Podcast Series

The Happy Market Research podcast publishes interviews with insight leaders on the last Tuesday of the month.

WIRe Series – John Martin – Measure Protocol

Welcome to the WIRe Series. Recorded live in Austin, this series is bringing interviews straight to you from the WIRe MRx Meet & Mingle event. In this interview, host Jamin Brazil interviews John Martin, Founder and CTO of Measure Protocol.

Contact John Online:


Measure Protocol


John Martin, Chief Technology Officer, Measure Protocol.  Thanks for being on the Happy Market Research Podcast.


My pleasure, my pleasure.


So, we’re at the WIRe event, part of…  connected to the IIeX Austin events. What are your thoughts so far regarding IIeX?  


I mean it’s fantastic.  To be honest, I haven’t been there yet today.  I flew in.


You just got in.


But I was just checking my Bizzabo app trying to pick out all of the…




Yeah, and all of the sessions tomorrow that I’m going to go to.  Looks like there’s a bunch of System 1 stuff, which is super interesting; a bunch of Big Data stuff, which is interesting.  So, yeah, it’s a really good lineup this year.


CTO of Measure Protocol.  Tell me a little bit about Measure Protocol.  What do you guys do?


So, we’re doing sampling on the blockchain.  So, we started life about 18 months ago right, I guess, at the height, of blockchain madness, of ICO madness, and started working on this idea that we just couldn’t run away from.  You know two out of three of us founders had a background in market research, had worked at Comscore and Kantar, and had another startup, which was a market research startup that we’d exited awhile ago.  And the deeper we got into blockchain, the more we just could not run away from how perfect a fit we thought that it was for this one particular use case that we knew so much about, given our history. And so, we’ve been sort of digging away at it for the past 18 months.


Your executive team, Ben?  Is that right?


Owen and Paul.


Owen and Paul.  Sorry about that.  And you guys have had a successful exit, which is really unique, especially in the context of blockchain since the very early stages of that whole technology.  What are you seeing as the central role or, even more specifically, the practical role of blockchain in market research? What is the problem that it’s solving?    


Right.  I think it’s going to end up coming on in two different phases.  When I think about what we’re doing, which is just quite literally putting sampling on the blockchain.  So, instead of a sample provider being in the middle of a researcher and a population of respondents, there’s software on a blockchain, which is not to say that we’re disintermediating all the sample companies, right?  It’s just to say that, from a technical perspective, this stuff is possible to be done in software alone. But, when I think about what we’re doing, there’s sort of three buckets of benefits: privacy, transparency, and economics.  And I think with the current state of the cryptocurrency market, the economics argument is somewhat off the table, right?

There’s this sort of really interesting, idealistic, futuristic business models that are possible when you have a cryptocurrency in the middle of these things where users become, to a certain extent, shareholders of what you are building, which is super interesting and can sort of inspire all of these accelerating positive feedback loops.  But, because of the crypto-markets now, that’s not as easily possible to get off the ground, but it certainly should be possible in the future. What we focus on today is privacy and transparency. So it really forces us to build essentially a sample company that is private by design and is… essentially has a sort of 24/7, 365-day year audit on what we’re doing.  So buyers of data and respondents can all see the providence of offers, can see payments go through, can see the validity or not of data that’s being claimed on the network and so on and so forth.


I would have thought that security would have been part of the stool.


I guess I bucket that under the privacy.  In fact, my talk tomorrow is about the privacy aspect.  And one of the somewhat surprising consequences of trying to build this stuff out on a blockchain protocol is that you have nowhere to put respondent data – not the data that they’re entering in surveys necessarily but when we’re doing sampling, when we’re running research, all day long we’re sort of collecting and curating and digging through demographic profile data, which is incredibly sensitive and it’s not at all the type of data you want to put on a public, immutable database, right?  So, you end up doing away with the respondent database; there’s no respondent database. And what we’ve done in our particular example is push profile data out to the edges of the network. So respondents have all of their profile data on their devices and then the challenge in building this business becomes… If you don’t have a respondent database, how do you run feasibility on a study? How do you know what the composition of the network is? How do you filter somebody into a particular study?  So, we’ve sort of come up with these baskets of cryptographic techniques to try to fish that information out, but in a way where we, as the service provider in the middle, have no access to the actual data itself. So it’s sort of privacy by design. You almost don’t have to worry about security because there’s nothing to secure. You keep all of the sensitive stuff off the blockchain.


The pilot project:  Tell us a little bit about that.  How did that work?


So, I guess starting at the beginning of year we gathered together about a dozen clients and sample providers and research agencies and pulled a whole bunch of projects from them, cobbled together several hundred users on the system, the system which was really fresh out of the oven.  We’d kind of just baked this thing and released it to the world, and we set the thing running. And there was really three things that we were trying to do: The first one was just a technological smoke test. (Does this thing work? Does it do the things that we claim?) The second one was education for our clients, for these agencies and for the brands to try to…  because it’s a difficult thing to explain: this sort of notion of privacy, of not having a respondent database; this notion of transparency. It’s a difficult thing for somebody to just sit down and intuit, based on reading it from a paper or hearing it from somebody like me. So what we were doing was we said, “Look, let’s just run a bunch of studies for you guys and we’ll come in and we’ll show you what you get out of this, right, and we’ll show you all of the new types of data and we’ll sort of illustrate to you what lives on the blockchain, what lives off the blockchain, and why that might be beneficial.  And then, the third part of it was just to do research on research, was to see how users respond to this stuff, which was… I mean it warms my heart; it was bloody good, like the users were very, very engaged. We always think about privacy as being a hygiene factor, rather than a motivating factor. You know it doesn’t get people to show up but it might get them to be more active and to hang around longer than they would have otherwise. And so, it’s hard to say anything definitely just yet. And we’re going to publish our results in the coming weeks, but there was certainly nothing dispositive in what we did.  Really, really encouraging, and we’ve turned that into real customers and real partners right now, which we’re just lining up on the network.


That’s beautiful.  So, two things: one – like how do you guys get paid?  Where do you fit from a dollar perspective? Is it an existing dollar that’s been budgeted by the customer for that particular sample?  Or is it a new dollar?


So, today it’s probably coming out of two existing budgets.  It’s coming out of the sample budget. I mean we’re taking a technology fee today for each…


Sort of analogous with the marketplace fees.


Yeah, yeah.  And then the other bucket that it seems to be coming out of so far is the fraud bucket, right?  We have what I think is a quite rigorous, interesting story about fraud and about validating people’s claimed profile.  And so, I think more and more we’re going to go up against the companies that are sort of taking 50 cents or a dollar off of every complete to run fingerprinting and so on.  I mean that’s not a threat; that’s just my prediction. I think we have a very good story about fraud for several different reasons. And I think there’s just a lot of survey fraud on web surveys, and the companies are spending a lot of money on it.       


There was a presentation that was given a couple weeks ago by Proctor & Gamble, and she said that they had done some root-cause analysis of some research failures, and it boiled down to fraud at the respondent level.  And, when they looked under the hood, it was approximately 30%. Another great example is a friend of mine did a study with… I probably even shouldn’t say too much about it, but anyway it worked out where they asked a red herring question, “What is 1 + 1 + 4?” and as a pick list of six answers choice, of which 48% of the people got it right, which is not great.  But, anyways, you’re always going to get some level of error in data; it just seems like it shouldn’t be over half of the sample. I mean it’s exciting work that you guys are doing. So congratulations on that, and I look forward to your talk tomorrow. If someone wants to get in contact with you, how would they do that?


