FourThe Power of Affinity

The quickest way to have empathy for someone else is to be just like them. For companies, the answer is to hire their customers.

WE’VE ALREADY SEEN how Microsoft was able to succeed quickly with Xbox when the company hired hardcore gamers to develop its first console. Those gamers successfully navigated the trade-offs and compromises of the product development process to create an amazing game system that people like them would want to play. But for anyone seeking to create widespread empathy in their own organization, there’s more to the story. And it starts with a guy named Seamus.

By the time 26-year-old Seamus Blackley arrived at Microsoft’s headquarters to work as a graphics programmer, he was trying to ...

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