My guest today is Andrew Moffatt, Partner & Chief Strategy Officer at OpinionRoute. 

Founded in 2013, OpinionRoute is a services and software company focused on quantitative market research. They are most widely known for their CleanID offering designed to identify survey participants who are bots or survey farms. 

Prior to joining OpinionRoute, Andrew spent 17 years at Survey Sampling International which was acquired by Dynata where he started as a Sales Director and moved up to SVP, Global Strategic Partnerships. 

Find Andrew Online:

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/andrew-moffatt-7064422/ 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/moff727 

Website: https://www.opinionroute.com/ 

Find Jamin Online:

Email: jamin@happymr.com 

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/jaminbrazil 

Twitter: www.twitter.com/jaminbrazil  

Find Us Online: 

Twitter: www.twitter.com/happymrxp  

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/company/happymarketresearch  

Facebook: www.facebook.com/happymrxp  

Website: www.happymr.com  

Music:

“Clap Along” by Auditionauti: https://audionautix.com

This Episode’s Sponsor:

This episode is brought to you by SurveyMonkey. Almost everyone has taken its surveys, but did you know that SurveyMonkey offers complete solutions for market researchers? In addition to flexible surveys, their global Audience panel, and research services, SurveyMonkey just launched a fast and easy way to collect market feedback, with 7 new Expert Solutions for concept and creative testing. With built-in, customizable methodology, AI-Powered Insights, and industry benchmarking, you can get feedback on your ideas from your target market–in a presentation-ready format, by the way–in as little as an hour. 

For more information on SurveyMonkey Market Research Solutions, visit surveymonkey.com/market-research. Mention the Happy Market Research Podcast to the SurveyMonkey sales team before June 30th, for a discount off of your first project. 


[00:00:02]

Jamin Brazil: Hi. I’m Jamin Brazil. You’re listening to the Happy Market Research podcast. My guest today is Andrew Moffatt, partner and chief strategy officer at OpinionRoute. Founded in 2013, OpinionRoute is a services and software company focused on quantitative market research. They are widely known for their clear ID offering designs to identify surrogate participants who are either bots or come from a survey farm. Prior to joining OpinionRoute, Andrew spent 17 years at Survey Sampling International, which was acquired by Dynata where he started as a sales director and then moved up to SVP of global strategic partnerships. Andrew, thanks very much for joining me on the Happy Market Research podcast today.

[00:00:45]

Andrew Moffatt: Thanks for having me Jamin Brazil. Nice to be here.

[00:00:50]

Jamin Brazil: This episode is brought to you by Survey Monkey. Today almost everyone has taken a survey but did you know that Survey Monkey offers complete solutions for market researchers. In addition to flexible survey, their global audience panel and research services Survey Monkey has launched a fast and easy way to collect market feedback. They have seven new expert solutions for concept and creative testing. With built-in, customized methodologies, AI-powered insights, and industry benchmarking, you can get feedback on your ideas from your target market in a presentation-ready format. And by the way, in as little as an hour. For more information on Survey Monkey’s market research solutions visit Survey Monkey.com/market-research. That’s Survey Monkey.com/market-research. Mention the Happy Market Research podcast to the Survey Monkey sales team before June 30th for a discount off your first project. Before we jump into the company, I want to talk a little bit about yourself. Give us some context. Tell us about your parents and how they informed what you do today.

[00:02:02]

Andrew Moffatt: Sure. So I grew up in Ireland actually. And most of the states in my early 20s and actually moved straight from college in Ireland to Connecticut to work at SSI back in the late ‘90s. Before I guess ended up in the states, obviously grew up at home in rural Ireland and my mom and dad quite interestingly never really had a lot but never wanted for anything I would say at the same time. And grew up with cows at my back wall, not like you have here in some urban areas in the states. And my dad worked in a factory for gosh, probably 20 years doing shift work and making cheese and butter and things like that. And then all of a sudden one day decided to leave and take redundancy when he had five kids and arrived home one day and just couldn’t do factory life anymore. And from that redundancy my mom actually started her own business and had a video store in my local town. So we were the local Blockbuster as you could say. And then my dad took that same business and put it on the road into different parts of rural Ireland in the countryside. So like driving around in a van and delivering videos to people who didn’t have the means to get to a bigger town or just wanted to watch movies, which in those days you didn’t have Netflix, right? It was physical movies and showing up to people’s doors.