Ahh, MeasureProtocol.com and I’m on Twitter at JohnM.


Perfect.  You got to join our Twitter Chat.  So, MRX…


I see it, I see it, every other week.


Yeah, yeah, yeah, totally.  So, jump on there. Be a great way for other people to be able to get in contact with you.  And, of course, we’ll include this in the show notes. Thanks for being on the Happy Market Research Podcast, and I hope you enjoy the WIRe event.


Thank you, mate.  You too.



WIRe Series – Horst Feldhaeuser – Infotools

Welcome to the WIRe Series. Recorded live in Austin, this series is bringing interviews straight to you from the WIRe MRx Meet & Mingle event. In this interview, host Jamin Brazil interviews Horst Feldhaeuser, Group Services Director (SVP) at Infotools.

Contact Horst Online:




Horst, the Group Services Director at InfoTools.  It is an honor to have you on this show. I’ve been following you guys for quite a while.  Tell me a little bit about the business.


Well, InfoTools is a company that’s been around for 28 years now, based in New Zealand, but we have offices all around the world.  And we do everything from the data to the delivery to the people: so data analysis, data harmonization, dashboarding, socialization, all that kind of stuff.  


So, the gamut.


The gamut, yes.  Apart from the data collection, we do it.


No kidding.


And we’re good at it.


Yeah, yeah, good.  So, 29 years is a storied brand in our space.  What kind of technologies have you guys built out as InfoTools?  


Yeah, so, we’ve started off with a desktop tool basically to analyze the data as our first step, and then gradually over the years, obviously, we’ve moved into the cloud.  So, our biggest tool is now the cloud-based called InfoTools Harmoni. It’s been used by big companies like Coca-Cola, or Unilever (no, not Unilever, sorry), Orange, Shell, Samsung, and more and more market research companies as well.  So it’s really a tool for DIY or for the services…


Well, we’ll have to get this podcast in front of Unilever so they can be a customer also.


Yeah, exactly, they should be.  


So, you guys have teamed up with the University of Auckland Business School to help give students in market research some hands-on experience.  Tell me a little bit about that.


Yeah, that’s really a great partnership with them, and we’ve been in contact with them for a long time.  They’ve been very close with the market research industry in New Zealand, and they have a market research competition since about 2011, where they have students working on real-life projects and there is literally it’s like a “Market Research Got Talent” thing with a competition, with judges from the market research industry and from the client side.  They’re doing a lot with not-for-profit studies, and this year it’s with a corporation called Housing New Zealand Housing Foundation. We decided with our new cloud-based tool why not give it to them for free and have them use that instead of some of the other tools that we don’t think are quite as funky.


That’s pretty cool.


That’s very cool.  And we just started the project.  We just had a big training session with them with their previous data, and once they get the new data in, they can play around with it.  And we absolutely love it; they love it.


It’s a big upstream opportunity, right?  We had one of the plays that Qualtrics took early on in their career.  I wouldn’t say that it was necessarily strategic. In those days it was just like available, kind of like Facebook.  And it worked out profoundly well for them from a customer-adoption perspective. Is that part of the thinking? I’d imagine it would have to be.


Yeah, I can neither deny nor confirm it, and we thought about that.  But, absolutely, I mean we want to support the students. And it’s great for us working in our background at home in New Zealand first, but we definitely want to go globally with that and approach universities across the world.  So, if they want to get in contact with us, absolutely.


I think there’s Georgia Tech and Michigan State that are here at this particular conference, both of which have market research-centric masters programs.


We’ll be talking to them, absolutely.  And I think it’s great. It gives just different opportunities for people to play with:  they can upload their own data; they can really use it. And I think for us as well, it will give us a different focus and a different view ‘cause they’re going to go into it with a completely different view than you and I would go with all our pre-determined thinking.




Yeah, so I’m excited, very excited.  


You know one of the problems with market research is – in any industry for that matter – is that, after you do something for 15 to 20 years, you become a leader in that space, right, or looked to as…  And then, it can be harder and harder to relate to the new entrants into the… The younger researchers who are just starting their career. And I think about when I started my career in 1996 at the ripe old age of 26 years old, the way that I thought about market research literally…  I mean just to give you a point of reference: I did among one of the first online surveys for commercial purposes in that same year whereas my boss was still doing normal, traditional research. And that was a really tough transition for him to ever make, that online research was actually going to be a thing, right?  So, for me, let’s be really cognizant and aware of that as we’re aging researchers and make sure that we’re not just closed-minded to that next generation.


Yeah, and I think that’s the exciting part really, right?  Well, I think that the great change from, say, what’s happening five, ten years ago is that we now have market research as mainstream in the universities.  They can go in and do a major in market research whereas in the past they haven’t. But they go in with completely different views. We’ve seen that with some of the questions they asked us in the training day.  They already have a completely different mindset, and we need to leverage that ‘cause these are the people in the future who are going to drive the industry. It’s not us, to be honest. We’re here for another 10, 15, 20 years, but then it’s them really taking over


That’s right, absolutely.


And looking at things differently.  And we need to support them with the tools and the thinking.  


How can we as researchers do a better job of engaging with that new generation of researchers?  Is it more social? Is it through different industry events? You know you’ve got a number of…  I think ESOMAR has their under-30 or under-40 category. You know what I mean? Is that…


Yeah, I think so, and I think we need to make it easy for them.  There’s the whole meet-ups and all that kind of stuff that’s coming more and more.  I haven’t seen it that much utilized from our point of view, from the industry point of view.  In New Zealand, we have what’s called RANZ Social, which is a subgroup of the industry association.  It’s driven by the young people, and it’s all through social media. It’s all through Facebook, and then they have their own events.  But I think opening it up and giving them different opportunities but also sending them to conferences like this. I mean getting them out there, having the opportunity to share stuff.   And that’s where the ESOMAR winners is great with a new speaker track that we have at IIeX. I think is absolutely brilliant. I love it.


….Annie Pettit’s… It’s a really important work there.  If there was one question you could ask seasoned market researchers that would impart some wisdom to the next generation (You with me?), what do you think that question would be?  Would it be centric to “What’s the best methodology a young researcher should learn?” Or would it be centric to core values?


I think I would try to focus on them and say “Follow your curiosity” and “Ask the questions that you want answers to, whether it’s qualitative or quantitative.”  I think that whole qualitative/quantitative is obsolete anyway ‘cause it’s all… it’s about getting answers really and how we use that information ‘cause we have tons of information.  We saw it already today in some of the workshops. But how we actually use it and bring it back to the business. Maybe that’s the question we need to learn to answer.


That’s very interesting.  I think I’m going to incorporate…  I might adjust my script a little bit accordingly.  Thanks for that.


No worries.  Do it.


Yeah, good, so my guest today:  Horst, InfoTools. How do people get in contact with you?  


Either through our website:  InfoTools.com. Or check me out; I’m speaking as well on Thursday, on our Coca-Cola case study.  But, yeah, through the website is the easiest.


I think the crowd is getting a little bit crazy right now.  Absolutely a good time for us to go here. Enjoy the WIRe. Thanks so much for being on the show, my friend.


Good time for us to get a beer.  Cheers. Bye, bye.


Bye, bye.

Ep. 216 – WIRe Series – Garrett Gil de Rubio – P2Sample

Welcome to the WIRe Series. Recorded live in Austin, this series is bringing interviews straight to you from the WIRe MRx Meet & Mingle event. In this interview, host Jamin Brazil interviews Garrett Gil de Rubio, Vice President of Business Development/Client Engagement at P2Sample.

