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Dig In Episode 39 | Dig Insights’ Founders on the History of Dig Insights and Upsiide, Business Lessons, and the Future of Market Research

Dig Insights’ founders discuss the recent refresh of Dig Insights and Upsiide and share some lessons learned from starting a market research agency.

A little detour this week as Dig Insights’ founders Paul Gaudette (CEO, Dig Insights), Michael Edwards (Chief Growth Officer), Ian Ash (President, Upsiide), and Dominic Atkinson (President, Dig Insights) are in the hot seat this week. Meagan sits down with them to discuss the recent refresh of Dig Insights and Upsiide. The four founders look back at some fond memories from the last 12 years, and each one shares meaningful moments and lessons learned from starting a market research agency.

Tune in to learn:

  • The Dig Insights’ origin story

  • How they leveraged technology and made use of analytics and modelling to visualize data in a more business-focused way

  • About the most meaningful moments in Dig’s history

  • The importance of listening to your customers

  • Each founder’s predictions for the future of the market research industry

These four have come a long way since starting in Michael’s basement. Now that we’ve revamped Dig’s and Upsiide’s visual looks, we can’t wait to see what comes next for our brands.

A Few Highlights From the Episode:

Meagan: When we initially decided to do this episode, we talked about specific kinds of inflection points, or growth or meaningful moments that you guys have had over the last 12 years. Is there anything that comes to mind for you that really speaks to, you know, I knew that this was going to work or I knew that we were really moving in the right direction?

Dominic: It's a good question. I actually think for me it wasn't a specific point in time, but it's in the early days. It was really hard to convince people to come work with us because we couldn't promise that we'd pay them every two weeks, although we did. We never missed a paycheck. But people were taking a bit of a gamble on us. And we had a couple of mishires early on. But we reached a point where we started to realize that all these amazing people, in our relatively small industry, were hearing about the work we were doing, and they wanted to be a part of it.

And to me, that was a real sign that we'd actually created something worthwhile, that people were coming to us and asking if there are opportunities.

Paul: We made a strategic decision as a management team to basically invest in technology and make sure that we opened up the Chicago office. And I think that in 2016 when we came to that conclusion, I remember it wasn't just the four of us, we had the full management team there as part of that conversation, helping us get to that point where we all agreed that those were the big initiatives.

Fast forward six years, we have a growing and stable US office that's already around 15 people. We've got an amazing technology offering and SAS platform that we've spent a ton of time and energy on that is first class and just amazing technology, I think. Had we not come to that consensus back in 2016 I don't know that we would be here today.

Ian: I think the first one was we realized that like portfolio optimization with discrete choice, that really was something unique. So we could do that. It was highly analytical that other companies couldn't easily do. We were competing in a different way. I think when we first started doing that, I thought, "Yeah, this is it. This is, this is the right direction." You know, we were doing a lot of what everybody else was doing at the very beginning. Trying to come up with some unique things. But that was truly unique and we were actually doing it better. And we do it better now than we did then.

Michael: The first real inflection point to me was with the discrete choice, and I don't want to take too much credit for that. It was actually a client that pushed us in that direction. They literally just came to me and they said, "You know, in the US they've done this study, what do you think?"

So I was like, "Oh, it's a conjoint. We can do that." And it wasn't. And we sort of pivoted. We figured out what it was. We found a team of people who could do this, who had skills that we didn't at that point have. We now have those skills that at that point we didn't.

But I guess the point, the positive advice that I'd say for people for their own careers is really listen to your clients because they'll push you in different directions. And even if it's something you can't do now, maybe you can learn how to do that because they're saying to you that there's demand in the market and I don't know how to fill the demand. There isn't a company saying that we're experts in this. Could you become an expert in that? And we did with Discrete Choice, and it worked really well for us.

Find the rest of the episode here.

If you want to connect with Dominic, reach out to him on LinkedIn.

If you want to connect with Paul, reach out to him on LinkedIn.

If you want to connect with Ian, reach out to him on LinkedIn.

If you want to connect with Michael, reach out to him on LinkedIn.

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