Stopping a conversation at a cocktail party is easy. Claim to be either an accountant or an anthropologist. You will quickly find your conversation partner has an urgent need to visit the bar, buffet or bathroom.
The truth is anthropologists are fun. We get into things, go native etc. One of the best technology anthropologists works for Nokia. His name is Jan Chipchase and his blog is here .
He does great field work and has helped Nokia dominate in the field of phones in India +70% with growth of 9m handsets/month.
I used my anthropology skills to study entertainment and gaming needs of mobile users in the Middle East in the past. It was an eye opener. I still look, learn and study with the eyes and approach of an anthropologist and designer. For anyone in product design, I have one recommendation, please, please get out of the office. Visit your customer where they live, then visit them where they work and play. Then and only then start designing a product.
Everyone will be a lot happier and have more fun that way :)