As part of a recent project de-brief Mary Sorber offered the following perspective: “Sean Murphy has given me a lot of practical advice on thought leadership. He has helped me raise my profile through my writing and speaking.
Mary Sorber: SKMurphy Offers Practical Advice on Thought Leadership
“Sean Murphy has given me a lot of practical advice on thought leadership. He has helped me raise my profile through my writing and speaking.
Four pieces of advice around writing have been really helpful.
- Get started. Get the key ideas out of your head. Write a crappy first draft. Coherent and crisp will come later
- Alternatives to facing the blank page. If typing feels cumbersome, scribble a short outline, then set a timer for 20 minutes and talk to a microphone. Or partner with a content writer and have them interview you.
- Don’t do one-shots. Anticipate the need not just to revise but to build on your success. Think about three ways you can leverage or reuse the article or presentation.
- Write for the audience you want to attract. Keep their questions and needs clearly in mind as you write. Then, as you revise, focus on serving them.
“In addition to advice and encouragement, what’s impressive about Sean is that he can suggest connections to other books or articles that help me put my ideas into perspective. It’s not just that he reads widely. It’s that he can recall it and bring the relevant bits to my situation. He connects the dots that allow me to ground my insights in existing traditions and prior art. He enables my work to stand on the shoulders of giants.”
Mary Sorber, User experience research thought leader.
I first met Mary Sorber when I was an advisor at a Startup Weekend in 2012. She was pitching the need for a solution to the problem of “grandma has a big bag of pills.” She was articulate and committed to applying technology to humane uses that would increase the quality of life. Since then we have collaborated in different ways on many projects. She has a degree in Management Science from Stanford: unlike many UX researchers I meet who tend to be less mathematical, she is a qualitative researcher who understands quantitative models. She is at home analyzing not only stories and comments from interviews but also quantitative information.
First and foremost, she is a phenomenal interviewer with tremendous empathy. I did not think I missed much in customer interviews until Mary sat in on a few. She spotted implications from interviewee remarks that I had missed and asked follow-up questions that brought greater clarity to a particular need or constraint on a product feature set.