Evette Cordy Book

Cultivating Curiosity by Evette Cordy, a book worth reading

To read the Japanese version of this post (from Mr Ryota Sano) click here. Posted by Ray Poynter, 19 April 2018 On the flight back from Australia to the UK, I read Evette Cordy’s new book Cultivating Curiosity: How to unearth your most valuable problem to inspire growth. I definitely recommend this book to anybody who wants to solve problems, help clients, grow their role at work, and/or get more stuff done. I do have some quibbles with a few of the observations and recommendations, but between the quibbles, there are large slabs of really useful pages, which provide a mix of broad philosophy and detailed suggestions for improving the way you work. The main thrust of the book (in my eyes) relates to the need to properly identify problems. For example, ensuring that you are actually tackling the main/underlying problem, that you have properly understood what is needed, and you have correctly assessed the context. The book identifies several problems, with the two key ones being: Starting the process by looking for solutions – which prevents time being spent on problem finding. Assuming things – for example assuming that we know what customers need, or that the solution has to […]

Ben Blatt's book

Nabokov’s Favourite Word is Mauve – a book market researchers should read

To read the Japanese version of this post (from Mr Ryota Sano) click here. Post by Ray Poynter, 28 March 2018 Ben Blatt’s book, Nabokov’s Favourite Word Is Mauve is a good read, and a read I would recommend to any market researcher who wanted to widen his or her horizons in ways that challenged their ‘within-the-box thinking’. The book is, on the face of it, a quantitative review of different characteristics of literature. But do not panic, Blatt’s work does not reduce great literature to a set of soulless and unfeeling numbers. The success of the book is that it makes the reader think about authors like Hemingway and Austen, Rowling and Joyce in new and interesting ways. The book explores several characteristics of writing to provide additional perspectives on things we already know. For example, Blatt devotes his first chapter to exploring whether the advice to use adverbs sparingly is supported by success or otherwise of authors and books. In his analysis, he quickly homes in on ‘ly’ adverbs, such as ‘suddenly’ and ‘quickly’. He starts his analysis by looking at a list of successful authors and contrasting their use of adverbs, for example Ernest Hemmingway and Mark Twain […]

Photo of the book Attack of the 50 Foot Blockchain

‘Attack of the 50 Foot Blockchain’ – Book Review

Post by Ray Poynter, 12 March 2018 For anybody interested in the current hype around Bitcoin, blockchain and smart contracts, I would recommend reading David Gerard’s book ‘Attack of the 50 Foot Blockchain’ (many thanks to Richard Young for recommending the book to me). The book is a thorough deconstruction of the history, mythology, and outrageous over-claims of this popular new technology. The book provides a useful and timely counterpoint to all those making claims for the benefits of blockchain and its associated technologies. The book is short and very readable. The tone is clearly negative about blockchain and I would advise any reader to crosscheck the information they gather from the book (I have done that and so far everything I have checked has been confirmed.) Key items covered in the book are: How blockchain, cryptocurrencies, and smart contracts work. This requires some technical understanding of the language of IT, but even without that you will get a sense of what is happening. The problems that cryptocurrencies (such as Bitcoin and Litecoin) have had with criminality, fraud, lack of security, volatility, and more recently with capacity. The reasons why smart contracts seem doomed for the foreseeable future, despite the […]

Image of the book The Culture Map

Do you work internationally? Read ‘The Culture Map’ by Erin Meyer

I have just read The Culture Map by Erin Meyer and it has excited me more than anything I have read for several years (since Chip and Dan Heath’s Made to Stick in 2007). If you work internationally or if you manage cross-cultural teams I strongly suggest you read this book – it is useful, enjoyable, and an engaging read. The book is a forensic analysis of some of the key differences between cultures and how these differences create problems when people from different backgrounds work together. The book is also a manual for how to deal with many of these problems. I don’t want to steal any of the book’s thunder (I want you to buy it and read it), but a couple of examples will help illustrate the insight and usefulness of the book. 1) A French businesswoman in America. Early in the book Meyer uses an anecdote about a French businesswoman to illustrate a non-obvious clash between French and American styles. The businesswoman was transferred from Paris to the USA to lead a team of Americans. She was looking forward to the challenge as she appreciated the direct and honest style of Americans (e.g. ‘say what you […]