[00:03:42]

Jamin Brazil: This would have been like VHS cassette tapes, right?

[00:03:45]

Andrew Moffatt: VHS cassette tapes, exactly. And so I remember like sitting at my kitchen table looking through movies that would be coming out in the next three to six months and picking out which ones we wanted to buy for the store and it was quite fun. And obviously now I’m an entrepreneur today coincidentally, permanently left the non-entrepreneurial life around the same time my dad did. The one thing that I’ll say about my mom as she kind of ran the video store is that when that business fell apart due to Netflix and cable and all of those things, she didn’t just like shut the door. She actually created a new business in its place. So one week she had a video store and within two weeks later they converted the whole thing into like a dollar store kind of concept. And they still run that today. So it’s that resiliency in times of change and things like that that I admire a lot about them.

[00:04:44]

Jamin Brazil: Have you ever talked to your dad about why he wound up leaving the secure job?

[00:04:49]

Andrew Moffatt: Yeah, I have. And I think for him it was a lot about – he didn’t really have much of a life outside of going to work because when you’re doing shift work, he’d work one week 8 to 4; then 4 to 8; then 12 to 8. So it would be weeks when he wouldn’t get to hang out at home and had five kids, and got tired of that life and just packed it all in one day. And I guess in my life, I kind of had similar experiences. Before I left SSI, I was traveling quite a lot. I’d travel all around the world. I also left at a time when I felt their reasoning for being changed from not being in the forefront of sampling to chasing I think probably things like factories chase, which is more and more money to help drive the business. So I think there’s probably way too similarities to be comfortable in that – in those timelines and those reasons. But I think they were pretty similar.

[00:05:58]

Jamin Brazil: So as it relates, since you kind of connect or you found this period where we’re basically sequestered to our homes, or living areas, has it been a refreshing time?

[00:06:11]

Andrew Moffatt: I love this as weird as that sounds. Well, three years ago when I left SSI I stopped almost all business travel so I don’t really travel at all anymore. And that’s why listening to your podcasts is very great for me because I get to hear what’s happening in the market and the industry and trends and what people are doing. But it’s almost like I wanted to be home more than I was. And you start to see yourself more and hear yourself more and learn about yourself when you don’t have the same distractions. In a way it’s kind of helped me through what we’re doing right now, being quarantined because I’ve done that a little bit and done a lot of self-discovery over the past few years.

[00:06:57]

Jamin Brazil: How old are your children?

[00:06:58]

Andrew Moffatt: I have a 17-year old and a 9-year old.

[00:07:01]

Jamin Brazil: And both are at home?

[00:07:01]

Andrew Moffatt: So one is a junior and one’s in third grade. Yeah, they’re both at home, which has been the best part of this whole thing, just spending more time together.

[00:07:10]

Jamin Brazil: How has that changed that relationship if at all?

[00:07:13]

Andrew Moffatt: So quarantine or just being at home more?

[00:07:15]

Jamin Brazil: The byproduct of the quarantine really with respect to the fact that they’re not necessarily underfoot. I don’t know if they are or not but your proximity and access is certainly a lot greater.

[00:07:25]

Andrew Moffatt: Yeah. They’re doing good. They’re at home. They’re doing virtual schools. I think we’re getting to hang out more like everyone is trying to get out and go for a walk once or twice a day. We get to do that as a family. We do everything – like my son doesn’t have any after-school activities so he’s at home every day. And the less you have to do outside, the more you spend together. And that’s been the best part of the whole thing that we get to spend more time as a family and especially with my son going to college next year, having this time is quite invaluable. You don’t get time like this.

[00:07:57]

Jamin Brazil: It definitely created an opportunity for my family and I think many to create a reprioritization of time spent.

[00:08:05]

Andrew Moffatt: Yeah.

[00:08:05]

Jamin Brazil: As we look forward to the post-world. So it’s going to be interesting. It’s exciting to me to see what it looks like coming out of it. My hope is that we’re able to take some lessons from this time where we’ve really built intimacy at the family level.

