We dropped our bags, five of us getting back from a trip to share our boons with the Wanukus.
Meluna the designer, Sojuku the developer, Jakubu the technical architect, Danak the systems admin, and Kutoka the counter.
Kutoka, being the oldest in the group, naturally feels the urge to start the conversation after a long and stressful trip.
“So, that didn’t go as we expected, huh?” Silence.
Meluna gasps in frustration “The Wanukus can be some of the most difficult group of people to get along with.”
We went on a trip to the Wanukus after a long deliberation on how we can get them to spend more time sharing data on our platform.
The Wanukus are a seasoned tribe of craftspeople. Astute at what they do, creating baskets that store fruits longer without the need for artificial preservation.
These baskets are eclectic enough that they fit in nicely with modern decor. In fact, a niche group of piano lovers have started a trend of taking photos of their baby grands with Wanuku baskets sporting their favorite fruits.
The Wanukus have come to be known as the best at creating these baskets, and they take a lot of pride in it. So much so that they have their customers drive for hours to get their products.
“We need a list of each product and the quantity that they have left after each sale so that people who drive out to them know exactly what they are going to get,” said Jakubu.
Meluna responded, “I thought I made that interface look just like their shops so that they would not be worried that this would take away from their culture.”
“We all thought that the camera to scan their sheets was the easiest way to get the interface updated without a computer,” said Jakubu.
Sojuku spent so much time programming the optical character recognition to make sure that all variations of their handwriting could be captured correctly.
If they are so protective of their culture, how do we even communicate with them after they start getting questions from the interface?
We all laughed. I had been quiet the entire trip, and I had not participated in this conversation either.
Sojuku and Danak were at their computers, working on the next version of the interface that we were going to create for the Banetis; cattle hide traders.
After I had listened to the entire conversation, I remembered the encounter I had with an old man at the Wanukus.
He was sitting outside and ushered us into the shop where we met with them every day when we demonstrated the interface.
He did not say much, but I caught him on the last day looking back at the shop owner and nodding his head in disapproval.
We had missed an important point. The Wanukus consider their old men to be the ultimate decision-makers even though they do not craft or sell their products.
They simply stand at the door, usher people in, and decide who the shop owners sell to and at what price with simple nods. They are always listening.
One of the subtle best-kept secrets in their culture.
I suggested that Meluna change the interface to have the same look as the stand that the old man uses to keep the souvenirs he shares with everyone who visits.
He gives these souvenirs with a big smile on his face even after a scathing nod of disapproval after listening to the buyer engage with the shop owner.
I suggested that we take one more trip to demonstrate the interface to the old man.
The Wanukus now use our interface, and the old man uses the chatbot to let us know when their sheets are not scanning correctly.
We have characters for his nods. A video feed when we are not understanding what is coming through the interface.
I did not count myself, we are a group of six. I am that guy, you can call me the medium. I listen to people and interpret things. I also engage with our users and tell our stories.
I am usually quiet until I have something to say, so you will never notice me in the group. When in action, I do many things. Mostly observe people.
Welcome to our world.