eBook image

An Introduction to Market Research Tables – Request for Feedback

Most market research textbooks (for example Malhotra) do not really cover the sort of tables we use in market research. The main reason being that there is almost no academic justification for the way we market researchers use tables. We tend to use data that ought not be in tables, frequently use the wrong types of statistical tests, and our tendency to cross everything by everything is more like a fishing expedition that a scientific evaluation of hypotheses. However, whatever the rights and wrongs of the issue, tables are probably the most widely used tool in commercial market research. A few years ago, I wrote some notes on how to use market research tables and I currently updating my notes with the intention of publishing them as a book or at least as an eBook. I have reached the first draft stage and would really appreciate some feedback. In particular I am looking for feedback from: People who are unsure how to use tables – do these notes help? What else would you like to know? People who use tables regularly – what have I missed? What is wrong or inadequately correct? People who supply tables – what have I […]

The world is changing, so market research must change too

Market research is an applied discipline; its core purpose is to help organisations make better decisions. When the needs of the organisations change then market research needs to change to, to ensure it remains relevant. I’ve been involved in market research for over 35 years and during that time the world has changed dramatically and the problems confronting organisations and brands have changed also dramatically. However, a growing number of organisations are saying that market research has not changed. The fear is that market research is becoming less and less relevant to the complex, digital, hyper-connected world of today. Whist it is easy to find plenty of examples of market researchers leveraging the new realities, for example the growth in the use of behavioural economics, passive data collection, and insight communities, there is a feeling that the main body of market research is losing touch with the needs of today. To help tackle this issue I have written an eBook on the topic “The Smarter Researcher”, which you can download from the Vision Critical website. The book spells out the nature of the changes that have happened over the last few decades, such as the shift of power from manufacturers […]


MRMW in APAC – Summary by Stephen Paton

This is a guest blog post from Stephen Paton, Manager Insights AGL, who attended the recent MRMW Conference in Singapore. I was lucky enough to attend and present at the recent Merlien Institute’s Mobile Research Mobile World (MRMW) Asia Pacific conference in Singapore on March 10 -12 March. Singapore is a nice central place for an Asian conference and the venue at Grand Park City Hall was not only comfortable but close enough for me to do all the shopping I needed to do to keep the family happy on my return. The chance to visit Singapore is always attractive and obviously others agree with a large Aussie representation amongst the 17 countries represented from as far away as Europe, the UK and the USA. This being my first MRMW and not being very familiar with the format I arrived in the Lion City with no real expectations but hopeful of making new contacts, enjoying myself and learning something new. Let’s face it in this day and age we have so many options to learn at our desks when we make the commitment to attend a conference we need more than just the information. You come to a conference to […]


Copy Copy Copy: asking “What kinda?” questions rather than “how big/small/loud/quiet?”

Guest blog by Mark Earls, who will be presenting a webinar on this topic on Thursday April 16 – click here to register. Boom time The last decade has been boom-time for insights professionals who embrace innovation. Whereas back in the 2000s, many in our community were still angst-ing about the impact of doing online surveys and groups on the quality of the data; today, we are awash with new techniques and new frameworks (from neuroscience to semantic analysis, from agent-based modelling to emotional response). Just look at the changing agendas of any of the many insights conferences around the world to see how far we’ve come. Some of this flourishing is down to the continuous outpouring of new insights into our specialist subject (human behaviour) from the cognitive and behavioural sciences which has called into question many of the assumptions behind established research practices. Equally, changes in available technology are also driving innovation (some of it, it must be said, seem more like technology in search of a solution, than market-led innovation). And of course demand-side pressures continue to draw out new practice: the need to provide more powerful techniques to “get behind” the consumer and their unreliability as […]

The use of tense in writing up market research results

This blog post has been written as part of a project I am working on to produce a series of short books that will act as guides to different aspects of market research. The specific post looks at two key aspects of writing up market research results, i.e. differentiating between the ‘facts’ and the judgement/opinion elements, and using past, present, and future tense to make reporting clearer and more actionable. I am very keen to hear other people’s views on the advice in this post – all contributors to this series will, of course, be listed and thanked. Market research results consist of two elements, which we can loosely call: Facts Judgement/opinion We can argue about the meaning or existence of facts, but in this case I am talking about the material revealed by market research that is not disputed. For example, we might find that 75% of the sample said they were male. The term judgment (or opinion, or insight) covers things such as: How good/appropriate you think the research was. What you think the research means. For example, you might discover that trial is an important driver of purchase. What you think the client should do. For example, […]