[00:08:19]

Andrew Moffatt: Yeah.

[00:08:20]

Jamin Brazil: And leverage that forward as opposed to – I felt like society at large was becoming very white-knuckled in terms of just fitting more and more and more stuff in.

[00:08:31]

Andrew Moffatt: Yeah, I think that’s fair. That’s fair. And almost monotonous as well where you’re repeating things over and over again and it just gives you a chance to reevaluate and rethink what’s important and give things a chance to breathe for a change, including the earth, which has been quite fascinating to see the way pollution has gone down and things start kind of recovering in different parts of the world. It just shows you how little the earth needs in order to become healthier again. A couple of months of shutting down and you have fish showing up in canals that haven’t been there for ages.

[00:09:08]

Jamin Brazil: Which is funny because you might have more fishermen out.

[00:09:12]

Andrew Moffatt: At least they can work in isolation.

[00:09:16]

Jamin Brazil: Give us a little bit of context of OpinionRoute.

[00:09:18]

Andrew Moffatt: Yep.

[00:09:20]

Jamin Brazil: The business has been around since 2013 when you started out, what market problem is it addressing, and what is it addressing today?

[00:09:29]

Andrew Moffatt: Yeah. So when OpinionRoute started out with Terence is my partner because Terence McCarron is the founder, it was very much a service-spaced data collection business. So anything from programming through reporting and putting together a deliverable on the data collection side for clients. And I call it a model similar to MRops for those that know the industry. It was a business that we acquired at SSI and got to know pretty well. And really focused on high-touch, high-service, almost like a boutique sampling firm, if such a thing exists or a data collection firm. And getting senior-level contact and engagement done a lot of the work, which worked for certain clients. It’s certainly not a mass market product. And for those that cared for good service, kind of someone that you can put it into their hands and not worry about it, and a high-quality, data quality focused offering is really how that business grew. And really focusing on getting data sets that are actionable. And it’s kind of led to a lot of the technology products that we’ve built, kind of how we’ve built the data quality over the years. So our Clean ID product, which is in the fraud prevention space and B to B validation products, which is coming out shortly are really just products trying to scale out a lot of what we’ve been doing manually over the past number of years and trying to find the better, more scalable data-driven way to make decisions.

[00:11:20]

Jamin Brazil: Yeah, I think it was Reed Hasting but I might be mistaken that said do things that don’t scale.

[00:11:24]

Andrew Moffatt: He says that all the time. Actually did a masters of scale course at Harvard Business School with him last year and it was – he did the last lecture and he always says do things that don’t scale. And that’s a lot of what we’re doing right now was figuring out what clients are dealing with and putting together solutions that allow them to buy better or have better data in order to make decisions to move forward with.

[00:11:51]

Jamin Brazil: There is a lot of change that has happened in our ecosystem at a global level but now drilling into market research. In a lot of ways market research is coming more important for companies as their opportunities to interact with customers has shifted in many cases.

[00:12:10]

Andrew Moffatt: Yep.

[00:12:11]

Jamin Brazil: This is funny because having living through the.com bust and then the financial crisis, even 9/11, which is a major impact in the US, this is the first real global crisis that I’ve ever faced in my life and so what we’re seeing is I would say is some growth but maybe it’s not categorical inside of market research right now. So I’ve asked this question among about 350 people and I’m really interested in your answer today in this context. How will market research be different in the next few years?

[00:12:44]

Andrew Moffatt: It’s a good question. It’s impossible to predict except to say that technology will certainly be involved. And just doing what it’s doing today, just making things happen better, faster, cheaper whether we like it or not. And I think what you’re seeing is a creation of multiple platforms within the industry that are enabling companies to do a lot more with a lot less. So whether it’s the bigger organizations like a Kantar or an IPSOS, creating platforms, which is essentially try to take parts of their own workflows and systems and automate them as much as they can. And make them accessible to users and tying them to their brands as much as possible. And also you’re seeing platforms through the likes of Dynata, Incent, and Lucid, both in terms of consumer exchange models but also extending beyond the data collection process to try and take some of these guys on. So if you’re a supplier in one of those platforms, if you’re a competitor to one of those platforms, and you’re a small to medium sized research agency like how are you going to change and adapt in that new environment as maybe these platforms become places where people go and buy most of what they need. So I’m interested to see which ones stick around, which ones kind of emerge, and companies themselves change and evolve to both compete and partner in this new world. It’s always been an industry that’s thrived on healthy or unhealthy competition, right. And I think we’re going to see more of that as things change and evolve, and especially in the economic environment that we’re in, the things like this typically see things partner more than compete more and you know because it requires less investment. So we’ll see some interesting partnerships develop. I’m interested in your take as well actually.

