Many businesses have a tendency to overlook the most important part of their organizations - the Customer. In this extremely engaging session, Alex introduces a new way of thinking about how companies approach understanding their users, customers, consumers, fans, followers etc. – in short, understanding the people whose lives they affect. The new approach and mindset are applicable to companies of any size – from rebellious startups to established “captains of industry” type corporations. The new research mindset introduced by Alex challenges calcified assumptions about how we approach understanding customers. These assumptions are most vividly apparent in large companies whose bureaucratic structure developed through the years establishes silos and sharp boundaries between understanding people for sales and marketing purposes versus understanding people for product design and development purposes. Once we realize that the final object of our understanding are real people with real behaviors, emotions, motivations, goals, etc., we will recognize that our customer research has to have a common business objective and a coordinated and complementary sets of methods across the whole organization. The talk will highlight a cross-functional, cross-silo research case study from Zappos – a company that was built and operates on challenging common wisdom and the status quo.