Contact Garrett Online:



IIeX NA 2019 Conference Series – Patricia Houston – MMR Live

Welcome to the 2019 IIEX North America Conference Series. Recorded live in Austin, this series is bringing interviews straight to you from exhibitors and speakers at this year’s event. In this interview, host Jamin Brazil interviews Patricia Houston, Founder and Chief Operating Officer at MMR Live.

Contact Patricia Online:


MMR Live

IIeX NA 2019 Conference Series – Vignesh Krishnan – SampleChain

Welcome to the 2019 IIEX North America Conference Series. Recorded live in Austin, this series is bringing interviews straight to you from exhibitors and speakers at this year’s event. In this interview, host Jamin Brazil interviews Vignesh Krishnan, CEO of SampleChain.

Contact Vignesh Online:




Vignesh Krishnan, SampleChain.  This is a young startup. This guy is bringing a breath of relevant expertise to the market research space.  He’s an early employee of Lucid. After leaving that, he started this DMP, which is a Data Management Platform that is intent on connecting sample and tools to improve overall source transparency and, ultimately, quality, which I know is a really important issue based on the interviews I’ve done.  Enjoy the episode and the conversation with him.


So, my guest today is Vignesh Krishnan, SampleChain.  We are live today at IIeX in Austin. What do you think about the show?


So far, so good.  I went to one of the conferences.  Again, it’s all about meeting the people and listening in.  So, it was pretty enjoyable, yeah.


Yeah, I think in business you really only have a single piece of IP, and that is your connections.  


Yes, I would agree.  Absolutely.


And there’s probably not a better venue from my vantage point than events like IIeX.


Yeah, for sure, yeah.  Well, Andrew got me on the podcast.  So, there you go. That’s a connection, right?  


You know that’s true actually.  That’s funny. Andrew with Lucid.  So, in a year, how many of these events or events like this do you wind up going to?


Yeah, so I just started SampleChain; it’s been about six to eight months since I started it.  I’ve been to SampleCon, and IIeX as well; so, this is the second one. I would say I’m probably going to Insights Association too.         


Alright, cool.  Yeah, Insights Association has a great…  Of course, a different organization (GreenBook, apologies) but they also have some really good, unique shows.           


Absolutely.  And it is in the backyard in New Orleans; so, I’m just going to walk across the street and go to that one as well.


So, you’re based out of New Orleans.


Yes, I’m in New Orleans.


OK, perfect.  Well, tell me about SampleChain.


So, my background, you know…  Starting with the New Orleans story, I graduated from Tulane about ten years ago, the local university there.  And I got into Lucid pretty early joining it at the company; had and saw amazing growth. And then, after a while, decided that, “You know what?  I just want to try something new.” I did see there was a lot of analogies that we made as an industry to the ad tech industry. So in a way, the idea is to introduce a DMP to the space.  Just like ad tech has DMP’s, so that’s kind of…


Maybe, you can expand on what that is for our audience.


Yeah, absolutely.  So, a DMP is a Data Management Platform, and what it does is that it is… It has tentacles into different parts of the industry like the exchanges, and the suppliers, and the buyers, and so on and so forth.  And specifically, I’m talking about the ad tech advertising industry. And the idea here is to help all of these participants understand their traffic sources better. Are they all getting attacked by bots, for example?  Are they having issues with conversion that could do better with some piece of information? So the idea is to create that entity and provide that information to these clients.


That’s beautiful.  So, you’ve been at it just under a year.


Yep, exactly.  Something like that.


Did you guys come out the gate with funding or…?


So, we got some funding:  local funding, Angel Funding from New Orleans.  So, I did that for about the first few months is where I was focusing on.  Most of that, like I said, is from the Angel Network. So, pretty recent happenings, all of this.   


Got it.  I mean I’ve got to ask…  Lucid – you were there early.  Growing gang busters. They’re just crushing it.  They’re defining a space, right? I mean it’s a really unique point of view.  Why is the world would you jump ship to start your own? Is it just like entrepreneurship is in your blood?  


Yeah, well, part of it is that, but a more honest reason is that the longer I stayed there, I had more people joining my team who were 13, 14, 15 years younger than me.  I was like, “Oh, my God, I’ve been here too long.” So, some of them had actually been in middle school when I joined Lucid. And I was like, “Oh, my God, how are you even here?”  So I was like, “You know what? It’s time to start a new adventure.” Obviously, I was there for a long time. Really enjoyed my experience there. Still in touch with all of them, of course.  But decided, that from a life perspective, probably wanted to take a second step here. So…


So, congratulations, by the way.  From my vantage point as a life-long entrepreneur, there’s nothing scarier than the first two years.  I mean it is freaking terrifying. And the nice part about age is we know that there’s cycles, and if we can just suck it up long enough, the weather changes.  


Yep, you see the other side.  Absolutely.


Exactly, exactly right.  So I think that’s definitely a leg-up.  At least, in my thesis.


Well, I’ll take it.


So, tell me who is your ideal customer.


So, you can segment the marketplace into multiple different ways.  Using ad tech as an analogy, I would say you have the publisher’s side, and we make the analogy here to suppliers.  You have the exchanges and then, of course, you have the buyers, and then you have the buyer’s buyer (the end brands and so on and so forth).  So, obviously, depending on how well this thing goes, our long-term plan would be to work with all of these aspects, for now, just focusing on the supply side, focusing on the exchanges.  Of course, these would be the suppliers that we all know and love (panel companies and then, of course, the exchanges as well).


So, the value that you’re adding to that particular piece of the chain is increased transparency.


Yes, helping increase transparency, helping these suppliers have a better handle on quality, helping these suppliers have a better handle on availability and knowledge of their respondents is where we’re going.  That’ll be the first step, yeah.


Got it.  Yeah, that’s kind of interesting.  So, what does your pitch look like when you’re sitting in front of those people?  I usually start with the story arc of like, “Here’s the pain point.” Right and then, “Here’s the solution.”


At the end of the day, I think that we all want more completes; we want more transactions to be successful.    




And I would say that right now, I don’t know what that number is, but I can tell you that it’s probably between 10%, 15%, 20% at max.  There’s 80 times a person tries to finish a survey; they do not. And our goal is to help those companies get those numbers up, right? And, hopefully, push the ball significantly higher.  If you can get to 30%, 40%, 50%, right? And the goal here is to push up these conversions and, of course, that turns in money and then that can be reinvested into the business as well. So that would be my pitch to these companies, “Hey, you know what?  If only 15% to 20% of your supply’s completing, that is a problem. How do you push this number up?”


Are you guys at this stage in the business building out the technology or are you actually selling?  


No, we’re selling it.  Got a head start. Pretty much started quoted with this on

Day 1.  Some of the guys that we all worked with before.  So, that also has an advantage as you know.


Any names you could drop?


Miguel and Jimson are two of the developers on the board.  They were colleagues from back in the day. So, I’ve been working with them.  I’ve been getting a lot of help from Chuck Miller, who is, obviously, part of our industry, and he’s very passionate about quality and these kinds of things.  So, I’ve been working with him too.


That’s fantastic.  If someone wants to get in contact with you, how would they do that?


So, either email or phone.  So, first name Vignesh, so first letter first name, so VKrishanan@samplechain.co.  And the number is a New Orleans number:  so,



You have to wear a party hat if you dial that number.


Exactly, absolutely.  


So, my guest today has been Vignesh, SampleChain.  Check him out. Information is in the show notes. Thank you so much for joining me today on the Happy Market Research Podcast.  


Thank you, Jamin.

