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Oct 03, 2019 14:04:53


by @basilesamel PATRON | 231 words | 389πŸ”₯ | 437πŸ’Œ

Basile Samel

Current day streak: 389πŸ”₯
Total posts: 437πŸ’Œ
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Writing a good interview article is not easy. 

You need to ask the right questions. A good interviewer is more of a psychologist than a writer. It takes a lot of emotional intelligence to truly understand the interviewee: the motives, the personality behind the mask, the life choices... you can't get a glimpse of the other person without warm compassion. Getting in the shoes of someone else requires a long research process that could be called virtual stalking. The better the details, the more real it feels.

A badly written interview is a monologue where the interviewee answers pre-determined generic questions. A great interview results from a deep dialog between a writer and an individual, a form of maΓ―eutic where the writer brings out the best, or the worst, in someone. 

Interviewing is not innate and it takes practice to get good at it, which is the personal reason why I initially joined the content team at Makerlog and why I'm shortly launching a blog at 200 Words a Day to interview fellow writers. 

As an introvert, it's a huge challenge. I'm still experimenting with how I perform my interviews: with or without video calls, with or without pre-determined questions, writing tone and format... the interview process is hard to streamline, it requires a lot of time, patience, and willingness to experiment.

From Basile Samel's collection:

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    Abe avatar Abe | Oct 03, 2019 15:59:03
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      @abrahamKim working on the blog :) when can we proceed to the first interview???

      Basile Samel avatar Basile Samel | Oct 03, 2019 16:02:14
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      lmao my first definite and scheduled interview is Oct 13 (next sunday)

      I'm trying to do one earlier, but at the latest the first one will be OCT 13 and then I'll have it transcripted by OCT 15

      Abe avatar Abe | Oct 03, 2019 16:09:21
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      @abrahamKim nice :)

      Basile Samel avatar Basile Samel | Oct 03, 2019 16:28:45
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      @abrahamKim shoot me an email if I can help

      Basile Samel avatar Basile Samel | Oct 03, 2019 16:29:01
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    @basilesamel the interview techniques that ux researchers use tend to be great for such interviews too. Things like asking for stories instead of opinions, ask why x 5, making it a semi-structured conversation instead of an interview, etc etc. Might be useful for you?


    Jason Leow avatar Jason Leow | Oct 03, 2019 20:44:46
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    @basilesamel Hummnnn. Nice One.

    What do you think of Indie Hackers Interviews? Same style adopted by Patt Walls for Starter Stories.

    Been generic and predetermined would you say they are badly written or better put can be improved?

    Seun Oyebode avatar Seun Oyebode | Oct 03, 2019 13:43:11
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      @seunoyebode Of course they could. There is always room for improvement.

      Starter Stories feel a bit too mechanic, it's clearly written by the founders, so everything is to be taken with a grain of salt.

      IH's style is interesting, it's a genuine dialog. It's originally a podcast, so the transcript is a Q&A with some human interactions.

      My favorite style remains the narrative kind, not a Q&A but a well-written story highlighting first principles. It's a lot harder to do because you have to research and get a good overview of what the interviewee is talking about. It's obviously non-scalable for IH and SS, but that's the kind of top-quality interviews you can find on Maker Mag or more mainstream journals for example. Ashley Vance's biography on Elon Musk comes to mind.

      IH & SS don't write anything, they just let the founders express themselves. Yes, they do write interesting questions, but it could be deeper and after 10 interviews you don't feel like you're learning anything ground-breaking. Just another hack to add to the list.

      Basile Samel avatar Basile Samel | Oct 03, 2019 16:00:45
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      @seunoyebode It's not easy. I don't think I would do better.

      Basile Samel avatar Basile Samel | Oct 03, 2019 16:01:47
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      @basilesamel Wow, I love this. I'm considering a similar site. This expose of yours has given me lots of perspectives.

      I guess the scalability has to do with patience. If you're comfortable exchanging several emails asking one question at a time, I think the quality could improve.

      Seun Oyebode avatar Seun Oyebode | Oct 03, 2019 15:13:19
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      @seunoyebode Go for video interviews then. If the exchange is more genuine, it transpires in the final article. Start with a set of questions, then see where it leads during the conversation, and try to deduce more general truths during the process. It has to go beyond the scope of the exchange in my opinion.

      Basile Samel avatar Basile Samel | Oct 03, 2019 16:31:51
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      @basilesamel True words. Videos would make the interview genuine and transparent.

      However, starting with videos, doesn't seem like MVP? Might require some budget or what do you think?

      Seun Oyebode avatar Seun Oyebode | Oct 03, 2019 15:48:13
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      @seunoyebode no :P I mean, video interviews that you translate into texts. Asking the questions in a 1o1 video call, just recording the sound to use as notes, not to publish.

      Basile Samel avatar Basile Samel | Oct 03, 2019 18:13:51
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