweaks or major re-designs to make that experience better.

There is a whole profession, User Experience Designer, built around the idea of engaging representative users to understand how they use technology to ensure the design reflects how people will use it.

Podcasts

Until recently I mostly eschewed podcasts. I only listen to the local NPR radio station as part of my morning alarm or driving somewhere.[1] Podcasts were often how I listened to the whole episode for something that was interesting. I did not really subscribe so much as list them and occasionally check for something.

A couple years ago I did start more actively listening. About a year ago I started looking for new content. Like all things that I do, I over extended myself. I am at the point where I need to cull. There is no way that I am ever going to listen to all these podcasts, so I need to decide which to keep and which to ditch.

So here is my list at the moment categorized into genres:

Obviously much of what I listen is influenced by NPR, which is explained by my origin. But, also FiveThirtyEight, Gimlet Media, and various science magazines.

Shows that are dead in the water, but in my backlog.

Podcasts discussed Sunday that I may have to try.

Podcasts I noticed researching this post.

Here are ones I started listening at some point and gave up on.

  • British History
  • Freakonomics Radio
  • Invisibilia
  • Planey Money
  • Reply All
  • Serial
  • Try It, You’ll Like It
  • Vox’s The Weeds
  • Waking Up with Sam Harris
  • Welcome to Night Vale
  • 2 Dope Queens

Notes:

  1. This has been my habit since 1998 when my human growth and development psychology professor went on a rant about how important it was.

Imaginary Worlds

Imaginary Worlds is a twice monthly podcast hosted by Eric Molinsky about science fiction and other fantasy genres. How we create them and why we suspend our disbelief.

It happens I so enjoyed this podcast that I started from the beginning. Work replaced my computer and I lost where I was. I ended up re-listening to several over again and still enjoyed them.

I fully expected to hit Next over and over until I was back where I left off. Instead listening over and over to the same episodes is not normal.