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 Roddy Knowles, VP, Product and Research Innovation.
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Jamin Brazil: Hey, everybody. I am joined by Roddy Knowles. My God, man, we’ve known each other a long time.
Roddy Knowles: Has been a long time. Yeah.
Jamin Brazil: Feedback Loop is where you are. Tell me about Feedback Loop. Let’s start there.
Roddy Knowles: Sure. So we’re an agile research platform for rapid consumer feedback. And, so, to unpack that a little bit, agile research is something that everybody’s been talking about over the last couple of years, maybe a bit of a buzz word, but that’s what we’ve been doing, really, from the onset, is focusing on doing research in agile way to support teams that work in an agile way. So one of the things that differentiates us is we work with a lot of non-researchers, really geared towards doing- Towards providing a platform for non-researchers to use. It has guardrails in, so they can conduct research safely, get fast, easy, reliable data. Work with research teams too, a lot of them [INAUDIBLE] multiply what they are doing to support teams that need to move fast, product teams, marketing teams, teams like that. So, yeah, that’s pretty much what we’re up to in a nutshell.
Jamin Brazil: Is it predominately quant?
Roddy Knowles: We just- You weren’t in the panel, Jamin, we were talking about, is it quant, is it qual, is it neither?
Jamin Brazil: I know
Roddy Knowles: I’d say it’s neither. I call it agile research. It’s really interesting, if you talk to UX researchers, they might say, “This is quant because the sample size if 50.” But, for more quant researchers, they might, like I said, “This is qual because of certain elements of sample size or quotas that-” How we’re approaching that, whatever. So depends on who you ask. I’d say it’s neither. And I say it honestly doesn’t matter that much
Jamin Brazil: Side note, Mom, if you’re listening, I am attending the conference. I would’ve been in the session, except I was doing the podcast.
Roddy Knowles: Yeah. Well, we all have our priorities. Yeah.
Jamin Brazil: Good. So what do you think about the conference so far?
Roddy Knowles: This is my first SampleCon, so did not attend when I was on the Research Now side. Now that I’m allowed to attend, I’m here. So that’s good. It’s been fun. So it’s been good. It’s been good to have in person conference again, obviously. I am having a little bit of a flashback, I’d say, to what I’ve seen at other conferences where we get on stage and we talk about these cool things and then, what are we gonna do next? So, now, that’s what’s sort of in my head, is where do we take these conversations? It’s fun to hear them. There seems to be a lot of sort of alignment on what the problems are. We’re not solving anything on stage or providing solutions. So my question for us, maybe for you, for everybody, is like, where do we go from here? What are we gonna do next? I’m excited to be here, cool. But, now what? How do we use this as a catalysis to actually do something?
Jamin Brazil: You’re not the only person that’s told me that. In fact, last night, at dinner, I was sitting with someone. I don’t have his permission to share specifics, but he was actually pretty fired up pre-alcohol about this particular topic, that we’ve identified some issues. One of the issues is sample quality. Another issue is just supply. We have a material supply issue at the moment because this space has grown so much. And how are we gonna actually put feet to the solutions as opposed to more of a talking points in a PowerPoint.
Roddy Knowles: Absolutely. Yeah. And we’re at a point where I think we have to now. Well, just, should the supply shocker change surprise anyone who’s been paying attention for the last ten years? Not really. There’re plenty of indicators that that was- That was going to be a challenge. And, now- But now that we’re actually faced with it, then now we’re gonna actually be forced to do something.
Jamin Brazil: Do you think that lends itself to- I mean, I don’t know what you would call it, the new- A new industry, kind of another Insights Association or-
Roddy Knowles: Yeah. It’s an interesting question.
Jamin Brazil: Some governance body.
Roddy Knowles: I was talking with someone about this earlier and like, what- Trying to think of examples of when industry groups had gotten together and done some of this work. And I think about the old CASRO days. And there were working groups who would take some of these things-
Jamin Brazil: CASRO’s a great example of that because they were instrumental in creating the CASRO standards-
Roddy Knowles: Absolutely.
Jamin Brazil: That all of us, if you’re a- In, especially, in the agency space or data handling. SMR, I think, has done that. But I would say that they’ve done it to a lesser degree than CASRO did.
Roddy Knowles: Yeah. It’s hard because it’s volunteer work for everybody.
Jamin Brazil: Right.
Roddy Knowles: But it’s super important for the industry. But it also helps every- How do you- How do we prioritize that? I don’t- I really don’t think we’ve solved it, but I do think we need something official. Because if we just make it an official thing where everyone goes on their merry way and talks about how important it is and schedules a meeting that gets canceled and whatever, how do we actually- How do we actually move forward? So I do think some organization is necessary. Who owns it? I don’t know. You see me complaining but not raising my hand. I’ll help, but someone’s got to jump up and raise their hand and really bring a group together or multiple groups together, I’d say.
Jamin Brazil: Do you think it- I mean, maybe Insights Association is a place to look at- To start there.
Roddy Knowles: Yeah.
Jamin Brazil: Until the event, I really hadn’t considered this as a viable option, but it is. Something like that could-
Roddy Knowles: It wasn’t top of mind for me either, some of these problems here, but now I’m just back in real life seeing people on stage talking about these things. And it’s just, yeah. It’s very much of part of my brain right this second.
Jamin Brazil: Yeah. For sure. For sure. How’s the pandemic impacted you personally?
Roddy Knowles: Personally?
Jamin Brazil: Yeah.
Roddy Knowles: I got to grow a beard.
Jamin Brazil: I know. A big beard. It looks awesome. I’m super jel-
Roddy Knowles: That was it.
Jamin Brazil: My wife says no.
Roddy Knowles: I became much more high maintenance during the pandemic. So it was good. As someone who’s introverted by nature and said, “Sign me up for being in a cave for a year versus being on the road all the time.” I think I would’ve taken the cave, but I realized a few months into that, maybe that wasn’t quite the case. I realize that I actually miss people a little bit, so that’s a good thing. But I’d say it did allow me to spend more time at home with the family, which I’d say is good. Challenging at the same time too, which is great. I realize I like a mix-
Jamin Brazil: Yeah. Totally.
Roddy Knowles: Being in person and being away from people too. I definitely need time to recharge, so that was good. But I didn’t need a whole year or so to recharge. And I really realize now- I knew it before the pandemic, but I started in October before the pandemic hit, so I’d been in our office a lot and made connection with our team. We brought in so many people after pandemic started onboarding them remotely. So, now, the last month or so, I’ve been in the office a lot, meeting people again, just getting a lot of stuff done in person, which is nice too. So I think it affect- The way it affected me most, maybe, is an appreciation for being in person and what that actually means, whereas before, I’d sort of sloughed it off a little bit more. So opened my eyes some. Yeah.
Jamin Brazil: Congratulations on the success that you’ve had at Feedback Loop.
Roddy Knowles: Thanks.
Jamin Brazil: It’s a great company, great founder, great story, great product. If somebody wants to get in contact with you, how would they do that?
Roddy Knowles: Sure. They can find me on Twitter or on LinkedIn, that’s fine. You can email me too at roddy. firstname.lastname@example.org. I don’t check my email that much, to be honest. If you know me, don’t find me that way. So LinkedIn or Twitter’s probably the best thing to do. Yeah.
Jamin Brazil: Awesome. Great. Well, thanks so much for joining me, man.
Roddy Knowles: Yeah. Thanks a ton, Jamin.