Get to know Erika Hall
Nov 13, 2019
Up next in our series, we get to know Erika Hall—author of the second edition, Just Enough Research. She shares her lightbulb moment, a few childhood dreams, and what she does to unwind and recharge.
ABA: If you had to describe yourself in three words, what would they be?
Erika Hall: Can’t. Stop. At. Three.
ABA: If you could invite one person to dinner, who would it be and what would you cook?
EH: Lisa Maria Martin who edited Conversational Design and Just Enough Research, so we could just hang out and chat about many things other than a book I am currently writing. We would go to her restaurant of choice. I love to cook, but I am the sort of person who makes really ambitious recipes and stays in the kitchen when I have people over.
ABA: What do you do to unwind and recharge?
EH: Run, bike, swim, hang out with my dog. Extremely obvious answers.
ABA: If you had the opportunity to live anywhere in the world for a year where would you choose?
EH: San Francisco. I like visiting other places but there is nowhere else I want to live for an entire year. Maybe six months in Tokyo and six months in New Zealand.
ABA: As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
EH: A supreme court justice or an architect. Nailed it.
ABA: What would you choose as your personal mascot or avatar?
EH: Godzilla. Swim in the ocean. Stomp on cars. Fight other monsters. That’s a solid day right there. Stomp stomp stomp. SKREEONK.
ABA: What was your favorite part of writing this book?
EH: Getting bored and antsy by trying to explain the survey sampling math and deciding to write about centaurs. Also figuring out how to convince my editors to retain word count for my jokes.
ABA: What was the lightbulb moment for you that made you so passionate about design research?
EH: When I cofounded my own agency and started pitching clients who weren’t excited about it and had a lot of misconceptions. That was very energizing.
ABA: Is there anyone you’re following the work of right now, who you’d recommend others pay attention to?
EH: Annalee Newitz and Charlie Jane Anders. They are science and science fiction writers I’ve known for a long time and they are on fire right now. Anyone working in technology and design—that is to say anyone actively involved in inventing the future—needs to read science fiction. And not just the dystopian stuff, which seems to be the inspiration for everything happening at the moment.
ABA: What does the tech industry need more of? Less of?
EH: More principles and sustainable business models. Less venture funding.
ABA: What characteristic do you most admire in other driven/creative people?
EH: Affection for and curiosity about humans, and the world in general. Never wanting to stop learning.
Have you ordered the second edition of Just Enough Research, yet? Done well, research will save your team time and money by reducing unknowns and creating a solid foundation to build the right thing, in the most effective way. Add Conversational Design to your order and save 10% (15% when you buy paperbacks & ebooks)!