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This week on What to Think, we talk to Etan Lightstone, the vice president of design for New Relic, about design trends in enterprise software.

Editor’s note: This is the last episode of VentureBeat’s podcast — in this format, at least. Use the comments below or email me if you would like to be notified when we resume podcasting.

A decade ago, you’d never have heard the word “design” and “enterprise” uttered in the same sentence. But design and user experience are becoming increasingly critical to business software (and SaaS) providers, as try-before-you-buy and consumer-focused marketing becomes the primary distribution channel into new customers.

That is to say: If the people making decisions about your software are the people actually using it — not the command-line-loving Linux jockeys in the IT department — it damn well better be easy to use.

New Relic has figured this out, as have other recent successes in the enterprise world, like Dropbox, Zendesk, Box, and more. (Disclosure: New Relic is the sponsor of this podcast.)

Lightstone tells us how the design team at New Relic gets its ideas, tests them, and how he uses data from actual users to improve the product. He also talks about his interest in data visualization and his design inspirations, including Edward Tufte and Mike Bostock.

Plus, we tell you what to think about:

All this and more is in our latest weekly episode. Give it a listen!

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