[00:14:57]

Jamin Brazil: I think you’re exactly right. I mean technology continues to eat the world. I mean there’s no question about that. The better, faster, cheaper pick three. That’s something we’ve heard our whole lives and just continues to – I guess the wrapper now is agile, right.

[00:15:15]

Andrew Moffatt: Yeah.

[00:15:15]

Jamin Brazil: That absolutely exists. So there’s two things. I think quant is going to continue to grow dramatically as it becomes more and more accessible and easy to execute. So that’s where the benefit of tools that are easy to use is that more people can use them.

[00:15:33]

Andrew Moffatt: Exactly.

[00:15:34]

Jamin Brazil: And it democratizes access to market research. That’s certainly like this overall enablement of consumer insights. The other part of that that I think is going to be an emergent – I don’t know if it’s going to come out of market research but I certainly hope it does is sort of the education around how to use the insights, which I think is a big void right now.

[00:15:55]

Andrew Moffatt: Yeah, I would agree with you there.

[00:15:57]

Jamin Brazil: Once you create the tools that are easy, now you have people that are not sophisticated relative to market research of course. They’re much smarter than us in every other area. They need to understand what the application is of significant differences if that’s something that’s being reported on or what have you. Yeah, anyway I definitely think education is one of those pillars that’s going to change for us, an opportunity for us. We’ve entered into – in a lot of ways I think we’ve over-indexed as an industry on automating the sample piece.

[00:16:23]

Andrew Moffatt: Yes.

[00:16:24]

Jamin Brazil: It was really, really hard. I mean Cent tried it and did it early, very early and then Lucid, whatever, ten-ish years or 15 years later kind of moved into that space and very effectively created a two-sided marketplace. And now you’ve seen other companies that have spun out as well. I think the byproduct of that is what’s really interesting, which is almost like a black box. So SSI for the listeners who don’t know, SSI is probably the oldest, no longer existing but one of the very early sample companies before the internet. And in those days there were a number of ways that you would get access to humans for research. One was phone and SSI I believe had the dominant presence for if you wanted to do phone-based research, they had access to people that were willing to participate. Is that fair?

[00:17:12]

Andrew Moffatt: They weren’t panels per se. They were straight either random digit files or more targeted telephone sample. And in fact.

[00:17:20]

Jamin Brazil: Exactly. RDD, yep.

[00:17:24]

Andrew Moffatt: Where Terence and I met was at SSI when we were trained pre-online. That’s how we, my partner and I met. And we weren’t allowed on the phones or talk to clients or even engage with anyone outside of our organization without three months of in depth training on sampling methodologies from the likes of Linda Pakarsky [ph] and Jeffrey Lawrence and some other folks that were kind of leaders within that space.

[00:17:55]

Jamin Brazil: Absolutely, kind of the Bill Gates of sampling. So there used to be a lot of science that went into the actual creation of a sample frame and then the subsequent recruiting against those people into the projects. And I’m not saying it was all perfect but it was a lot of work. It was a lot of work and it needed to be a lot of work because it was very expensive and time consuming.

[00:18:12]

Andrew Moffatt: It’s also where that information was being used. It needed the level of regular and methodological selection that gave you confidence you had a robust sample of the population that you’re researching.

[00:18:26]

Jamin Brazil: So I’m going to dis – I agree with you conceptually but I think from a practitioner’s perspective I believe that there was a lot more sort of confirmation bias that we were trying to create than we see today. So I think the rules today are a lot different. Maybe that’s not entirely accurate but my experience, this was like a sample of one is that businesses have moved more to be consumer-oriented versus 25 years ago or whatever it is.

[00:18:53]

Andrew Moffatt: 100 percent.

