A conversation with:
Simon Chadwick

Market Research Meets Design Thinking

The latest episode of the med+Design podcast features a riveting conversation with Simon Chadwick, a renowned figure in market research and strategic insights. As the Managing Partner at Cambiar Consulting and the Editor-in-Chief of Research World, Simon brings over four decades of expertise to the table, offering unique perspectives on the intersection of market research and healthcare innovation.

Market Research: Decoding Human Existence

Simon started his journey in market research accidentally, and over the years, he discovered the fascinating potential of this industry. At its core, market research decodes human existence. It delves into pivotal decision-making moments and helps understand their impact on markets and social decision-making. What lies at the crux of this industry is empathy. It helps place oneself into the mindset of the person they are trying to understand.

Reflecting on the intersection of market research and healthcare, Simon enlightens us about the magnitude of the sector. With healthcare occupying the second-largest component of the global insights industry, findings from this field are instrumental in shaping pharmaceutical and medical device markets. However, there's a noticeable gap in market research's application into the biodesign process, something that Simon believes is slowly changing.

Influence of Technologies in Market Research

Technological advancements have not left market research untouched. The influx of industries like AI, quantum computing, smart devices, and more, has transformed how researchers gather and interpret data over the last two decades. Today, the industry is more technology-based than ever, with an ongoing debate around generative AI and its potential implications.

However, Simon cautions that reliance on generative AI bots for research bears its set of problems. They may not capture the present human sentiments accurately or fully understand the decision-making process of human beings, which is more irrational than rational. Consequently, this could lead to misinformed decisions in critical sectors such as healthcare.

Navigating through Healthcare Insights

When it comes to Simon's insights into the healthcare system, he paints a picture of a complex ecosystem facing numerous challenges, mostly tied to cost inefficiencies and lackluster health outcomes. To address these issues, an empathetic and innovative approach is vital, coupled with a strong understanding of the system's nuances.

Design Thinking and Its Role in Innovation

Simon and Ty note that market research and design thinking are closely linked. According to Ty, "Design thinking is a methodology for empirical creativity, using low-risk, acceptable loss experiments to validate which of our ideas will succeed when interacting with human behavior." The shared foundation these two principles have in empathy becomes instrumental when applied to healthcare.

Simon gives an example of a need-driven design thinking approach, using the example of designing socks to monitor blood sugar for diabetics. Beyond the functional aspect of the product, researchers must consider the user's emotional journey.

Stages of Acquisition

In the journey of a start-up or a company, a natural progression might be to consider acquisition. The process, as Simon highlights, requires careful consideration and expert guidance, primarily because it can be distracting and potentially disruptive to the company's operations. Diverse factors like the company's unique proposition, the buyer's interests, the company's preparedness, and the timing, among other things, come into play.

The Bottom Line

As we continue to navigate the complexities of healthcare and innovation, Simon's insights illustrate the crucial roles that market research and design thinking play in driving meaningful change. From understanding human behavior and decision-making complexities to influencing healthcare outcomes and guiding acquisitions, their impact is extensive and transformative. As Simon aptly puts it, market research is not just about looking at numbers, it's about understanding the human story behind the data and leveraging empathy to develop innovative solutions to complex challenges.

Episode Transcript

[00:00:00] Jared: Hello everyone. And welcome to another insightful episode of the med+Design podcast, where we explore the intersection of healthcare, innovation, and entrepreneurship. Today, we're privileged to host Simon Chadwick, a distinguished expert in market research and a strategic visionary in the insights industry.

Simon, the managing partner at Cambiar Consulting has been a guiding force in navigating the complexities of market research, transforming insights into actionable strategies for businesses. His expertise in mergers and acquisitions, strategic consulting and training in power skills has been pivotal in reshaping how companies leverage market data for impactful decisions.

As editor in chief of Research World, Simon has set the editorial vision for a publication that serves as a global voice in market research. His insights and perspectives have been instrumental in shaping the discourse around market trends and consumer behaviors in many industries. Today's episode, we're thrilled to delve into Simon's perspectives,

exploring how insights can be leveraged to address many of the nuanced challenges facing the largest industries across the globe, like healthcare and many more. So without further ado, let's get started. Welcome, Simon. Happy to have you.

[00:01:02] Simon: Thank you very much, Jared. And thank you, Ty. It's great to be here.

Yes, indeed. Yes, indeed. And so Simon, if you could just share with us a bit about your journey into the world of market research and insights, and maybe also just for our listeners that are a little bit new to this, just, what is market research and why is it such so crucial in really any industry?

