When Gregg reached out to me about this project in early 2017, he had an outline—a seed of a book that sprouted from a popular talk he gave at conferences. We were strangers then, but he had worked with people I knew and trusted, and he spent time with my own work before reaching out.
Looking back, I probably shouldn’t have taken a freelance project back then. I was early on in my parenting journey, grappling with political upheaval at work, and in the middle of buying a house and uprooting from New York. I mentioned my wobbly toddler and unpredictable availability, but we met and he hired me anyway, so we started collaborating on the book. When I asked Gregg what he was looking for in an editor, he said: “Someone who can alert me to areas I need to explore, keep me from going into the weeds, and read with sharp eyes.” He brought a hearty seedling and I brought a knife. Luckily, the timing worked out for both of us.
We started talking about book shapes, book goals, and what he did and didn’t like about other books that might sit on the shelf beside his. I knew he wanted to be less prescriptive than other titles—there’s not one right way to do user research. We met regularly, monthly at first and more frequently as time went on. The outline changed and changed again. By the end of the first year, I decided to apply to Vox Media (where Gregg and several other friends worked at the time). I didn’t plan it this way, but what a gift it was to be peers and advisors for each other for 2.5 years. I got to advise Gregg on the book, and he leveled up my research skills on every Chorus project.
Over time, Gregg decided to bring more voices and perspectives into the book. He interviewed other researchers, posted a survey to the community, and collected essays from contributors. He pulled everything together into a cohesive narrative, and I edited the prose. Things started speeding up this year with full chapters, developmental editing, and line editing. Gregg designed the cover and laid everything out. I just finished proofreading this beautiful book and it’ll be worth every penny. (And now I can devote my nights and weekends to rewatching Star Wars.)
I have so many other things to say about this process and this book, but for now, go check it out and subscribe to Gregg’s newsletter. The print edition will be out on January 19.