MRMW NA 2019 Podcast Series

MRMW NA 2019 Conference Series – Gus Valen – Curator Video

Welcome to the MRMW NA 2019 Conference Series. Recorded live in Cincinnati, this series is bringing interviews straight to you from exhibitors and speakers at this year’s event. In this interview, host Jamin Brazil interviews Gus Valen, CEO of Curator Video.

Contact Gus Online:


Curator Video


Gus Valen, Curator Video, MRMW, on the floor:  It was really neat getting to know them. I had not heard of that company before.  Very interesting value prop. Their information is in the show notes. One of the things I wanted to highlight is how PII is playing a role in video.  Gus has a really interesting point of view. And then in addition, we talk about “stated” versus “observed” behavior and how brands are leaning more and more on observed behaviors and incorporating that into self-reported diagnostic questions.  Enjoy!


Happy Market Research live at MRMW.  My guest today is Gus, CEO of Curator Video.  




How are you?  


I’m doing great.   


Good.  What do you think about the show so far?


It’s a good show.  So, I’m meeting lots of people and learning a lot.


Yeah, good.  So, any highlights?


Well, I mean for me I think just really understand that research is now more of a continuous process than an event.  I think is probably the big takeaway for me.


Yeah, that’s actually such an interesting point.  I know you’re exhibiting. Have you been able to attend any of the sessions?


Yes, a few.       


OK, cool.  So, one of the themes I heard yesterday, Day 1, was this kind of movement away from linear consumer journey to a more abstract kind of touching the customer on wherever it is that they are on the continuum of driving really emotional connections to the brand as opposed to more of a strict funnel approach.  At least, that’s how I was processing it.


Sure, interesting.


Yeah, yeah.  To your point though, about it being a journey, the brands are kind of understanding that.


Right, right.


Then technology is interesting because it’s starting to map more of that journey.  Did you see the FourSquare presentation?


Yes, I did, yeah.


What did you think about that?


Yeah, I think it’s amazing that… the way that they can even look at the floor you’re on by the barometric pressure.  [laughter] It’s kind of crazy.   


I know.


Think about what like what actually we can learn about people.


It’s amazing.  Yeah, absolutely amazing that…anyway.  That was… But then also literally like mapping.  This is what I think is so interesting, and I can’t wait to dive into Curator Video, is that companies have operated…  It used to be the case that brands would say… were defined by who they said they were. And now, through social media and the internet, it’s become brands are who the customer says they are.  They’ve changed their narrative to be more like segmentation-specific. So, in other words, you know… You know I’m 48 years old; so, I’m in some like segmentation analysis for every brand, right?  And they have like some blanketed way of approaching me, but now what’s happening is they’re saying, “No, that’s still not good enough. We need to target Jamin as a specific human being.” So, it’s like getting more and more niche even down to the individual.           


I think even the screening is amazing because before we’d say, “Do you like music?”  “Do you like sports?” whatever it is that we’re going after and we’d say, “Yes” or No,” right?  And then we’d take that as a fact. And now we’re not asking; we’re actually watching your behavior; we’re watching what you write and actually knowing what you do.  So, even before you know you’re being screened in, the market is screening you in. I think, fundamentally, you know the idea of actually being able to watch behavior versus listen to words is really, really critical.  That’s one of the reasons that I got involved with Curator Video is really to look at… What are really better ways to do research?


Yeah, that’s a perfect segue into Curator Video.  So, talk to me a little bit about the business.     


Sure, so Curator Video basically is an end-to-end platform for qualitative video research where you can watch the video from anywhere that you have Wi-Fi or cell service and all the way through to editing the video with transcription that’s synched up that you can search and easily make clips or movies.  It’s built for the researcher and the non-video editor to make videos.


So, is it a little bit like YouTube?


It is a lot like YouTube in the sense of very easy to make videos, but it’s built on a secure platform that only the researchers and clients can get in.  It’s built for the quality that major companies want from a security and a GDPR basis.


Now, face is part of IP now, right?




Or PI?  Sorry, PII.  Have you then changed your data-handling protocols to accommodate HIPAA and PII and that sort of stuff?  


Sure, I think…  I mean I think there’s always this challenge between how conservative you are with Personally Identifiable Information and then what insight is.  And so, really, I think that most platforms like ours are really built to allow flexibility for what your rules are. There are rules that allow you with permission to actually use Personal Identifiable Information.  So I think what we can do is just follow information all the way down to taking a video and then turning it into just an audio file or just a transcript that’s filed away. So we really can work any way that you want to work.    


So, tell me like what is a typical engagement look like with Curator Video?


Sure, thank you.  Thanks for asking.  Really for us, it starts with a field operation.  So, we work typically with a moderator, the researcher.  We work with the DIY client, company who’s going out in the field and they’re interviewing a consumer or customer.  So, that can be done in an in-home; that can be done in a shop-along; that can be done on an intercept. Because we give you the device and that includes self-service, you can pretty much start to record from anywhere.    


That’s amazing.  So what is the device?  