[00:01:20] Jared: Sure. We have a joke in the market research industry that nobody comes into it purposefully. They all fall into it accidentally. And that was my journey as well. I found myself at Unilever in London and they put me in their market research division and that was that.

[00:01:38] Simon: But just going back as to what on earth is it. I think you can classify it. First of all, it's one of the most fascinating. Industries you can be in. It really is extraordinarily cool because what you're doing is you're looking at human existence, human life and trying to decode it decode the way in which people make decisions and the way in which they come to pivotal moments in their lives the way in which they think. Many people on the podcast may be familiar with System 1 and System 2 thinking. System 1 being, you make that, those decisions off the bat. System 2, much more considered. We live in a System 1 world, which makes it difficult to understand how people actually come to make decisions.

Market research in many ways is delving into those decision making moments and understanding them, but it also means that obviously you're doing that to look at how it affects markets, how it affects decision making in politics, social decision making. But at the same time you also have to place yourself in the shoes of the person that you're trying to understand.

So that means it's also an industry, even though it's got lots of numbers, that is based in empathy. And so that's in a nutshell, is market research.

[00:03:03] Jared: So I can already see why there's a lot of synergy. Oh, I know we don't like the word synergy. A lot of alignment with design thinking as well.

And also if you could just touch on, how big really is the market research industry in healthcare? And what kinds of research are they doing? And just how are they doing it as well? I think that's one of the mysteries behind the veil of like, how does this even happen,

[00:03:24] Simon: The total insights industry which, so market research is where you gain primary data by asking questions of people, but there's also all sorts of other insights, there's analytics and communities and qualitative research and so on. But the whole industry globally is about 130 billion. Which makes it three times bigger than the coffee industry, for example.

We're not talking small potatoes here. And the healthcare side of that, healthcare is the second largest component of the industry at about, it varies from year to year, but between 12 and 17 percent of the market. So it's big. It's very big, but it's more focused around the pharmaceutical side than it is around the medical device side.

[00:04:21] Ty: That's just a surprising gap that I've seen where it seems like the medical device side of things. It's almost like you don't have somebody with a market research title included in the, say the biodesign process. It seems like it's clinical with no training in market research, but expertise and the needs that are needed and engineering, which has the solution focus, but there's not that understanding of system one system two at the table for medical device innovation that I've seen to date.

[00:04:53] Simon: Yeah, I think that is true. I think it's changing in as much as there are medical device companies, young medical device companies, as well as divisions of bigger one that are beginning to bring insights people in maybe one or two, not very many, and they realize that maybe, you have to have that degree of empathy if you're using a device on a patient there's going to be not only the physical side of it and the outcomes side of it, but there's going to be the emotional side of it, is the patient going to be frightened happy, hopeful all of these sorts of things.

So I think it's beginning to raise its head now much more, but I think the other side of it is that pharmaceuticals, you get a blockbuster drug. You're talking huge amounts of money. Therefore, research plays a very big part in that, and so I think it's just, it's mainly about the money, to be honest.

[00:05:56] Jared: Yeah, I can see that. And I guess, the reason why I was asking how, market research is conducted is because, just looking into the healthcare space today. You're looking at generative AI and, quantum computing and smart devices taking over what the narrative what people talk about a bit.

And I was curious of if any of these have touched the market research world as well and maybe what impact they're having on the way you're doing research now versus, maybe 20 years ago.

[00:06:23] Simon: I'll give you a proxy for that. Before about 2010 the research industry was very much, it was either corporately owned companies, or it was companies owned by entrepreneurs, but there was no outside money in it.

There was no venture capital in it. There was no impetus, if you like. It was a cottage industry. Starting in 2011, venture capital started to get interested and they started to get interested, particularly in the technology side at that point, an explosion occurred and from 2011 to last year, well over 40 billion has been invested in this industry by venture capital.

And not only that, but the industry is now about 75 percent owned by private equity. So we have had a massive influx of technology into the industry, primarily at first in terms of do it yourself platforms where people could, do research themselves, which is not always a good idea. And we have done, studies of that, just that segment.

There were, I think, over 250 different platform companies, just platform companies, when we last looked at it in the United States. So it's a massive influx of money. What that has meant is that it's much more of a technology based industry. It's dividing in many ways into the tech side and the human side.

With the human side being very much around joining the dots, synthesis, looking at what's going on underneath the numbers or within the numbers. Now we're seeing a lot of debate around generative AI and what that's going to be able to do. It's certainly going to be able to do a lot of the internal operational side of things.

There are a lot of concerns. For example, people talking about not talking to actual people, but talking to generative AI bots and using that as research, that has all sorts of problems attached to it.

With the bots and you're saying the research that's coming out of that, would not be as usable versus, if a human was conducting it where are you seeing it to be problematic?