[00:18:55]

Jamin Brazil: So anyway, that’d be a fun debate to have though actually. We should do that when this whole thing’s over with, with a couple beers. But the broader point here is that there’s a – there was a lot of rigor that went into sampling. And we functionally automated that whole pain right now, which it was very painful. When I say it was very painful, I promise you, it was like getting a root canal. And now it’s super-easy. Like we don’t even think about it.

[00:19:19]

Andrew Moffatt: Yeah.

[00:19:19]

Jamin Brazil: But the problem with that is it’s created like this hotbed of fraud because once you black box it you don’t really have any visibility on who the participant is that’s taking the research.

[00:19:32]

Andrew Moffatt: So I agree with you completely. And it’s a function of all that change and all that investment has basically directly caused much of this because if you look at like what a panel company like SSI, what essentially drove like two-thirds of their cost base would have been people and product. So people would be anyone engaged in the delivery of the products. We saw a lot of those dollars move towards lower cost or off-shore models like in India or the Philippines or Eastern Europe and various places. And in time through DYI tools, even saw some of that being pushed back onto the researcher. But on the supply side much of what you spent ten years ago was all double opt-in panels that were used as the supply source for the industry. So if you wanted to get something you were tapping into an organization’s supply that they had grown and built and incentivized and managed and engaged with on a daily basis. With the introduction of programmatic and integrating APIs into the supply chain, which is basically – basically now it’s resulted in every “panel” company or supply company being an aggregator of some kind. So they are aggregating their owns supply and the supply of others. And the supply of others is not always built in the same way that their own supply is. So you’re mixing in double opt-in panels with traffic that you have no history with and you know nothing about and as we said, it subjects itself to more potential fraud coming into the ecosystem because you lose a layer of validation that a double opt-in process gets you. And to me data quality and getting to real and unique respondents is probably the biggest challenge the industry actually has right now. And it’s a function of both how people are being sourced for surveys as well as the technology that is in operation within the industry to try and prevent fraud and prevent duplication and survey farms and things like that entering into the system to begin with, which is frankly why we created the product that we did in Clean ID because we didn’t find a good solution that existed in the market and we knew it was probably one of the biggest challenges. So that’s basically why we focused on building that first. We also built a B to B validation tool because as prone as the consumer research is to fraud and poor respondent behavior, we see that become infinitely worse within the B to B channels where in some cases it’s not uncommon to kick out 40 or 50 percent of your sample because you don’t think it’s accurate or represents what that market looks like. So to me, it’s probably a challenge that we took on as something that we wanted to technologically fix in an open, transparent data-driven way that gave people the opportunity to take data and use it and understand how fraud impacts their environment and be able to give them the tools to be able to solve that. I think that should cover for what I’m saying. I’m rambling a little bit.

[00:23:19]

Jamin Brazil: That’s a great point. No, that’s perfect. So this is a material issue because even if let’s say it’s 30 percent are bad respondents. The question is are you removing the right 30 percent.

[00:23:30]

Andrew Moffatt: Right.

[00:23:30]

Jamin Brazil: So the scalpel as opposed to the chain saw analogy is really important here. So technologically in simpleton’s terms, how are you able to identify good versus bad participants?

[00:23:44]

Andrew Moffatt: Yep. So what we essentially do is look at their device itself. And within the device actually look for characteristics that we know are known exhibitors of survey respondent fraud. So looking at a device and seeing how often any of its characteristics have changed. If an IP address is constantly changing or making itself to look unique or other parts of that machine, we’re able to tell that and you can then make a decision off of that data. So we’ve got 34 of those different markers that are available for people to make decisions based off of, make a decision whether this is so bad because this person’s coming in in an anonymized nature from the dark web. But if they come in, we don’t want them to be part of our environment. So let’s remove them completely. And then you’ve got other markers, which you can set as kind of low, medium, and high that their cumulative effect will allow you to make decisions on them. So if you’ve got someone that has hit a couple of high markers. That’s probably going to yield a score that’s going to remove them from your environment or if they hit one high marker and three low markers, they’ll remove that individual. And the beauty of it is that you can kind of see what’s happening in real time within a project. You can review what’s happening over time amongst your vendor set and see which channels are giving you most fraud or what types of fraud they’re giving, and giving the users that information is really what we’re trying to empower people to do. You talked earlier about lots of black boxes that are created within the industry. There’s supply black boxes where you don’t necessarily always get to control what goes into your studies and decisions on that supply from a routing perspective. We’re trying to, with our technology that will come out give people enough data so that they can own that responsibility themselves if they want to and understand it and help create their own profile that works for their own organization. And in a way that really is simple for them to understand and make decisions off of what the tools give them.

