“What do you do here?”

In one of my past roles I found myself working at Microsoft. In any large organisation, especially one with such an iconic role in the computer industry, the founders become something of a legend.

The “old hands” would tell stories of presenting to Bill Gates. They’d talk about how he would react to a presentation he didn’t agree with. According to the legend, he’d stop a meeting, lean over and ask the presenter “What is it do you do here anyway?”.

I never got the chance to present to Bill Gates, but the question is a good one, particularly when you work in a role that not many people know about. Answering that question well makes you think about how your conducting your job, and what you can do to do it better.

$ whoami

I’m Chris Woods, and I’m an Industrial Researcher.

This mini-series of blog posts will cover Industrial Research within the software industry. It’s going to cover how we conduct research and how that helps us to anticipate changes to our industry.

If you’re an industrial researcher yourself, this series should help you reflect on the approaches you use during your research. For anyone else, the techniques and tricks we cover can be used as part of a wider corporate strategy, to help understand what is happening in the industry and how things may develop.

What prompted me to write?

It was my first industrial research role, and my employer asked me to update my CV with the research I had conducted during my first 12 months. One of my mum’s skills is professional proof reading, and I sent her my CV for a quick once over. She called me that night after I got home, “What is it you do anyway?”