IIeX NA 2019 Conference Series – Tom Anderson – OdinAnswers

Welcome to the 2019 IIEX North America Conference Series. Recorded live in Austin, this series is bringing interviews straight to you from exhibitors and speakers at this year’s event. In this interview, host Jamin Brazil interviews Tom Anderson, Founder, Executive Chairman & CRO at OdinAnswers.

Contact Tom Online:




Tom Anderson, OdinAnswers is the name of his company; OdinTexts was prior to the IIeX event.  Huge fan of this guy. He and I co-presented at a few different events: the CEO Summit a few years ago is probably the most recent.  Tell you what: I consider him to be the father of text analytics in this space. He has this interesting point of view about how we should be triangulating truth based on multiple data sources, including KPIs and customer voice.  Enjoy the episode.


Here with Tom Anderson, OdinAnswers is the new name of your company, sir.  We’re live at IIeX in Austin. How are you?


Great.  Thanks for having me.


Yeah, of course.  It’s an honor to have you.  You’ve been the pioneer, I think, in this space.  I can’t think of another company anyway as it relates with text analytics.  Talk to me a little bit about OdinTexts, now OdinAnswers, and that journey.


Well, from the get-go, we were very much about realizing that good text, interesting text data never lives in isolation.  There’s always important structured data accompanying it. Twitter might be a little bit of an exception, but pretty much all other interesting data has very valuable structured components.  So, that was our thinking from the get-go in the patents and so forth that I filed. But now we’re taking that to the next level. We’ve been working with a lot of cutting-edge, digital-first clients and really looking at more and more data, so connecting different data types and variables to really get to what an answer is.  And that’s what’s reflected in the company: really trying to combine and think about the topics that people talk about in their own voice, unaided, what’s most important to them (thoughts and feelings) together with who it is, all the segmentation-type variables. And then the third part is the KPI. And so, some of our clients, for that, it’s return behavior, clicks on a link, or revenue is the holy grail.  But, for others, it might be MPS or customer sat. And then, there’s always, of course, emotions and sentiment to fall back on in the events where there aren’t important KPIs.


We’ve evolved as an industry, right, because you were around before AWS, well before.




So, I mean you’ve seen a lot of new tech that’s been entering this space here, specifically in the way of text analytics.  And you guys have rebranded, which I think was a brilliant… I love OdinAnswers; I think that’s such an action-oriented framework versus OdinTexts now.  Not to say that there’s anything wrong with that. I think it’s just modernization and change of what the customer really needs right now. How are you helping customers like…  Let’s pick on NPS ‘cause it’s a super common use case, right? So, how are you interacting with that data to add that value to the customer.


So, NPS, a lot of clients can add a lot of data from other sources.  So, what they have internally first and foremost might be CRM or data on how much these customers have purchased, how frequently they purchase, what they purchase, that type of thing.  And then, of course, you can go beyond that to other data as well. But that is one of the things we’ve been working hard on and continuing to move in that direction.


Got it.          


And in terms of the industry overall, yeah, I mean there’s been…  I think there’s a new (definitely don’t want to call it a bubble because I believe it’s absolutely…  it’s sort of finally the time of text analytics, in fact.) So, there’s a lot of new companies coming in this space.  Text analytics has become a feature in products as I predicted, in fact, it would many years ago. But it’s, obviously, a nice companion to AI machine learning, and that’s partly what we’re seeing here is applying richer data.  And data can’t be thought of just as structured or unstructured; it’s really what I had been calling mixed data before. But we’re thinking about it more as intersectionality of an answer. And that’s why we rebranded.


Do you think there’s a like…  As you look forward to your future, do you feel like you’re more of an API-driven enabler like plugging in to a Qualtrics or a…  you know what I’m saying, like some of these mega-platforms and enabling that particular sentiment analysis to be done?


Yeah, absolutely.  We’ve always been impartial to data.  There’s other players out there like in social listening and so forth that really only work with the data stream from Twitter or something like that.  Whereas, we have clients now who are typing in all kinds of information, yes, some social certainly and NPS and survey data, customer experience, but also call center (we’ve got people analyzing their sales) and internal (we’re analyzing emails coming in and out between different departments and between customers).      


I mean that’s really interesting the whole email analytics side of things.  I know you probably can’t share specifics, but what are some broad findings going through that?  Do you remember?


They are using it for various types of…  understanding, first of all, what kinds of issues that are being discussed and what questions people have, not just customers but also employees to streamline things.  And then there’s, of course, looking ahead as well. So, it’s something that’s quite… We’ve been doing that for actually a couple of years now, two years, two-and-a-half years.  And now we’re starting with integrating voice as well, you know, call centers and so forth, voice-to-text.


That so interesting.  We don’t hear very much in this space about voice-to-text, but I think that’s funny.  I feel like voice-to-text should be something we’re frickin talking about all the time.  Honestly, that is such as important… The amount of information that’s being… What are they predicting?  It’s stupid; it’s like 80 billion dollars in 2023 will be spent through Alexa and GoogleHome, you know, through the smart speakers.  Siri, what was it? Samsung just announced their own automated voice platform. You’ve got all the voices playing such a big role right now in our lives.  And it’s growing, and yet we’re as a market research industry aren’t really talking that. In fact, I’m sure it exists here, but I haven’t run into one company that specializes in voice-based research here at IIeX.   


Yeah, so I mean, it used to be different disciplines before.  And we didn’t set out to solve the voice-to-text. In the application I’m think about, we’re also doing machine translation at the same time also.  Now, those two components are coming from another company, but we’ve built the harness that then brings it from them, from their call center, gets both transcribed and translated, and then into our program for them.  So, it’s pretty exciting. But we didn’t invent the other two disciplines though, obviously, they’re very complementary.   


Awesome, super awesome.  So, your team has been evolving in the last twelve months.  Talk to me a little bit about… You’ve got some board changes, I think, additions; you’ve got maybe some new hires.  How’s that been evolving?


Most notably, of course, our new CEO last year, Andy Greenawalt, who had a lot of experience from starting SAS companies in a couple of different industries and has some really outside-the-box thinking.  So it’s really helping us evolve and, of course, more recently, Steve August of Revelation formerly, joined our board. And he’s a great… You’ve worked with him, of course, yourself.


I’m one of his biggest fans.


Yeah, he’s great.  So, the team is growing; we have a really good team.  A lot of the people have been with me for a while, and they’re super.  And we’re adding more people as well.


That’s great.  Tom, if somebody wants to get in contact with you, how would they do that?


The website is now OdinAnswers.com.  So, you can fill out the form there. We have a white paper:  OdinAnswers.com/mission.


That was just released at IIeX – the white paper.


Yeah, we’ve had a tremendous amount of downloads, I noticed, just in the first day.  Interesting. We’re actually running two round table discussions about what is an answer.  I’m not talking about from the perspective of the respondent again; we’re talking about for us as market researchers.  What is a great answer that makes you a hero? What needs to be in there? We’re looking to, of course, share our thoughts on that but also looking to understand what market researchers think about that.


Perfect.  Thank you so much for being on the Happy Market Research Podcast, Tom.


Thank you so much.

IIeX NA 2019 Conference Series – Tim Lawton – SightX

Welcome to the 2019 IIEX North America Conference Series. Recorded live in Austin, this series is bringing interviews straight to you from exhibitors and speakers at this year’s event. In this interview, host Jamin Brazil interviews Tim Lawton, Co-Founder and Co-CEO of SightX.