The device is our iPad or iPhone, and really, we work with many devices.  But what we find is the simpler, the better, the easier ‘cause, again, we’re working with the non-technical researcher partner who just wants to do research but wants to capture video easily.


Yeah, that makes a lot of sense actually.  I don’t like I’ve seen anybody else in this space offer up a hardware as part of the solution.    


Correct.  The reason that we do that is that, again, the researcher doesn’t want to worry about, “Does my device have enough battery?”  “Do I have enough space?” or whatever else; so, we just make it super simple. We ship you the device; it’s all included in the price.  You just put it in the box and ship it back when you’re done. And then your video’s already cloud-recorded.


Ah, that’s awesome.  You don’t have to do anything.


Right. I don’t know if you know how long it takes to upload an hour of video.  


I do, unfortunately.


I know you do.  [laughter] But it takes about an hour, right?  So, with our device, there is no upload; it’s already there.  


That’s remarkable.


And so that’s what extremely different.  And then on the back-end, we have an easy set of simple tools to make clips instantly.   So you can search the video and the transcription, which is synched there. You can select words, and it creates clips, like a sentence that you want and you’re done.  So, what used to take eight hours, takes for us about 45 minutes.


Wow, that’s a huge win.  


So, as the researcher, if you think about your time and what it’s worth, that’s a huge savings.  And then, there’s a lot of collaboration tools that allow, if you’re out in the field, someone else can be watching and tagging and editing as you go.


So, it has a real time viewing option?


Yes, it does.


Oh, that’s pretty cool.  Do you have clients that will watch those interviews or is it pretty much limited to the researcher that’s doing the project?  


It’s really anyone that the client and the research team wants to allow in.  And what’s really nice in security-wise is that the only way that you can watch that is being invited from inside the system.  So, the large companies like that type of security.


Oh, they need it.  Yeah, absolutely. So much risk.  So, who is your ideal customer? What do they look like?  Are they inside of a brand? Are they inside of an agency?  What role are they facilitating?


They’re really the one that’s doing qualitative research that wants deep insight and really is just trying to find a better way to use video or use more video in a cost-effective way.  We’ve built it on a cloud-based system that is very streamlined and so it’s not expensive. I mean our goal is to allow every researcher, no matter skill level, no matter understanding of video, to be able to now add video to their client report in basically and hour versus days.  


Big difference.


Yeah, huge, huge.  And it’s really for the benefit of insight.  So then, in the back-end, to be able to search later, to be able, “Oh, I didn’t think about sustainability.  What did we find within these 14 in-homes or shop-alongs?” And you start searching “sustainability” or “green” or “competitive brands” or whatever that you may not have mined before.  To try to do that with a video that you have on your phone, is almost impossible. And then people are taking video; they’re uploading it to Dropbox; and then they’re downloading it to an editor; and then they’re uploading back.  Well, for us, just leave it in the Cloud and just edit it all there and be done with it.


Yeah, it’s nice ‘cause then you have a single source of truth as opposed to multiple PowerPoints that you need to try to locate which one was final, etc., etc.   


And for me, that’s very core.  As someone who has been in the research industry and the consulting industry, looking at truth is that I don’t want to just get a summary report.  I might want go back and in ten minutes just search the videos across all those. And I could never do that. Well, now with Curator, I can go in the space, and I can in literally 30 minutes just get a little more data, which would have taken me an hour to explain to someone to go find the video, to edit it, to send back to me a report that I might then have another question.  So, the idea of being able to delve into the data is huge.


We had a project I did…   (It’s actually one of my favorite projects of my whole career.) There was Amazon versus eBay.  This was years ago. Amazon was really on the rise at this particular point; eBay was trying to figure it out.  It moved from a book to something much bigger relatively quickly. And so, we interviewed 1,000 eBay users, 1,000 Amazon, and 1,000 both.  A bunch of analysis, math, all that kind of stuff… At the end of the presentation, in the survey we had a video open-end. This is before like Voxpopme and whatever was popular.  And we included some of the clips. That presentation made it up to the board, who sat through the video clips. And they actually said, “It’s the first time we’ve actually had voice of the customer in the boardroom.”


Makes sense, makes sense.


Which is interesting because it’s not true ‘cause they’ve seen all the MPS.  Every board meeting they’re talking about customer sat, math, research, marketing data, etc.  But they were able to connect it in such a way that they felt they actually understood the human aspect of the implications of the data.  It’s super powerful.


As you know, and me just working at Curator Video, the idea of video and the insight that it provides is amazing.  It’s just so much more powerful to present; I think it’s more engaging; I think people don’t fall asleep with your PowerPoints.  It’s everything that you need. And what we’re finding is that the researchers that are coming to us are saying, “Our clients are demanding video, and we’re not sure what to do.”  So we’re super happy to be in the industry, and we’re just here to help make video easy for you.


Gus, Curator Video.  If somebody wants to get in contact with you, how would they do that?


Go to  You can find us there. You can also reach me at


Of course, we’ll be including that information in the show notes.  Thanks, everybody, for tuning in. Gus, thanks for being on the Happy Market Research Podcast.


Jamin, thanks so much.