The UX research reckoning is here | Judd Antin (Airbnb, Meta)

Lenny's Podcast: Product | Growth | Career

Jan 4 2024 • 1 hr 14 mins

Judd Antin has spent 15 years leading research and design teams at companies like Yahoo, Meta, and Airbnb. His direct reports have gone on to lead user research at Figma, Notion, Slack, Robinhood, Duolingo, AllTrails, and more. In our conversation, we unpack the transformation that the user-research field is experiencing. Specifically:

• Where user research went wrong over the past decade

• The three types of research—macro, middle-range, and micro—and the purpose of each

• How to effectively integrate researchers into the product development process

• The “user-centered performance” phenomenon and why it’s a waste of time

• Common tropes about PMs, from researchers

• The ideal ratio of researchers in a company

• Why Judd says NPS is useless, and what to use instead

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Where to find Judd Antin:

• LinkedIn:

• Website:

• Blog:

Where to find Lenny:

• Newsletter:

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In this episode, we cover:

(00:00) Judd’s background

(04:16) Critiques and responses to Judd’s post “The UX Research Reckoning Is Here”

(07:33) The state of user research

(08:53) Macro, middle-range, and micro research

(14:05) What teams get wrong when it comes to research

(15:46) The importance of integrating research from the beginning

(17:30) Traits of great researchers

(19:53) Advice for evaluating user researchers

(21:10) Balancing business and product focus

(23:55) User-centered performance

(26:42) The role of intuition in product development

(30:15) Checking your gut instincts

(32:54) Common tropes about PMs, from researchers

(41:02) A/B testing vs. user research

(43:15) Hindsight bias and narrative fallacy

(44:55) Making recommendations based on research

(47:26) Advice for teams on how to leverage researchers

(51:18) How product managers can be better partners to user researchers

(56:53) The ideal ratio of researchers in a company

(59:43) Empowering user researchers to drive impact

(01:03:39) The limitations of NPS as a metric

(01:06:48) The risks of dogfooding

(01:08:51) Lightning round


• Matt Gallivan on LinkedIn:

• Janna Bray on LinkedIn:

• Celeste Ridlen on LinkedIn:

• Rebecca Gray on LinkedIn:

• Hannah Pileggi on LinkedIn:

• Louise Beryl on LinkedIn:

• The UX Research Reckoning Is Here:

• The end of the “free money” era:

• Cognitive biases:

• IDEO design thinking:

Everything Is Obvious: How Common Sense Fails Us:

• Patrick Collison’s tweet:

• Brian Chesky on LinkedIn:

• Brian Chesky on Lenny’s Podcast:

• NPS:

• What is CSAT and how do you measure it?:

• Michael Murakami on LinkedIn:

Bad Leadership: What It Is, How It Happens, Why It Matters:

Demon Copperhead:

All Systems Red: The Murderbot Diaries:

The Last of Us on HBO:

• Belay glasses:

• Epictetus: Control What You Can—Especially Yourself:

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change:

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