Contact Tim Online:




Tim Lawton, SightX, solid company.  This firm has been… has the best actually UX for analytics that I have seen.  It is absolutely beautiful, and they have created a lot of shortcuts in statistics that let you get to key insights.  It’s almost like Big Data for Dummies, and I don’t want to take away from the power behind the tool. I spent a lot of time with Tim and his co-founder, talking about the statistical side.  I’m not a statistician – nor am I claiming to be – but, having said that, having worked in this space for so long, you get inundated with these types of requests. And they have created some really cool technology.  If you’re in the insights space, you absolutely should check out because it is impressive tech. Enjoy.


My guest today on the Happy Market Research Podcast is Tim Lawton, founder, I think.


Yes, co-founder of SightX.


I got to spend a lot of time with your counterpart last night before dinner.  Very intrigued with the story. You guys had spent almost two years in stealth mode right before you came up.  So, maybe, you could talk to us a little bit about why you guys started SightX, what you saw as the market opportunity, the white space, and the pain point.  And then walk us through that sort of journey of going dormant for the R&D phase.


Sure.  So, the intriguing part of the story is certainly on Naira’s side.  A lot of what we’re doing is her background in research. But when we started initially the onset was solving for a broader problem in the general research process of everything from the data collection to analyzing the data.  At the end of the day, the idea was to automate a lot of those processes for (1) for researchers but, more importantly and equally important, is for non-technical people. So that there’s a level of analysis that’s possible, especially when you talk about market research or any sort of end-user engagement.  So much information nowadays can and is collected that a lot of times what’s valuable and insightful there (to use a key word that everybody is familiar with) is not always easy to do because it takes a lot of time and the level of expertise. So we set out to democratize that expertise, for lack of a better description, for users and researchers of all types and skill levels, everyone to get to that end state of the data that’s been cleaned, coded, organized, and analyzed so that our clients and users can do what they were presumably hired to do:  which is to think creatively, strategically about their brand, their company, their organization but a lot of that time spent as we see as inefficient in that process. So SightX was designed to add efficiencies and augment teams and help teams get to that end state faster by bringing them from the data collection to the analysis and reporting all in one platform.


It’s like from my vantage point…  I have a weak background in statistics…


Myself included.


…more of a practitioner, actor versus like a…  but you know I understand and all that kind of stuff.  So, I’ve done a fair amount of regression modeling and whatever in my early career.  What I really like about the value prop is statistics can be hard and daunting, but what you guys do is take all that out.  But what you leave behind is the actual connection to the data.




So, it’s like: “These are the five things that are driving customer behavior or purchase intent.”  And you don’t care about the necessarily. Well, you might care about it, but you guys are processing all that data and then displaying it in a way that is accessible to somebody who is a non-statistician.


Right, and that’s, I think, the valuable and important point is that whether you’re a statistician or not, I think the value prop still remains the same because if you understand it, you have a background in statistics, that’s great.  You can do the work, which is great and good for you and your team, but it still takes time. And it still takes that process of setting up the data, organizing the data in such a way so that you can run all that analysis on it. And again, if you’re still doing it yourself, it is a time-consuming process.  Equally on the other side, if you’re not trained and have a strong background in statistics, it’s going to take you even more time if you even are able to get to that step. So to be able to get everybody, whether you’re a trained statistician or not through that process seamlessly to give you that, as you said, the end state of that processing and analysis is, that’s the important side.               


So, you hired a good friend of mine, Daryl McCall.    




Congratulations on that smart move.  


Yes, every day it’s become more and more apparent how smart it was.  So, it’s just great.


It’s so neat to have him in charge.  And I don’t know actually exactly where he fits in the organizationalbut to have somebody who’s been through the startup phase to successful exit, to successful entry into a larger organization, understands high-performance culture:  those are rare people. And the other thing that’s congratulations on is having a not just competent but highly engaging co-founder. Really interested in how you guys came together and then…  I mean that’s… So, one of the things… I coach a number of different startups. And one of the things that’s always a pain point for early stage is that co-founder relationship. Can you talk about how you guys met?  


We… I know it’s true, and I have a lot of friends who have started companies.  And I’ve seen from the outside different dynamics in companies and their founding stories.  So I count myself one of the lucky ones. So, Naira and I, long story short, met through friends of friends at a fund raising in New York City.  Actually, realized that we’re both mountain climbers at the time; so struck up a friendship around those kinds of common, shared interests; had actually climbed together before starting SightX or Frontier 7, formerly known as Frontier 7, when we first started.  And then through those activities and kind of just shared interests and friendships, started talking about, like most people do, problems or ideas they had, things they wanted to solve for, and then that led to, “Maybe, we should put this on paper. We should start thinking about this a little more deeply.”  And started looking at the market opportunity. And that’s how we continued to evolve. But I think why we work well together is because we’re so different. One: we don’t come for market research backgrounds, either of us. And two: we come from completely different backgrounds ourselves. She in more of an academic setting and working part-time in consulting; myself in the military and then finance.  So, approaching a problem from two completely different angles from a clean slate, I’ll say, I think has served us well. So, those two years you mentioned where we were operating mostly in stealth mode was a lot of conversations, interactions with potential clients within market research but also in other industries and fields. We had an early platform; we had non-profits using it; we had a big company for HR purposes, so really evaluating a lot a different applications for it, which is one of the great things to realize that there’s a lot of applications for what we’re doing but targeting it towards a use case that was (1) more appealing to us.  But a bigger commercial opportunity, more diverse set of use cases for us was more appealing. By taking those different backgrounds and different skill sets I think has served us well ‘cause we both enjoy doing different things, which is nice.

And then Daryl was really a serendipitous introduction, but I think, to your point, was one of the biggest value-adds in that he understands early stage culture in this phase of what we’re going through, which is…  I don’t know how you can say enough about how important that is. To have gone through and understand this phase, to help us get through these next… kind of the future where we’re trying to go. And not only that, with his many years of experience in the space and knowledge about the industry and clients and what’s important, what’s needed and the values that we’re trying to add on and bring has been a huge benefit to us.       


That’s awesome.  So, if somebody wants to get in contact with you, how would they do that?


I’m at Tim@SightX.io and we’re www.SightX.io as well, and there’s a contact form there.  Or, otherwise, come see our booth at IIeX today if you’re still around on Thursday. We’re still here.    


Well, this will air probably a couple of weeks later, but there’ll be another show.  So, Tim, thank you so much. SightX is the name of the company. He told you how to get in contact with him.  Of course, his information will be in show notes. So, feel free to check that out as well as the transcripts of our conversation.  As always, I greatly appreciate you taking the time to screenshot this, share it on social media. If you would please take 60 seconds and rate this show on the podcast platform of your choice, it would help a million people like you – well, at least five.


Six.  No, I’m six.


Six, that’s right.  Find this content and increase our overall value.  Really appreciate it. Have a great rest of your day.


Thanks so much.  Appreciate it.

IIeX NA 2019 Conference Series – Steve Mast – Methodify

Welcome to the 2019 IIEX North America Conference Series. Recorded live in Austin, this series is bringing interviews straight to you from exhibitors and speakers at this year’s event. In this interview, host Jamin Brazil interviews Steve Mast, one of the Founders of Methodify.

Contact Steve Online:




Steve Mast with Methodify.  These guys are just crushing it.  They were the best exhibitors at the event, maybe even at any event I’ve ever attended.  A lot of things that were clever. My favorite was… They had these little stickers, which basically were fill-in-the-blanks.  “This blank has been certified by Methodify.”  And they would write in what it was.  So like, “This water cooler or this cup or this microphone or this coffee pot or this person’s back or whatever…”  It was really funny, created a lot of buzz. Also, it drove my good friend, Matt Gershner, and other GreenBook pros crazy, but, having said that, the entertainment value was huge.  Enjoy the episode.


