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UXR Spotlight: Brian Greene

Brian Greene
Brian Greene

This spotlight was part of USERWEEKLY - a weekly email to understand what is happening in user research. It's the best way to keep up on trends, methodologies, insights across the industry, and meet new researchers. Each week, the newsletter captures the pulse of our community and answers a simple question: What mattered in User Research this week?

Tell us a little about yourself, Brian Greene.
Hey! I’m Brian Greene, Head of Research at StreamYard, a web-based studio that enables creators to easily livestream, record, and share professional quality with their audiences. I also lead our internal R&D Squad, focusing on the far horizon by exploring and defining big bets for our business. Outside of StreamYard, I’m always involved with education and teaching in one way or another. Most recently, I designed, developed, and currently lead a cohort-based Product Discovery course in partnership with Panash, and I also teach User Research and Discovery to aspiring PMs at La Nave Nodriza, a design school in Madrid. Lastly, I’m an American but live on the Mediterranean coast of Spain with my wife and three boys :).

What’s your favorite thing about your current job?
I love stories, so I’m lucky that I get to uncover, explore, and share human experiences for a living. But I also love creating new stories, so for me the best part of what I do is facilitating the transformation of those experiences into products and services that we launch into the world for people to use, changing what’s possible, and creating new narratives. To me, that’s one way we’re privileged as researchers because turning stories into products is special, and that specialness is amplified when we work in a problem space that feeds our already abundant curiosity. This is very much the case for me here at StreamYard because I get to spend my time working with content creators, streamers, and podcasters, all of whom want to make and share new things themselves. I’m grateful that I get to help them share their creativity with the world.

What was the funniest/weirdest experience you had in a user study?
There’s one interview from my time at Etsy that sticks with me. At the time I was working with Etsy sellers, who are creative entrepreneurs, mostly women, with a passion for making handcrafted goods. At the time we’d kicked off an initiative to bring our product org closer to customers by hosting large events where we’d internally broadcast remote interviews that I led. This particular interview was with one of our top sellers in the UK where she lived and worked from a caravan with her husband and kids. She did everything from there, making her clothes, storing them, packaging them, shipping them, and running her entire operation from a laptop.

The interview started more or less as they always do, but was quickly and repeatedly interrupted by her kids. As a parent, I didn’t think much of it until one of the little ones started crying. She said he was hungry and began to breastfeed him. I offered to stop but she was unfazed, effortlessly continuing her explanation of how she thinks about her enterprise and what it means to her until another one of her kids started interrupting. He kept saying “daddy,” “daddy.” And I was so confused until she explained that he thought I was his father. Apparently, I looked just like him. I tried to convince him it wasn’t so, but he never quite believed me. He too was hungry, so the interview continued while the seller fixed him a snack. His hunger sated, and bored by his father/not-father he ran off, leaving us to return to our talk of making and shipping. It was all so unpredictable and serendipitous, like so much of research, but that space is exactly where the magic happens, and this interview was magical, a perfect representation of the authentic lived experience of a successful Etsy seller, who doesn’t bat an eye at the chaos around her, feeding her children while creating, connecting, making and shipping, unperturbed by a person who looks like her husband but isn’t, a person who’s simultaneously sharing her reality with a large room full of colleagues responsible for making her life a little bit easier and her business a little more successful.

How can people find you?
You can find me on LinkedIn. I love talking about the future of our field, and how we can truly unlock the full impact of what we’re capable of. I'm a big believer that AI and the recent shifts within tech make the expertise and specialized skillset we have more valuable than ever before. More tactically, I’m also always up for conversations about the role of Research Leadership in organizations, building systemic continuous learning practices, research enablement, and product discovery.

Thank you, Brian Greene!