How dumb can I be? | #PulseOfTheNation with Butch Rice


Pondering Panda has just reached another milestone. 3 million interviews completed in less than two years. Impressive numbers and of course great excitement in the team, and definitely an excuse for yet another celebration.  Our client list continues to grow week on week. Yes this is all great and we continue to expand our team. We look for the best people and we bring in the best people – this is the true success of our business. So all in all things are fantastic from a business point of view, so why then am I feel really dumb?Like stupid enough to consider removing myself from the human genome. Although it’s a bit late for that to have an effect….

MD of Pondering Panda, Butch Rice in conversation with BizRadio’s Grant Jansen
Podcast | Click HERE to listen

It’s because I have been focusing on the wrong target to compare ourselves against – the behemoths of traditional research, wallowing arrogantly in the waves, led by accountants, and smug in their belief of eternal life, a bit like an exclusive religious cult. With a lack of innovative thinking, and research that is implemented at the pace of a paralyzed snail, using them as a bench mark is a bit like comparing your math’s marks to the class dunce. It might make you feel good, but out there in the real world, it counts for nothing. To compare our progress against the current status quo makes no sense at all. It is just plain dumb.

Sure, we can entertain ourselves by debating exactly how the death throes of the inhabitants of Jurassic Park will look, and even look forward to the end of an era of arrogant ignorance, but that is actually irrelevant. What is relevant is the new world that is unfolding in global marketing. Keep an eye on what is happening, or get left behind.

This was brought home to me with a bang when reading about how Survey Monkey is doing. If you haven’t yet visited their website, do yourself a favour. They are providing one of the bench marks of the new world of research insights, when it comes to technology. Here are a couple of stats to get you going. Four years ago they had 14 employees. They now have 200. And the company is valued at 1.35 billion US dollars. Yes, billion, not million. Consider that fact, swirl it around in your mouth, and then experience just a twinge of envy that you are not a member of their team.  More than 10 billion rand. In four years.

More than 30 million respondents complete Survey Monkey questionnaires every month. From these respondents, they recruit members of their ” audience ” for further interviews, which means they can serve up any demographic segment to clients at a moment’s notice, at a price that is so low it is almost a joke. What a business.

And then there is Google Surveys, and Check them out if you haven’t already done so. For innovative thinking, there is Brainjuicer, who have won more awards for innovation in recent years than all the behemoths put together. It is both the technology and methodologies of market research that are changing, as we make advances in neuroscience on the one hand, and with digital technologies on the other.

The new dawn is here, and it is bright and shining. And that is why I am really dumb. It is just too tempting to compare how we are doing to the big old clunky multi-layered bureaucratic research groups. Bit of a cheap shot really. The most important thing is, it doesn’t matter. Jurassic Park is closing down. The only debate is when the exact date will be.

I am chuffed by our milestone of 3 million interviews. Makes the traditional companies look like their numbers are frozen in stone. But that is not the valid comparison. Compare our numbers to Survey Monkey, and I might get a tad embarrassed, make muttering noises about the size of the US population compared to ours, and change the subject. Numbers like 30 million a month are the appropriate measure. For us to aspire to those, we have to accelerate our entry into markets like India and Nigeria. We cannot afford to be a niche player on the global stage. For sure as anything, the axe man cometh, and these innovative services will eventually encircle the globe.

Apologies to the old guard, if I have offended you with some of my observations in the past.

I should have been talking far more about the future, and far less about the past. And you are right; there is just a twinge of envy when I observe the global groups. Just how do you stay so complacent, when your demise is guaranteed? It is like walking to the gallows, whistling a jaunty tune?  Somewhere I am missing something. Feel free to comment, and share the secret of your hubris. Especially after you have taken a look at the examples I have quoted above. I am all ears.

Join Grant Jansen every weekday morning from 10 to noon for the Daily Biz on Biz Radio.


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