I have Steve Mast, the founder and CEO?


One of the founders of Methodify, yes.


Methodify.  Yep, that’s right.  So, we’re at IIeX in Austin.  You guys have been here before.


Yes, we have, yes.  First year, we’ve actually done a full activation:  the booth, speaking, all those kinds of things, so…


And you’ve been testing everything according to…


We’ve been testing the water coolers, the food stations.  Yeah, everything’s been Methodified.


I love “This has been Methodified.”  You know that’s an interesting kind of…  OK, so, talk to me a little bit about that.


So, where that actually came out of ‘cause we actually have registered Methodify IT.  So, we’re not an Italian company; we’re actually born out of Canada, right, but Methodify is a global platform.  But the “Methodify it” came out of our clients literally saying, “We want to Methodify it” or “Was that piece of creative or was that new product, was it Methodified?”  So that’s where we actually came up with the whole “Methodify it.” So, it was our clients. So literally we’re listening to our customers, and we’re applying what they’re saying to our marketing and various…           


Isn’t that the best proof of concept? You know you can have this thing like founder-market fit where you have a personalized need, and you recognize it in the marketplace.  “Oh, good, I can solve that need.” But when the market actually starts changing language around your product and your solution, that’s a nice confirmation.


Yeah, I think it was interesting because (I don’t know what your feeling is but…) we’re obviously Methodify is research automation.  Like that’s the space it’s playing in. But I think what’s interesting is the last couple of years everybody’s been, “Yeah, we’re kicking the tires; we’re checking it out; we’re trying things; we’re piloting programs.”  This year I feel a substantial change in that where people are not kicking the tires. Now it’s about “How and when do we implement this?” “Where does it fit within the ecosystem of our market research tools, platforms?”  So I think the whole industry has changed. The other big thing too is (and I think you may have talked about it in other episodes as well) is when you look at the martech industry, right, it’s very mature obviously, but if you look at the research space, now we have this huge rise of research technologies.  And I think the big thing that has to happen is those two industries have to start to move closer together and start embedding research tech inside of martech. So very often, we’ve had some of our clients, if you think of their marketing-operations process, instead of it being a separate thing over somewhere else where you have research basically living on a data lake or living on some other knowledge platform integrating it within the overall process.  So we’ve had the most success where the research tech is actually part of the overall marketing process versus living somewhere else.


OK, this is going to be a longer episode than I thought.


There’s a lot to digest there, for sure.


More my point is, this is a really exciting topic.  So, I actually bought IntegratedInsights.com because it was, you know, cheap, because (and I’ll never use the domain) but I bought it because the…  I can’t get more excited than, except for like with my kids hitting a home run baseball, than… If we can get insights integrated into the workflows of the large organization, then we become really the enablers of insights, which I believe is the biggest missing piece for brands to ultimately deliver the best product or service to their customers.  It’s ultimately – as you articulated so perfectly – martech, adtech, and researchtech, I mean they’re nice classifications but what we really got to do is not just answer on an A/B test “This is bigger than that” but we have to allow the customer to discover the “why” behind that so then they can make decisions that are moving the needle in the right direction from the customer’s point of view and with the understanding of the motivations.       


Yeah, if you look at some of the work (I think you had Adobe on program)…


Yeah, Stacey Walker with Adobe.


She’s fantastic.


She’s pretty good.


When I see what Adobe is even doing in some of their technologies and I think about what we’re doing, that’s when we start to have to bring those pieces together.  We actually have been working with one of our customers in integrating within their design studios a Methodify button. So, literally, while the designer is designing things, they’ve got to test it as they go through the iterations.  Or even in the editing suites, while they’re going through an editing their actual concept or whatever it might be, they actually have the ability to test something within that environment. So it’s seamlessly integrated.


Are you on Twitter very much?




So, I’m super active on Twitter, and I post at least once a week.  I’ll take the time to screenshot when I see an application of integrated insights and then I post it.  This is my post: Is this research? #MRX#marketingresearch. And more often than not, I get push-back from inside of our industry, saying, “Bull****” or whatever, right.  And then you see these two divergent camps. And we just have to own the fact that everybody can do research now. And what we have to do as researchers is protect the integrity of the research.  Now we become largely empowerers at the brand level ‘cause it’s going to happen. When it happens, that research is being done in the right context with the right framework with ultimately the right business insight to drive the right outcome…  And to your point, a designer can’t wait a day to Methodify that point of view. It’s got to be in the workflow at 2 A.M.


What’s interesting is you’re touching on another subject around…  You look at research departments inside of large brands. I’m not going to paint everybody with the same brush, but many of them have such a huge PR problem internally.  Or you look at the marketing product groups, they’re going around them at all costs. So they become these gatekeepers that are holding information back from the people that need that information the most.  So what are they going to do? They’re going to run around; they’re going to use tools; they’re going to write poor research instruments; they’re going to get leading answers; they’re going to get bad data. So, how do we marry these two things?  That’s where I think technology has brought together this beautiful thing where it’s like the researchers can create the instruments for the marketers and the product people and allow them to run as many of these as they want but in a controlled way where they’re actually getting good data.  That’s the whole idea behind the research automation thing. You’re literally black boxing the methodologies, right? So, they can’t mess with the actual, the way the questions are asked. And that’s just human surveying. I mean there’s lots of other ways you can do that as well ‘cause the reality is there are to our point everybody is a researcher now.  Everybody is a consumer insights specialist.


Exactly. Which is not true, but it’s true.


Oh, it’s totally true.  Yeah, absolutely, yeah. To your point, I mean the reason why the researchers needed to have that…  Their job is to say to the marketer or to the decision maker, “That’s a bad idea.” And that’s not always the easy thing to do, right, because you have someone who is super invested in whatever that idea is or that new product, and you’ve got somebody coming along and saying, “You know what?  The consumer just doesn’t like it.” And on the other side, you have people saying, ”Well, what does the consumer need?” or “What do they know?” So this is the challenge, I think. So I think it’s about that iteration, and it’s about all the buzz words you hear now about agile and things like that.  But the marketers are bought into it; now it’s getting the researchers bought into that as well.


Yeah.  So, I actually wrote on LinkedIn a long-form article about this exact subject of where the…  market research still sits in the seat of power. It’s really interesting. I like using Lyft as kind of my go-to example of this.  They’ve got a handful of market researchers, and they’ve got almost tenfold on the UX research side. This is not unique, right? I see it in every organization.  And so, the type of projects that both departments are doing at largely the same. The research department has more of a Ph.D. spin on it, but the others ones are walking like every day in the trenches with the designers that are helping them get to the consumers’ insight, right?  We, as a department, as a function inside of the organization, really have to understand that it’s the role of … We have the opportunity to lead the charge of empowerment inside of the organization and with that I think this is where tools become really powerful because a wiki on how to write a question is not going to get traction but if you embed those best practices into the tool set, now all of a sudden you can create a standardized way of doing “X,” asking this type of question or whatever, right, in the right context, applying the right external data into that – so I’m thinking about like if UX or user experience, excuse me, or UI I think a lot about what part of the app are they interacting with, right?  And what is the specific need? And those are important contexts to understand the real implication of the insight.


But I think you’re touching on something where it’s the tools and the platforms and that’s what we’re all about.  But it’s a mindset that has to shift, right? Once they get past that idea that we’re not the gatekeepers; we need to be empowering to your point (organizations, marketers, decision makers within that).  We’ll become the hero in this story, right?




