Welcome to the SampleCon 2021 Highlights Series. Recorded live in Pasadena, this series is bringing interviews straight to you from exhibitors, speakers and attendees at this year’s event. In this interview, host Jamin Brazil interviews Mario Carrasco, Co-Founder & Principal of ThinkNow.
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Jamin Brazil: Everybody, day two of SampleCon. I have Mario Carrasco, ThinkNow. Sir, welcome.
Mario Xavier Carrasco: Thank you very much. Good to see you, Jamin.
Jamin Brazil: Good to see you again.
Mario Xavier Carrasco: Yeah. Yeah.
Jamin Brazil: Wow.
Mario Xavier Carrasco: First in person.
Jamin Brazil: What a joy, huh?
Mario Xavier Carrasco: I don’t think I saw- I don’t even-
Jamin Brazil: Have we not met in person?
Mario Xavier Carrasco: Think I saw your- We have.
Jamin Brazil: We have. I thought so.
Mario Xavier Carrasco: We have. But I was on your podcast during the pandemic.
Jamin Brazil: That’s right.
Mario Xavier Carrasco: There was no video.
Jamin Brazil: There wasn’t any video. And I never do video on my podcasts. Yeah. And the reason why is I’m ugly.
Mario Xavier Carrasco: I don’t do video. I’ve never said that out loud, but that’s exactly why I don’t do video either.
Jamin Brazil: I mean, it adds a whole ‘nother layer of complexity, honesty.
Mario Xavier Carrasco: Right. Right.
Jamin Brazil: Yeah. Totally. And, then-
Mario Xavier Carrasco: You’re self-aware about how your face looks when you say things, which is unnecessary.
Jamin Brazil: Exactly. Thank you very much for that. And, on top of it, it adds a whole layer of complexity to production, which we’re just not set up to be able to cope with. But, yeah. Having said that, we are live in person. What do you think about the show?
Mario Xavier Carrasco: It’s amazing. I mean, it’s great to be around people. I was super anxious, to be honest, coming in. I’m somewhat of an introvert by nature, but the pandemic has made me appreciate these in person experiences more. So I’m soaking it in. It’s nice.
Jamin Brazil: Yesterday, I- So I’m an introvert. And I actually have a little social anxiety when it comes to these kinds of events. You’re nodding your head. It was hard for me, I’m not gonna lie.
Mario Xavier Carrasco: No
Jamin Brazil: It was- And I had gotten used to flexing that muscle pre-COVID, but having a whole year and a half where I didn’t have to, I was- It really made me feel like the first time, that kind of sort of fear and will they like me? Like it’s a high school or some stupidity like that, right?
Mario Xavier Carrasco: Yeah. Well, so, for me though, I think I went the opposite way in the pandemic. I much more grateful now. I think I used to just not look forward to these at all. I went begrudgingly. But, now, I’m thankful.
Jamin Brazil: Yeah. You can have it.
Mario Xavier Carrasco: I’m appreciating it. Yesterday was difficult though because I’m here local. So I got here eight am, meetings all day, and I didn’t have a hotel room. So today I have a hotel room, so I can take that break.
Jamin Brazil: And you have family.
Mario Xavier Carrasco: I have family.
Jamin Brazil: So you still have the normal family obligations, which is-
Mario Xavier Carrasco: Right. Yeah. I woke up-
Jamin Brazil: Very rough.
Mario Xavier Carrasco: Breakfast, took the kids to school.
Jamin Brazil: Kids. Yep.
Mario Xavier Carrasco: So, now, I’m staying here tonight. So I feel much better.
Jamin Brazil: Much better. Yeah.
Mario Xavier Carrasco: Was able to go and watch TV, take my shoes off.
Jamin Brazil: Yeah. Totally. A little down time.
Mario Xavier Carrasco: It was nice.
Jamin Brazil: Yeah. It’s super important. So what’s a big takeaway for you from COVID?
Mario Xavier Carrasco: Wow. So, from COVID, so I had a panel this morning, I talked a little bit about it. I think just learning about people. I think, in my head, being a founder, had a very clear delineation between work and life. The pandemic completely blew that to pieces. So just learning about people. I mean, I’m on the SampleCon Board, for example, started in 2019. I didn’t really know any of the board members on a personal level. So Bob Fawson from Dynata, for example. I knew what he did. We talk sample, we talk shop. But yesterday. I found out he’s an avid mountain biker. I’m like, “I’m an avid mountain biker.” We’ve been working together on the conference for the past two years, right? So just taking those opportunities in has been really great. And, yeah. I’m just not talking about work as much, just getting to know people, and then the work is secondary-
Jamin Brazil: Part of it.
Mario Xavier Carrasco: What do you do? Cool. All right. I can help you out.
Jamin Brazil: I’ve been saying for years that people buy research from people, as opposed to procurement. And I really believe that’s the case. The relationships are what’s really important. And one of the things that I’ve noticed through COVID is that we’ve gotten a peek into people’s lives that we would’ve never gotten in the past.
Mario Xavier Carrasco: Hundred percent. And I’ve heard that refrain, people buy from people. I understood it on a theoretical level. I would even repeat it. But I don’t think I really understood it until the pandemic came, so that was the biggest takeaway for me.
Jamin Brazil: That’s cool.
Mario Xavier Carrasco: Yeah.
Jamin Brazil: So ThinkNow, what’s going on with ThinkNow in middle of 2021?
Mario Xavier Carrasco: Good time to ask me that question. We had a record quarter last quarter. We’ve been around for ten years and had the best quarter we’ve ever had.
Jamin Brazil: Congratulations.
Mario Xavier Carrasco: Thank you. And it’s exciting. It’s validation for the work that we do. We focus on multicultural consumers in the U. S. We’ve been steadily growing year after year, but, of course, everything that happened from a cultural perspective in 2020 has really put into focus the importance of understanding these consumers. And all sides of the business are growing. We’re at SampleCon so, obviously, more of what I’m talking about is the panel side of things, so diverse respondents. But we also have a full service research division that’s doing really well. We’ve launched a technology product that’s an audience platform that’s focused on multicultural consumers. So, yeah. Things are going- Things are going great and it’s a good time to be ThinkNow, easier to have those conversations with companies now that they understand the importance of understanding these consumers.
Jamin Brazil: Ten years is also a milestone, so it’s just having been around that long is really important, right?
Mario Xavier Carrasco: Yeah.
Jamin Brazil: You learn a lot of stuff and just sort of have the benefit of on- Growing relationships. So congratulations on that.
Mario Xavier Carrasco: Thank you. Doesn’t feel like ten years, but, yeah, it’s crazy.
Jamin Brazil: It goes by fast.
Mario Xavier Carrasco: Yeah.
Jamin Brazil: One life. Everybody, I hope you found joy in this episode, I did. Mario, thank you.
Mario Xavier Carrasco: Thanks, Jamin.