How our research has evolved

We have been researching the minimum viable book for a year now and in that time our approach has changed and evolved. We have changed too. Our research has fuelled our learning and being flexible has allowed us to explore avenues that we didn’t expect.

When we started on this journey we raised a fear about research, the fear was:

“It’s not researched enough / there’s not enough data”

And our mitigation was:

“We will conduct multiple workshops and surveys per chapter”

So we set about planning workshops in a number of locations: London, Bristol, Berlin and Austin Texas. We brainstormed some starter topics and asked our readers what they wanted to know most about. While we were away, we planned interviews with interesting people in the spare time around the workshops so we could dig a little deeper into our topics.

What we found was that while the workshops were a great way to meet people and set us going, the bit that has really got us excited were the interviews.

We threw our net quite wide. The criteria for people we wanted to talk to was simple: people who make things or get things done. This led us to meet hackers, coders, makers, curators, inventors, educators, business owners as well as agile and lean practitioners. We found that some of the most interesting conversations happened in the most unexpected places.

Our interview style has always been fairly laid back and this hasn’t changed, we find a quiet spot and let the conversation flow. Initially we used the interview chapters as a starting point, but now we usually kick-off by asking people for their back stories, then gently guide the conversation towards some of the common themes we have found throughout our journey.

We see the value in remaining flexible and allowing for emerging ideas and topics – it’s really helped us along the way. Even as we approach our Beta deadline in a few months, we aren’t expecting our approach to stay the same. And we’ll welcome all those changes.
As Eve from Make ATX said in one of our interviews:

“Accept what you are doing might not always turn out the way you want it to, but who knows, it might turn into something better.”

Emily & Amy

Photo by: marcwathieu

Austin Adventures

Our Austin Texas adventure started when we waved goodbye to a rainy London on Saturday morning, only to be greeted the craziest thunderstorms and flooding on Saturday evening and a fantastic temporary home in Hyde Park.

Austin was all about the food and the people.

Over the course of a very fast week, we indulged in some amazing food including: PoutineBiscuits and Gravy (we were randomly filmed by The Food Network’s Eat Street while we were eating this!) and a LOT of tacos.

The people in Austin were amazing – so willing to give up their time to share their stories. We talked to a fascinating range of folks with very different experiences and insights. We were lucky enough to collect stories of fun, failure, and JUST GET STARTED from hardware makers to art curators to game designers to laser cutters to agile practitioners… and more!

Thanks so much to our willing interviewees:

John Kestner from Supermechanical, Brooke Davis of Makeshift, Scott Bellware from Lean Software Austin, Jo Lammert from White Whale Games, Marshall Vaughan and Martin Bogomolni from Hackerspace, Veronica Roberts from the Blanton, Matt Roberts from Agile Austin, James Adam from Exciting, Kristen & Eve from Make, Mike Langford from Local PourSilona Bonewald, Kami Wilt from Austin Tinkering School and Janelle Klein from New Iron.

Your generous stories expanded our minds and of course, our book :).

As usual, we also hosted a workshop with a small group of Austinites to dive into our Minimum Viable Book topics as voted by you. More on that coming very soon.

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