And I think the other big thing is, and I don’t know if you’ve seen this as well, but the blurring of these roles…  We’re talking about everybody is an insights professional. But the blurring… If you get a great marketer and a great researcher in the room together that have the same mindset and understand their role and own that role, man, magic can happen.    




That’s incredible, right?  And you see it in some organizations.  Again, that’s why I don’t want to paint everyone with the same brush.  I think there’s a lot of fabulous organizations doing amazing things. Like some of the banking clients that we work with, it’s surprising how forward-thinking they are.  You’d think they would be like the last ones to gate. They’re actually really forward-thinking in what they’re doing around research now.


So, my guest today has been Steve Mast.  Tell me, how do people get in contact with you guys?


If you go to Methodify.it, you can check us out there.  Or feel free to email me directly at SMast@Methodify.it.  


So, it would be wrong if I don’t ask you a few questions about the show so far.  What do you think about the new layout and venue?


Ah, I love Austin; I absolutely love Austin.  I’m not sure if I love this location. Feels kind of, everything’s sort of separated in different places.  I don’t know if I can say if we were at Quirk’s recently. I know it’s a competitor.


Yeah, yeah, of course.  


But it was all in one building, right?  I mean I didn’t love the location in Chicago where it was way down on the pier, but you’re in one building, one location; so, it was kind of easy to get to everything.  Now, for us, personally, it’s hard to miss us, right, like we got the big orange display down there.


Yeah, you guys went all in on the location.  And you’ve got the live video, interviews. And he does (I forgot his name.)




Saul does a great job on the post-production.  I don’t know if he does the production.


Yep, he does.


I mean I’ve been looking forward to the highlight reel that he puts together.


Last year, we didn’t have any activation, but Saul was walking around and just interviewing people, right?  And what was amazing with that: we had clients – Coke was one of them – contact us because they loved the video so much that they wanted to use it for their own purposes internally, right?  We’re like absolutely…


NO! [laughter]  


Take that Methodify off the logo.


Steve Mast, Methodify.  Look him up. Information is in the show notes.  Thanks for joining me, sir.


Great, thank you.

IIeX NA 2019 Conference Series – Sheila Akinnusi – Nedbank

Welcome to the 2019 IIEX North America Conference Series. Recorded live in Austin, this series is bringing interviews straight to you from exhibitors and speakers at this year’s event. In this interview, host Jamin Brazil interviews Sheila Akinnusi, Senior Manager of Consumer Marketing and Insights at Nedbank.

Contact Sheila Online:




Sheila Akinnusi with Nedbank.  They are a monstrously massive, large bank out of Africa.  She attended IIeX this year with the intent of finding out what the rest of the world was doing as well as bringing home some best practices.  Again, I just want to underscore how good this event is for connecting your brand with, specifically technology, with perspective buyers. One of the things I really struggle with, as an exhibitor of events for a few decades, is nobody is usually there with a fire to purchase right away.  Instead, it feels a lot more like the long tail but, having said that, it is really a good way to put a face to a name, especially if you’ve been interacting on social with attendees. Anyway, I wanted to offer that piece of advice. If I was going to be exhibiting, I would be looking at the companies that are going to be attending and that is a published list.  And then I would be reaching out to them on social, creating some level of connection – not in the way of like asking but in the way of properly interacting. Like see the things they’re posting about; find out what’s interesting to them. And then, you actually have some context for your conversations. Hope you enjoy the episode. I certainly did. Sheila, thank you so much for joining me on the Happy Market Research Podcast.       


Sheila with Nedbank, South Africa.  You live in Johannesburg. So, this is your first event at IIeX.  Is that correct?


It is, it is.


Tell me a little bit about what you do there.


So, I’m a Senior Market Research Manager in a large, I suppose, corporate bank.  I do everything from strategic insighting, research projects, consulting internally, managing vendors, governance.  Being a bank, obviously, there’s a lot of that; there’s a whole lot, whole lot. Jack-of-all-trades as researchers are known for.  And, yeah, I get sent to places like this to find out what the rest of the world is doing and bring home some best practice and bold leadership to instrument.


So, today is Day 2.  Do you have any big takeaways from the first day?


I did actually.  I think what was most encouraging is that we’re challenged by the same things even way across the ocean, which is quite encouraging for me.  I did feel like I was going to be bit overwhelmed. but I’m actually feeling quite comfortable in a crowd, which is really, really nice. The sessions that I attended were really quite interesting was the online influence one, how to leverage social media influences for your brand.  That was pretty cool. Yeah, the Women in Research event was really nice. Met lots of great people. I think everyone in the States is quite open. You guys are go-getters and just getting stuff done. It’s really nice to see.


Have you been to any other market research conferences?


I have, not here.  I’ve been to ESOMAR so a few years back, I went to Nice, France.       


In general, ESOMAR, the Insights Association, of course, what we’re doing here, IIeX, the GreenBook – all of them, I think, market research, in general, is a very open community.  And it was good; we met at the WIRe, as you said, last night. One thing that I’ve seen as a trend, obviously, we’re seeing this globally, but it’s been really pushed hard over the last ten years in the WIRe organization is an atmosphere of inclusion because it creates a better picture of what the world really is and helps us identify truth and, honestly, it’s just more human.  It’s interesting, like for me, having these experiences where I’ll be (This sounds a little bit odd, especially in context of our Game of Thrones conversation,) but I’ll be like at a WIRe event, and I’ll be the only guy talking to three women at the same time.  I’m like, “Gosh, I feel really uncomfortable right now.” It’s just a funny…


Right, right.  It’s a bit strange.


It’s a really strange context as a white male where normally I’m the most represented people group in the [laughs]


I hear you, but we were actually having a chat with another lady from Toyota.  And we were actually saying we’re quite encouraged to see a lot of guys there yesterday.  To be honest, I didn’t expect to see many. I thought, “Well, you know, it’s going to be all…”


That was the largest group of guys I’ve ever seen at a WIRe event.


It was really, really nice.  It’s great because I mean back home it’s mostly a female-dominated industry.  I think we were talking about it in terms of the skills that are applied. Most guys just, it’s not their thing.  But to come and see a lot of male representation is awesome; it’s awesome. So…


That’s an interesting point you’re making because I think if you look at market research from an industry perspective like sort of at the operational level, it’s female-dominant.  Now, I haven’t seen that in a survey, just anecdotally in the companies that I’ve worked for and interacted with. But as soon as you sort of move into the executive level, it seems like it’s a lot more male-dominant.  That’s right, yeah, for sure.


And I think it applies, I suppose in any industry actually.  You do find that. I would say definitely the glass ceiling is quite evident in our space and also because people stay for a while.  So to move up the ranks and requirements, family, managing life – all of those things come into play like in any other industry. But what I would say, at least in our space, executive roles in research back home you would find a lot more females than you would in other spaces. HR, general marketing, it is more the more female tendency, kind of roles, which is nice.  So, I’m happy; it’s a great field to be in. And we get to pick people’s minds all the time. I mean what’s better than doing that. So…   


At Nedbank, do you use partners, vendor partners a lot?   


Yes, yes.


And then, my other part of the question is:  Do you also do a lot of the work in-house? Programming, surveys, and that sort of thing.


Ah, well, I suppose I’ll start with our team ‘cause we’re so small.  So, we are only a team of about six or seven people at…


Believe it or not, it’s not a small team.


Really, really.  OK, we feel we’re extremely tiny for the needs that we have to service.  I mean we are a bank of 30,000 staff.


