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1278 interviews since 2009

A picture of Ximena Vengoechea
Image by Kara Brodgesell.

Ximena Vengoechea

UX researcher, writer, illustrator

in illustrator, researcher, writer

Who are you, and what do you do?

I'm Ximena Vengoechea, UX researcher, writer, and illustrator, and author of the new book Listen Like You Mean It: Reclaiming the Lost Art of True Connection from Penguin Random House. I'm a frequent contributor to FastCompany's Leadership column and The Muse, where I write about professional and personal development. I also write a monthly newsletter, Letters from Ximena, on human behavior and personal growth. My work as a user researcher informs much of my writing and pulls on fields of psychology, anthropology, sociology, technology, and literature. Previously, I worked at Pinterest, Twitter, and LinkedIn in both individual contributor and leadership roles.

What hardware do you use?

Even though I work in tech I'm not in the upgrade-all-devices-annually camp. I'm more in the use-it-till-it-dies camp, hence a very beat up (maybe eight years old?) MacBook Air and iPhone 7. They are old but they work! No complaints. I conduct a lot of interviews for my book so I've also upgraded my video and audio setup. I have a Blue Yeti mic and a Logitech HD1080p webcam. It puts a little extra pep in my step to know the quality of my calls will be good. I also have an iPad which I use for illustration. Until recently I'd been using the Paper FiftyThree Stylus, but just switched over to the Apple Pencil. Still getting used to it. I also have assorted ergonomic accoutrements to keep my wrists happy (external keyboard, mouse, etc), and a standing desk converter, which weighs a ton but is worth it. I can't sit for too long or my legs start to hurt, so it's been a lifesaver during the pandemic.

And what software?

Tools I find useful: Temi for transcription, Google Docs for writing, Adobe's suite of tools for assorted illustration editing needs, Paper from FiftyThree and Procreate for illustrating.

What would be your dream setup?

At work I'm kind of a monitor hog but that hasn't been possible to replicate at home. I'd love to have dual monitors in addition to my laptop. I like to have access to multiple documents at once and keep themed desktop spaces (personal, work, project A, project B), and having multiple monitors makes all of that feel seamless. That would be nice.

The truth is though, in an ideal (not pandemic) world, you'd probably find me at a coffee shop, hunched over my laptop, killing my wrists and in total flow. I don't even like coffee, but I do like company and the feeling that everyone, including me, is working on their next great idea.