CEO Summit 2019 Podcast Series

CEO Summit 2019 – Mike Misel – Cint

This is the first interview of the Insight Association’s CEO Summit 2019. Recorded live in Miami, Jamin Brazil interviews Mike Misel, SVP of Cint. We hope you enjoy this mini series taking you into the minds of some of the most influential CEOs in Market Research.



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I’m here at the CEO Summit with Mike from Cint.  Mike, welcome to the Happy Market Research Podcast.


Thank you very much.  It’s a pleasure to be here.  


This is the CEO Summit.  Have you been here before?


This is my first time.  Amazing. The talent in the room.  I’m very lucky to be here, in fact.


Maybe you could tell us a little bit about your journey and to Cint.


Yeah, wow, very interesting.  So I originally was a calculus teacher,


For high school, junior high, college?


I was at a prep school where I taught 18-year olds, and then taught a little bit of junior college, and had one class at a Cal State University.


I can’t believe I just said junior high by the way.  Anyway, go ahead. Sorry.


There’s probably some kids out there.


Maybe, yeah.  Two.


Ironically, given the news today (I’ll let you talk about that later), I was brought to the industry in 2011 by a friend who I played golf with.  He started explaining to me the nuances of the market research industry. It blew me away that people actually got paid to take surveys. It was the first time that I…  you know. So that tells you the knowledge level that I had coming into this industry, but it’s been an amazing journey. So, over the past eight years, I kind of went from…  it was nice actually coming in with no experience, had fresh eyes, came in on the ground floor, and just sort of started working my way up through the industry. And I don’t need to say this to you.  So much has changed just in the eight years I’ve here. It’s amazing being in the room with these people who’ve been in this industry 20, 30, however many years they’ve been in, and seen the things they’ve seen.  Just my exposure in the last eight years has been really incredible.


Cint has gone through some transitions.  




Talk to us a little bit about what you’re seeing as one of the big trends in market research.  


I think that everybody has seen that technology can play a major role with regards to the sampling process itself.  The model that existed in the beginning of putting a lot of effort, money, whatever it is into building a panel and that cost for acquisition that people were putting in, trying to then recoup and get an ROI on that was fine for a while.  Price compression and just the way we’ve been able to deliver a sample has really put a lot strain, I think, on a lot of the traditional panel owners. And us as a company, starting 20 years ago, I think at a really advantage I guess, if you will, in terms of how we operate, where this exchange model was pretty future-proof.


It should be mentioned that actually started in 1998 and was the leader in the sample (I don’t know if this is the right term) sample marketplace, right?  


Yeah, I would say credit to Bo Mattsson, our founder, who had this vision of an exchange model.  It’s funny I mentioned that I started at Cint in 2011. We had a real tough time explaining that model to the industry here in the United States.


And what’s funny about it is, if you think about just work flow.  When I started Decipher, this was the premise: is that as a researcher I spend a lot of my time doing certain functions.  In those days, it was like things like term and tally sheets. I’m not going to get into what that is, but it was a real pain in the ass.




As we’ve evolved through technology, the surveying is actually not the hard…  The programming of the survey is not the hard part now. The hard part has become the fielding and the mapping the terms and the quotas in your survey to the actual the actual sample that you’re getting from your suppliers.  And that takes… That still is a lot of baling wire and rubber bands, it feels like.


Yeah, and I think it’s the job of technology to make that easier.  We talk about ourselves as being in the supply chain management business.  


That’s exactly it.


The supply business, it’s still a part of what we do, but truly, if we’re going to bring value to our clients, what we’re doing is we’re going there, making them more efficient.  We’re taking their supply chain from an antiquated place to a more modern place where they’re not having to do those things and use bubble gum and scotch tape to try to cobble things together.  


It’s almost like the principles we learn in B school from lean manufacturing and adopted, of course, by Eric Ries, the lean startup and now maybe it’s time for lean research.    


Listen, it is.  It’s happening already, right?  There’s companies out there, PureSpectrum one of them, looking at making the whole, entire research process being automated.   I think that the traditional way of doing research in the past was expensive, cumbersome, took a long time. The modern consumer has changed compared to five, ten, as far back as we want to go.  And things are changing so quickly that companies need the ability to be more agile and move quicker than they ever did before. So, getting that feedback, those insights as quick as possible is of the utmost importance now.   


So, thinking about Cint specifically, what are you guys offering that is bringing value to the market and people are really grabbing it, customers are grabbing it.  And it’s ok to brag.


[laughs]  Thank you.  Probably the biggest thing now is…  You know for a long time our entire business was about an open-exchange model where somebody could come to a really great user interface, DIY tool, be able to get sample.  We’re moving more to a place of allowing companies to create their own marketplace: Choose the suppliers that they want to choose with the own rates they want to dictate with those suppliers and then Cint just becomes, in essence, the plumbing system, the piping that allows for that sample to easily be transmitted from the supplier to the client themselves.  It’s really about creating a solution for them that makes their life easier.


My guest today has been Mike with Cint.   Mike, thank you so much for being on the Happy Market Research Podcast.  


Yeah, I really appreciate it, Jamin.  Thank you very much.


And thank you very much everybody that’s tuning in.  We are going to go have some cocktails.


Have a great day!