My career in Market Research has been filled with great experiences with wildly successful companies over decades. All of it has shaped my professional path and my operating philosophy on business. .
That’s not to say it was always a joyride. My day-to-day “all-in” commitment to companies came at a real cost. A whole era of my career cost me countless days and nights away from my family and, thanks to advancing tech, distracted my attention even when I was physically present.
When I started OpinionRoute, I had a mission to merge my industry ideas with personal life changes. I relocated my family. I hired local. I embraced a new corporate philosophy in the Midwest.
It all went famously and grew quickly. Then I hit a speed bump that gave me a look-in-the-mirror moment.
As the proud owner of a rapid growth startup in OpinionRoute, I loved my team. I was blessed to have their commitment as I reshaped my life around family dinners and coaching my kids’ sports teams. Then one typical Friday, I heard my colleagues joking about something they called the “Friday Night Backpack”.
As it turns out, they discovered a new thing in common, but it didn’t make me feel great in the least. Turns out Friday nights contained a ritual. When kicking off their fun weekend plans, they all packed a backpack- with their work laptop.
This had to happen to keep up with Friday night project launches. Otherwise, they’d risk letting the clients down if something went wrong. The “Friday Night Backpack” was an unofficial survival tool- at MY company. I realized I had reinvented the wheel.
Through the years, I saw the warning signs around demands on talent in Market Research. Clients felt comfortable mandating 7-day-a-week availability in MSAs. International colleagues were working graveyard shifts. Talent was being force-fed tech tools that made things harder. Some companies even flaunted their labor model as “churn & burn” openly. I wanted to do things differently.
This launched a new great experience in my career. We began a quest to create the impossible- a way of working that disrupted this Friday Night Backpack habit without compromising project deliver.
Our team embraced this mission wholeheartedly and we even attracted new talent who embraced the cause. We focused intensely on the painful process points that contribute to “the daily grind”. One step at a time, we collaborated, designed, and built solutions for better ways of working. For years, we transformed a simple reporting technology into a robust platform that can do so much more.
The fix for the Friday Night Backpack is called the NavigatOR. For hundreds of researcher firms today across tens of thousands of surveys, the “Nav” delivers projects on time, optimizes quality, eliminates volumes of vendor emails and even checks on project progress on Friday Nights. More than anything, it’s the reason our team now loads those backpacks with better things- like camping gear and coach’s whistles & whiteboards.
If you think like us and want to improve your team’s work life without compromising on performance, we’d love to talk more!