I did a brief stint in college before dropping out and joining a code camp to learn how to build things.
When I was in school, I was enrolled in coding classes and business classes.
It was so funny hearing everyone’s conversations and seeing the gap between “idea people” and “people people.”
I remember sitting in a “business informatics” class and having a conversation about a particular feature. I asked, “What did the user think about that?”
And the reply?
“The user? Like the customer?”
“The customers are the fuzzy people… we don’t talk to them.”
Needless to say, college wasn’t for me… In between sessions at various code camps I worked doing door to door sales for a Pest Control company.
You know what they told me to do?
“You gotta LISTEN to the customers so you know what they want… then you can use that information on your next sale!”
And guess what… it worked. It turns out that the people who LIVE in a neighborhood know more about what other people in that neighborhood would ask, what they would be worried about, and what would peak their interest.
If there is anything I’ve learned that’s helped me be a better developer it’s this: Listen to the customer. Listen to the “Fuzzy People” until those people aren’t fuzzy anymore because they are totally in focus.
Know what they want. Watch them use your app. Watch where they get stuck. Ask them questions.
You’ll be surprised by how often your customers have the answers you’re looking for… if you’re just willing to listen.
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