[00:26:07]

Jamin Brazil: Well we could talk a lot about the – getting into the weeds of this. It’s hard for me not to as an operator in this space for so long because there were a lot of technological challenges there but I think it might just put everybody to sleep.

[00:26:20]

Andrew Moffatt: It might.

[00:26:20]

Jamin Brazil: At the end of the day I really want more listeners.

[00:26:27]

Andrew Moffatt: But on the B to B side, it’s really – that is something that where I think is a game changer because as I said within B to B, so while much automation has happened in the programmatic space, it’s really all happened around consumer research. There’s not been a lot in the B to B space that’s been new or not a lot of new types of supply that’s entered into the industry in quite some time. While I was at SSI, I was part of a task force that was asked to help build B to B because a competitor to Research Now. In doing so we basically built the same model where we went out to the same airlines and hotels and gave them better return on investment for their marketing and they ended up shifting some dollars our way. But with the merger between Research Now and SSI that created just one large dominant player within B to B. And when I got out of SSI once I sent out my non-compete, the first thing I did was try to find a viable alternative. So I actually did a deal with an expert network who does a lot of qual that would engage respondents in conversations with private equity companies and consulting firms to help inform investment and acquisition decisions and actually used those guys for quant research for a good part of a year or 18 months or so. And what I did, and I put them against all the supply in the industry, and those same jobs that I referred to earlier where we’re kicking out 30, 50 percent of the respondents, we started removing less than five percent from the sources because of the nature of who they were. They were folks that had participated in qual engagements. They were already validated through their LinkedIn profiles or resumes and had telephone conversations for at least an hour with individuals. So we knew they were real people. And kind of set out to create a tool that would allow a panel or a database owner or a buyer sample to be able to use a tool to validate who’s in their audience. So if you’re a panel owner, to be able to take your panel and overlay B to B information both on a personal level, so what that person’s job is, and their function within that job, as well as their firmographic information about the size of the organization they work for, the industry, the name of the company, and things that would help inform sampling decisions when they needed them. So this is currently in the market in pilot mode with a bunch of clients right now. We’re fielding B to B jobs with validated sample versus non-validated sample to look at differences in not just removal rates but how they trend relative to market share and other things that would tell us that these are providing more accurate, more informed authentic business decisions at the end of the day. And working with some panels to provide them with some data sets that potentially help replace self-reported profiling within the panel world and for some companies, actually overlay a B to B asset onto a panel that may be consumer right now. So being able to take a consumer panel and figure out who’s actually in there that should be useable from a B to B perspective and be able to use them with confidence.

[00:29:51]

Jamin Brazil: Yeah, that’s actually a real interesting point that you’re making because B to B really is B to C in a lot of ways. I mean if you’re on LinkedIn, you’re probably on Facebook or Insta or what have you. So there is that cross-opportunity that exists.

[00:30:07]

Andrew Moffatt: 100 percent. And although you’re tending to find say lower-level people within consumer panels than you would say through a business panel, which makes sense, there’s still small business owners and employees of organizations that you can identify more freely and usually manager level and below is probably the highest level you’ll find within there with the exception of small business owners. But it opens up the pool of available respondents that you wouldn’t consider prior to this. And also for organizations that are looking to embed into their recruitment channels, being able to while someone is double opting-in, validate somebody by the time they go to click on the double opt-in email, you already know a lot more about this respondent. Then they could be your higher value return on investment panelist because they can yield five to ten x what a consumer panelist could yield. Then you can pass them differently. You can as I said overlay some of the known information on those respondents directly on there without asking those folks at the recruitment stage and kind of limit respondent engagement to what’s really necessary. There’s a lot of profiling and a lot of respondent time that’s taken up to date prior to them doing anything within an environment that we’re trying to eliminate as well as eliminate a lot of the backend headaches that exist for researchers and end clients in both cleaning data as well as making sure that the clean set of data has some real-world sensibility to it in terms of market share.

