Yeah — I”ve got an “M” and an “A” but an “F” not a “B”…. (F=Fine Arts ; “B” = Business) Whenever I interview for a gig as a Business Analyst, Strategist, Usability Specialist or Web Analytics Geek, the interviewer ALWAYS asks me some version of this question : “how did you get from theatre to <insert job title here> ?”. — their inner monologue really is something like: “how the hell did some drama major grow up to be a consultant who works with Business — and, most important, should I trust her?
I Say, “Yup!” Earning an MFA in theatrical design and production taught me how to understand and focus on an objective, and to communicate with an audience, and to create experiences. When I get a blank look, I ramble into how I”ve been “classically trained” to create an “environment for the agent of the action” as a student of Aristotelian philosophy. And then I talk about the bazillions of script and character analysis that I was forced to do as an undergrad .. and how understanding the character”s desire, motivations, tasks and wishes grow out of observation and research. LOTS of research. To describe this I talk about how Tom Hanks stayed in character for six days in boot camp for “Saving Private Ryan.” — an extreme example of contextual inquiry. Blah Blah…..
I am usually sweating now. If the person is nodding, they are usually understanding the relationship between theatre, design, and user research / experience. But Business Strategy? Process?
Here is the important part; a successful career in theatre, requires that one can successfully create, innovate, and deliver an outstanding product in a high-stress, collaborative, often chaotic environment — given extreme deadlines and make money for the producers.
Can’t do this? FAIL. ( See Mel Brooks” 1968 Movie “The Producers”) I”ve taken what I”ve learned as a Drama Major – and focused on optimizing user experience for business success…. Some of the things I can help you do:
- Gather the user measures needed to understand potential and existing customers better
- Improve the user experience of an existing product or web site
- Help to develop the process and the skills needed to create excellent products that people like to use
- Use research and usability evaluation techniques to help your customers do what they need to do for you to benefit your business
- Use measurement and analytics to report on the success of your Web sites and applications