As the world's only consulting detective focused solely on consumer behavior, I help you find Crucial Clues™ to solve the right problems for your business and customers.
FACT: Customer-focused businesses are more successful than those who aren't.
- Investigative experience as a metropolitan police detective
- Academic experience as an APA recognized consumer psychologist
- Expertise in marketing, product development, and research from Twitter, Altria, and other Fortune 200 brands
I help product managers, developers, and engineers in technology companies leverage research to solve the right problems for their customers and create more profitable products and services.
Whether you are at the beginning of your product development journey, finding your next business idea, figuring out why your customers aren't buying, figuring out why DAU/MAU are stagnant (or worse, declining), or deciding what product to build next, I can help you profitably solve the right problems for your customers.
What if you could:
- Have the answer to “will anyone want (or buy) this?” before you spend time creating the product or service
- Launch your product or service to happy customers and predictable sales on day one
- Develop products and services that people want to buy - on your first attempt - eliminating the grind of trial-and-error and tons of money on "testing and guessing"
- See consistent growth, in both customers and revenue, month-after-month
- Develop "cult like loyalty" in your customer base and followers
The clues are there; you need to know where to look. You need to think like a detective to find and solve the right problems for your customers and good research begins by asking the right questions, to the right people, at the right time.
A good investigation begins with rapid, rigorous, and relevant customer interviews.
The rationale is simple; context matters.
However, not all interviewers or interview styles are created equal. Most qualitative researchers or consumer and marketplace insights companies are ill-equipped to separate the "wheat from the chaff" and provide actual insights from interviews. There are four reasons why:
They lie on purpose and they lie without knowing it. Simply asking questions isn't enough, and that is what most interviewers do. So how can you get to the truth? By listening to what people say while observing what they do. As a battle-tested metropolitan police detective, I have surfaced the truth in high-stakes scenarios; literally when lives were on the line. I have the training and experience to dig beneath the questions and read the person. I am a human lie detector.
"Everybody lies." - Dr. Gregory House
People naturally relate to stories. They go far beyond relaying facts and data; they make the complex clear. This is precisely why news reporters and police officers have expertise in eliciting the stories from others to gather facts. The problem is, most interviewers follow a rigid discussion guide that actually prevents them from getting the whole story. I have conducted interviews as both a consumer psychologist and a police detective that have unearthed the functional, social, and emotional components of an experience. The result? A deep and crucial understanding of the customer and their perspective.
"Sometimes reality is too complex. Stories give it form." - Jean Luc Godard
There is a ton of attention given to "big data" and quantitative methods. The problem is, these methods are only as good as the data, assumptions, and variables they are built upon. In an effort to give clients "numbers" to base decisions on, most market research firms lose sight of the importance of defining what the customer actually means, the impact of the environment, or exploring other hypothesis. As a detective, I built cases by looking at all the clues; not just some of them.
"To a great mind, nothing is little." - Sherlock Holmes
Using data about the past to predict the future is no more effective than flipping a coin. Why? Because there are a ton of variables and environmental factors that aren't captured by historical statistical data. Making predictions based upon this without optics into what is happening now, or what is possible in the future, can lead you to miss signals that are necessary for the survival of your business. Think about Blockbuster, Toys 'R' Us, or Nokia phones. All market leaders at one time. All ignored signals of change. None of these businesses are flourishing today. Most consumer researchers look to the past to predict the future without consideration of the environment, trends, or sentiment. As a detective, I was trained to examine the entire picture.
"We balance probabilities and choose the most likely. It is the scientific use of the imagination" - Sherlock Holmes
Think of me as a modern day, consumer-focused, Sherlock Holmes - I investigate "real-world" consumer behavior in context. Then, with surgical precision, I help you use that information to better serve your customers.
I am an expert in interviewing people to uncover the truth. I discover insights that others can't by leveraging my experience as a metropolitan police detective, my background as a consumer psychologist, and my training in consumer and market research.
When you have the truth - the information your competitors wish they had - you can make better decisions. When you make better decisions, you can save time, effort, and money.
“Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth.” - Sherlock Holmes
Frequently Asked Questions
No. Rapid, relevant, and rigorous interviews, are the starting point.
Wicked-problem solving techniques, combined with a myriad of other investigatory methods and tools, are all a part of my process. Some of these include:
--> Interviews ("Jobs to be done," 1:1, dyads, triads, focus groups, etc.)
--> Quantitative tools (NPS, SUS, SES, surveys, CSAT, etc.)
--> Observation (ethnography, shop-a-longs, in-context, etc.)
--> Secondary research (literature reviews, benchmark studies, internal data sources, etc.)
That said, interviews are a necessary, and often overlooked (or skipped) component.
There are striking parallels between good research and good detective work. Both seek to establish the truth through a trail of evidence with the aim to arrive at a solution. Both are potentially high-stakes. Most importantly, both operate in a world of uncertainty and must revise existing predictions or theories given new or additional evidence. My method combines the best methods in the field of criminal investigation with cutting-edge research methods and tools in consumer research.
No other consumer psychologist (to my knowledge) has this combined expertise.
Together, we find the root cause of customer churn AND providing a solution to fix it. This impacts your business by:
- Increasing the Lifetime Value (LTV) of each customer;
- Increasing the Average Order Value (AOV) of each customer;
- Improving return rates by finding the root cause of returns and fixing them;
- Uncovering the key drivers for satisfaction and loyalty for your business AND offering a method to increase them (increasing revenue)
- Rapidly solve business problems through iterative testing (A/B, multivariate, etc.)
If only it were that simple. The type of processes, tools, and methods employed depend on a myriad of factors; in fact, any researcher worth their salt will tell you, “it depends.”
Oftentimes, people think about research in terms of a qualitative-quantitative dichotomy, where quantitative research is considered more rigorous and thought of as the "platinum standard," and qualitative research is "softer," and better suited for "directional decision-making." This leads to a scenario where people "shop" methods rather than look for an answer to their business problem. In reality, the best "method" is a balance of the two.
Consider this, every survey contains a qualitative component. If you ignore this, you get biased data. The good news is that I can help you sort this out.
That said, there is no universally accepted "best method." In short, I would caution against making qualitative or quantitative generalizations and would recommend using the method of inquiry best suited to answer the question.
I am going to be blunt here; you don't know what your customers want. The reality is your familiarity with your product or service breeds assumptions and blind spots. People who make or create a product think and talk about it fundamentally different than people who don’t. Research helps you push past your assumptions and blind spots and achieve your business objectives in two primary ways:
- It helps you ask high-value questions, and;
- It helps you rigorously answer those questions (balancing bias, reliability, and validity).
Ultimately, research helps you make more intelligent business decisions by focusing on what's important and therefore mitigating risk. The end result is significant savings in time, money, and effort for you and your team.
Absolutely not. In fact, doing research in advance of a project actually saves you money and time. Have you ever heard the proverb, "Measure twice, cut once?" Doing research in advance helps you "measure twice" to save valuable time and money by "getting it right" the first time.
The reality is, research does not need to be a long, drawn-out process that delays a project. I believe in a three-pronged approach; rapid, rigorous, and relevant. In fact, research can be "right-sized" or tailored to fit virtually any time or budget constraints while still adding epic value to a project.
Interviews add a level of rigor to gathering information. It also needs to be stated; rigor isn't simply writing questions down before you ask them. Interviewing is a learned skill that is fundamentally different than regular conversation; and it takes years of practice to develop expertise.
My secret formula ties together several concepts, mental models, and experience, including:
- Theoretical framing;
- Triangulation techniques;
- Inductive and deductive investigatory approaches;
- Forensic science;
- Cutting-edge research methods;
- Bayesian Thinking;
- A deep connection to applied decision-science; and
- Wicked-problem solving techniques.
My method yields the high-quality data you need to make more informed, and therefore better, decisions.
I'm glad you asked :-)
II empower product, service, and experience creators to rapidly validate ideas before building them so they can profitably solve the right problems for their customers. I do this by providing a framework - grounded in forensic science, consumer psychology, and "high-speed" research methods - to investigate and uncover information of crucial importance to the future of their business.
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