[00:31:48]

Jamin Brazil: Let’s shift gears. You have worked in SSI, one of the premier companies and now with the work that you’ve been doing at your current firm, and then probably even more broadly the fact that you’ve seen companies from small to big and interacted at an executive level as well as in the phone room, which I love that beginning story. What do you see right now as three characteristics of an all-star employee?

[00:32:15]

Andrew Moffatt: I can’t have one, and we can probably pick three things within it that make sense. But I really hire for attitude more than anything else. And within that attitude I look for someone who’s resilient. I think it’s a very important characteristic. It might be the most important of anything that I’ve seen; just someone to be able to pick themselves up and dust themselves off and be able to take their licks and move on. That type of character is hard to come by. Someone that’s willing to do anything. When my wife actually – she ended up working at SSI for a while but when she had her interview there they asked her what she’d do, she said she’d be willing to wash windows. And she really would. And so it was – but it’s someone that wouldn’t say something like this is not in my pay level or this is not in my job description, obviously those types of folks – the emphasis is on those types of people. And I think the last thing within there is to look for kind people, like people that have a good heart and I have some weird interview questions that I ask people that tend to get to those points. And it talks to kind of like your first question, talk about your parents and talk about how you grew up and you get to learn a lot about a person by getting them to talk about their lives, which I look for and really value in the interview process.

[00:33:55]

Jamin Brazil: It’s funny. Social media unfortunately has informed and also I think incorrectly informed our opinions of potential hires and employers. And one of the things I used to do with – speaking of humility – with Decipher when we were probably going from 20 to maybe 75 employees in that size. Jamie Plunkett would do the interviews as well as myself occasionally but one of the two of us would sit at the front and pretend we were the receptionist. And when that person would show up we’d actually do a part of the interview right there just to see how they treated the person.

[00:34:28]

Andrew Moffatt: I love that.

[00:34:29]

Jamin Brazil: Who was the perceived receptionist. Yeah, it was really funny. I think if you over-index on kindness, it’ll all work out.

[00:34:36]

Andrew Moffatt: It all works out. I actually have this receptionist that at a client that I’ve had for gosh, almost 20 years now, and I love her. She’s the first person you get to greet when you go there, the first person who always answers the phone, and you develop a relationship with these people over time. And I just think that that kind of experience is how you treat – you should treat everyone the same regardless of who they are. So whether it’s the secretary at the front desk or whether it’s the CEO when you go into an interview or maybe it’s the CEO at the front desk pretending to be the receptionist, but your character comes out on all of those moments. So I like that.

[00:35:16]

Jamin Brazil: My last question. What is your personal motto?

[00:35:20]

Andrew Moffatt: Worst thing they can do is say no. I’ve always kind of shot for the stars. Having grown up in rural Ireland, I never thought this was going to be part of my life and I remember one time very poignantly like I was in the Empire State Building, it was up on some large floor, and I looked out the window and I was like I can’t believe that I’m actually here in a meeting with – because it was such an iconic symbol. Growing up in Ireland you would look at the movies or whatever, and when I got to that point it wasn’t that long into my days of SSI I decided just to go for it. And it’s been a wonderful characteristic and trait to have. It’s almost like you ever see that movie Yes Man with Jim Carey? It’s trying to come up with some ideas and some people would say they’re impossible to make happen. And just seeing if we can make it happen. So I like to think and operate in those terms.

[00:36:17]

Jamin Brazil: My guest today has been Andrew Moffatt, partner and chief strategy officer at OpinionRoute. Thank you Andrew for joining me on the Happy Market Research podcast today.

[00:36:25]

Andrew Moffatt: Thanks, Jamin Brazil. I appreciate it.

[00:36:27]

Jamin Brazil: Everybody else who found value in this episode, please do me a favor, screen capture, share on social media. LinkedIn and Twitter are my two primary platforms but I’m trying to get to know TikTok, too. Look me up. If you tag me, by the way, I will send you a shirt. I promise. Have a great rest of your day. **