I don’t blame the consultant for wanting to pack the room (at $300 per head), but thirty-some people split into five teams turns out to be too many. At my table there are seven representing six companies: developer, product manager, analytics guy, three UX designers, and me.
Six men, one woman. Over the course of the day, three of the men will assume the role of Holder of the Sharpie. The woman, it is decided, will sketch the personas. The two minority reps (me and a South Asian) take a back seat to the proceedings; the room has glass on three sides, and the echo of “them” drowns out both of us.
Listen to us require some effort, Kemosabe — we no force you, if you not want…
One of the slides in the consultant’s deck (barely visible because of the sunlight flooding the room) is a black-and-white picture of a rock guitarist. “Okay, so I’m dating myself a little with this slide,” says the consultant. “Does anyone know who this is?”
"Greg Allman?" asks a guy in the back.
"No. But that’s a good guess — similar era. Anyone else?"
From my seat, all I can see is the hair. “Malmsteen?” I ask.
The consultant laughs. “Malmsteen! No, it’s not Malmsteen. But I haven’t heard anyone guess that before. Malmsteen…I like it.”
After learning why this photo is relevant to our business model, we do a fifteen-minute hypothesizing exercise. The echo of Kemosabes reverberates before I can chime in with a suggestion:
We believe that [opera singing lessons] for [張] will achieve [increased volume and range of the upper register]. We will know this to be true when we see [him voluntarily sing “Strong as Death" at his next karaoke outing.