My understanding of how we consume information is that we bias based on the source. This is somewhat unconscious and may lead to you to ignore/refute/discount information because the source is of a particular gender, ethnicity, religion, skin colour, demographic, yada, etc. I don't like Jim therefore whatever he says about space ratchets is bunk!

So what if you didn't know who was making these statements. How would it change how you interpreted the information? What if we standardised the questions as well so they were not target to what the person was working on now, where they worked or who they were.

These questions were designed to be focused not on who you are or what you do but how you approach problems, deal with stress, find a balance between work and life, etc.

You get to read the interview and have a little bit of a guess of who it might, or just enjoy it. All the words had been edited by me beforehand so there was a level of consistency and quality in the English used whilst still allowing the authors voice to come through. This helped obfuscate English as a second language. Although by the end of the project we were translating the interviews into English, Spanish, Portuguese and Mandarin Chinese.

At the end of the interview is a photo of our interviewee and their name. A glorious 26:10 black and white photo, often taken by someone in who works in the same city as the interviewee and has a passion for photography.

Simple. And yet contentious.

Some people didn't like not knowing who was speaking the words. These people would scroll to the bottom to find out who it was and then go back and read. Then they would complain to me about having to do that. Others loved the surprise. Generally everyone enjoyed the read and we all learnt a little bit about people we didn't work with.

By the time I had left the project in 2013 I had interviewed 41 people working in 11 countries and had a damn fine balance between the sexes. It was all good fun.

The project was internal only to ThoughtWorks. It was a place for us to learn more about each other and a place to let it all come out. I believe a group of people are looking at making the interviews public but it's a case of going back and requesting permission from the original interviewees, some of whom have left ThoughtWorks.

I can however make one interview public so you can get a feel for the project. Maybe you'd like to start your own interview series in the same format?

Note: The interview was deliberatly not designed for mobile reading. This was because I knew that most people couldn't be bothered going through the 2-factor auth process just to read it. I've used an iframe to drop the content into this page. Therefore it doesn't look good on a mobile. I know this and it's not something I'm going to fix.



The photes in the banner were taken by the following people: Adam Scott, Akshay Dhavle, Anshul Mengi, Craig Wattrus, David Pattinson, Fabio Pereira, Frederic Lemay, Gabriel Notari, Graham Brooks, Jess Kirwan, Kevin Yeung, Korny Sietsma, Mike Gardiner, Neil Craven, Ranjan Sakalley, Ray Grasso, Ryan Boucher, Shakir Shakiel, Tom Sulston, Yashodan Kanni


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Ryan Boucher

@distributedlife