Oh, that’s huge.  OK, so, maybe I’ll take that back.


So, it’s a small team for a lot of work.  So we do have an extension of our team as our partners.  We actually worked with one of the ex-IIeX winners, a South African company called Dove.  They won a couple of years back. So, we try and look for the latest and greatest. We’ve worked with a lot of people from the States here, from London mainly, a lot of local vendors as well.  The technology space is getting a lot more exciting for us and the alteration space is getting exciting; so, we want to try some new things there. And I think that’s why I’m here as well: to look for people who we can work with.  


How exciting.  What do you see as one of the biggest challenges that you guys are facing as researchers?  


Sure, to be honest, it’s re-identifying ourselves in the industry, and literally trying to figure…  “Agile” is big in our environment and all of those changes that come with it. You know, design research.  How do these worlds coexist? So, that’s interesting. So, it’s re-defining ourselves and then the pace, at the rate at which things are changing.  And how to leverage the technology ‘cause, obviously, our skill sets are quite specific. So, how do we work with those who come from outside our industry and leverage what we both have?  Those are the things that keep us up at night most of the time.


The U.S. has a certain like view of ways of accessing consumer insights, usually through smartphones or web.  In Africa, is it a different…? Is SMS more popular? Or are there other challenges that you’re thinking about that North America and Europe may not be thinking about?


Yeah, I think that the biggest challenge we have is we are a melting pot of everything.  So at one extreme, we are in the online community space, using smartphones and all of that.  But then the largest sect of our population really doesn’t have the means, and data is still quite expensive in our country.  So leveraging some of the technologies is a bit challenging, but I mean there’s ways around that. So we incentivize in different ways.  Most people are still more comfortable if they had to do an online survey, I suppose, web- or desktop-based because our questions are still quite lengthy.  To get corporate to change and have the micro-surveys and just let’s get focused about what we’re trying to understand is bit tricky with some executives, especially accountants and banking.  

So our trackers are still really, really long and all of that.  But, yeah, we’re trying as much as we can, and I think in a few years, it will change if the policies change around communication and access to Wi-Fi and all those kinds of things, things are likely to move.  But I think it also depends on the respondent group because language can be a barrier: we have 11 languages in my country. So trying to convey a survey, people get suspicious; there’s trust issues. Sometimes, it is better face-to-face, depending on the market you’re dealing with, especially like mass market.  So, yeah, we do everything, a little bit of everything.


Now I understand a little bit more as to the challenge with a five-person team.  That’s a lot.


Yeah, yeah, absolutely.  A lot of people.


Well, I think they rang the bell, which means that the speakers are…  Yep, they’re starting in. I’m not sure but I think I’m chairing a…


Oh, goodness, so we should go.


My guest today has been Sheila.  Thanks so much for joining me on the Happy Market Research Podcast today.   


Thank you so much.  It was awesome.


Absolute pleasure.


I look forward to hearing it.


Oh, me too.


Awesome.  Thanks.

IIeX NA 2019 Conference Series – Rob Benson – Dwindle

Welcome to the 2019 IIEX North America Conference Series. Recorded live in Austin, this series is bringing interviews straight to you from exhibitors and speakers at this year’s event. In this interview, host Jamin Brazil interviews Rob Benson, co-founder of dwindle.

Contact Rob Online:




Rob Benson with Dwindle, dwindling it down as it were.  They are a new entrant into the market research space. Really cool in real time AV testing that is designed to work alongside designers.  Enjoy the episode.


We are live today at IIeX, the Innovation Show for market research in the U.S.  I’ve got Rob with Dwindle. You have a co-founder. Is that correct?


That’s right.  That’s Joe.


Joe’s standing over there, but because we only have two mikes, you’re going to go ahead and represent and represent well, I’m sure.




OK, good.  Tell me a little bit about Dwindle.  What do you guys do?


So, a little bit of background maybe:  We come from an internet marketing background, and it’s our first conference here, our first kind of dive into market research.  We’re still trying to learn the lingo and the vernacular, which is strange. But we’re getting there. So, we started… we’ve been doing internet marketing for 15 years or so, and we have plenty branding and logo projects, right?  We kind of developed this tool out of necessity because at one point presented, I remember we presented a really big, big branding project. It was a big deal. It didn’t go so well. And we learned things during the presentation that would have been great to know beforehand, right?  So we developed this quick-choice model, where we present two images to a person on an app on their smartphone. They start tapping, and each of those taps tells us something about their preferences: whether they like literal logos versus abstract, Sara versus Sans Sara font. So, going into a branding project, our design team now is armed with this information.  So, we’ve been using it internally with great success. (probably 40 or so projects to date) and kind of sampling it out to some other agencies. It’s going well. So we wanted to come here to try to learn where we might be able to fit a product like that.


Got it.  Now, you’re connected with Patrick Comer, who we all know as the founder and CEO of Fulcrum, now rebranded Lucid.  How do you guys know each other?


So, Patrick married my aunt, who is a…       


That really is a family connection.          


Yeah, afraid so.  I’m understanding what a tight-knit family this whole industry is, right?  So just knowing one person in that industry has put us in touch with people like you, who are heavy hitters in this place, and it’s a…  


It makes me feel old that Patrick married your aunt.  


Well, now, she’s only four years my senior.  She’s more like a big sister. Yeah, sorry.


Patrick and I are around the same age, so.


Right.  So, his wife, my aunt, and my mom are 15 years apart.


Got it.  Totally got it.  Perfect. Thanks for the clarity.  I feel a little bit better now. Patrick, I still think I’m older than you.  Ahh, you guys have been to the show. Just today’s your first day, right?


Well, yesterday we came.  This is our first show; so, we’re still learning.  


What do you think about the show so far?


Oh, man, it’s phenomenal:  the resources and this tight-knit community.  Everybody is so willing to help and really mentor us as newbies.  We kind of weren’t sure where we might get the answers to the questions we’re having, but everybody that we’ve talked to just, whether it’s at lunch or in these break-out sessions, have been so helpful.    


That’s awesome.  Are you… So, going back to Dwindle.  I want to hear about the name. Why Dwindle?  ‘Cause it feels negative to me. I’m not going to lie.


Interesting, right?  That’s an interesting perspective.  So, because we’re essentially trying to dwindle down these myriad of options or inclinations that somebody might have into a funnel.


Got it.  So you’re whittling down.  They wind up with the choice answers.  Did you identify the chaff from the bad choices along the way?  


You got it.  


OK, got it.  That helps me a little bit.  So, we’re going to push on the name later


Fair, that’s fair.  


Buy you some beer and we’ll talk about that.


I’m in.




That sounds great.  This evening… We learned of this ping pong bar.  Have you heard of this thing?


No, I haven’t.


It’s called Spin.  Man, we’re excited about this.  So, the biggest table in our office is a ping pong table.


OK, that’s the best boardroom ever.  


Right.  So, apparently, it is a bar made out of ping pong tables, which we can’t wait to see for the first time.  


Dominate.  Are you guys like sharks?


No, no, not at all, no.  


Are you going to come in and be like, “I’ve never played before?  $200? Yes.”


Well, we’ll get a lay of the room first.  Just kind of feel for the room. Lay of the land, right?  And just see…


Yeah, yeah, yeah.  Feel it out.


We’ll see.


Oh, my gosh, that’s awesome.  If someone wants to get in contact with you, how would they do that?


Email rob@dwindle.app is the best way, yeah.


Perfect.  Rob, thanks for being on the Happy Market Research Podcast.


Thanks so much.  Appreciate it.