What it’s like to collect user data, a poem

Jul 14 2014

User data is absolutely vital for the startup process. If people do not want to use your product, then why are you even making it?

The only way to know if people will pay for or even use your product is to go out and ask them. As important as this process is, it can be truly miserable. The truth is no one wants to take the time to fill out a survey or test a product. People just want to be left alone.

After doing some user testing recently for a product I’m developing at Reese News Lab, this is what I assume Dr. Suess would say about the subject.

I smile and ask
“Would you use our product?”
So far today really has sucked.

“Why not?” she cries.
Running to get far away.
The way she looked. I ruined her day.

“What did I do?” I thought to myself.
This isn’t a trial. I don’t care what she says.
The way people squirm you would think I’m Cortez.

Their faces turn white.
Their pants fill with pee.
People on the street they truly fear me.

I really just want them to answer some questions.
They don’t understand what I try to convey.
I only want them to answer a survey.

It’s getting much worse.
On Facebook they’re getting offended.
My status as friend is becoming contended.

Still we push on.
User data is vital.
We cannot stay idle

I feel for myself
Poor little me
When others come asking, I too have to pee.

Our team has tried a million different ways to get user test results.

We have mailed letters to random houses, stormed Franklin Street (the main drag in Chapel Hill), sat on various places on campus, and trolled the Internet to try and reach our audience.

The most helpful advice I can give to anyone trying to get public feedback is that you cannot be afraid. There really is nothing to be afraid of. The worst-case scenario is that someone shoots you down and tells you to go away. In reality, this is really not bad thing at all. In fact, if it happens enough you know something about your project or presentation is off, and all information is valuable.

Though we are making progress, you can never have enough data, so we are still trying to find ways to collect more. Hopefully, the end result will be a desirable, easy-to-use product that people will fight in the streets to give us money to buy.

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