[00:08:49] Jared: Because we're seeing a lot of startups on the other side of things where they're leaning into it more so where, they're doing patient diagnostic data, patient history data and saying that maybe a person would trust a bot more because they're not being judged by a person at the other end.

And so maybe you're getting more truthful information out of a person using a bot, but I'm curious of your perspective on this.

[00:09:15] Simon: One fun fact that I'll give you that I learned yesterday was a piece of research that came out from about seven countries in the world, big countries, that 48 percent of people do not trust Alexa.

[00:09:27] Jared: So honestly, I'm in that group too.

[00:09:29] Simon: Damn right. She's always listening, right? Just turned herself on right now. But the problem with synthetic respondents is that a generative AI doesn't actually doesn't exist in the present. All this information is in the past, therefore it's not necessarily aware of what is going on in the present that could be changing things.

The second problem is that whole system one thinking aspect again because we aren't rational beings. Right now, gen AI is more rational than irrational, maybe, but it's not necessarily thinking like a human being, and therefore it's not necessarily making the same decisions.

So that basically could lead to research outcomes that lead to innovations or marketing decisions or, even more important decisions that are harmful.

[00:10:26] Jared: I can see that. I definitely I think maybe that's why they're probably shutting down a little bit of Open AI with their Q Star innovation that they don't like to tell us about.

So who knows, maybe a little bit of that already started happening. And so I did want to touch on also just your insights into healthcare and you've done some extensive research into the U. S. healthcare system and as many of us have, you've also experienced a lot of the underlying issues, firsthand.

And so I guess just curious of, what has your research taught you about the system as a whole? And then also how does it compare to others globally?

[00:10:57] Simon: I want to make very clear that this is with another hat on, which is that of political writer. So anybody out there, I apologize in advance.

It's my take on things. But yeah, I think the thing that is staggering about the U. S. healthcare system is that we spend so much more than other major countries do on healthcare. So much more. Three times as much. One fifth of our GDP

goes towards health care . And

yet our outcomes are worse. We rank 23rd in the world

For health outcomes.

23rd. And we spend the most. Why do we spend the most? One is that the pharmaceutical companies the government can't negotiate with pharmaceutical companies on price for its own health care needs, Medicare and Medicaid.

Two, you've got the insurance companies sitting in the middle, and they basically are a layer of extra cost that is unnecessary. And I think three, we've now seen particularly since COVID we've seen the corporatization and the siloing of the medical system. One of the not so much discussed issues around, that arose from COVID was that because people weren't going into their physicians, those physician practices were failing.

They were going out of business, or they were in danger of going out of business. The main hospital systems in particular, and where I live here in Raleigh, you're talking about UNC and Duke used that opportunity to buy all these Physician practices, so that they then were feeding their hospitals, those physicians that did not join in on this now have no admitting rights into those hospital systems, so they're being squeezed even further.

And at the same time. These systems are now saying, oh, if you want to do this, you have to go to this office, which is, yeah, but also this office, and they're not communicating with one another, their portals are rubbish. I can go on and on. But essentially it's an inefficient, over costly system that is not actually providing the health care that Americans need.

And it is also a system that is really caught up in I'd say fear. A good friend of ours is a thoracic surgeon. He spends the first 150, 000 of his earnings each year on malpractice insurance. On the premium. That's why, people say doctors make a lot of money and they do, but actually a lot of it is going down a wasteful drain.

That is the end of the political rant folks. We'll get back to research any moment now.

[00:13:47] Jared: Yeah, I did have a research question for you right after this as well. But yeah it's so interesting. I saw on LinkedIn literally just

yesterday. It was

a statistic that 26 percent of physicians in the next 5 to 10 years will be looking to switch out of a clinical career.

And it seems like all of these are the reasons why, it's just the power has been taken from them and they just feel like also all that money of their malpractice insurance. They can get sued at any time. And that sort of fear. And then there's all these violent, we've past episodes, but all this it's horrendous what's going on. And I think that was what I was going to say. This kind of begs the question, how do we fix it? But I think, I don't know if this that's a much longer conversation to have.

I wanted to talk to you also about, innovation and how, market research drives innovation eventually.

And particularly, if you have any thoughts on how this drives in healthcare research, but also just innovation in general, like how have you seen the insights that you've generated turn into, innovative solutions.

[00:14:46] Simon: So if innovation is a huge element within the research ecosystem and it's takes a number of different forms. There's a sort of white space innovation looking for that white space and then utilizing various techniques to be able to really imagine your way into that space. I think, a lot of people within the research industry would say they're using design thinking.

Many probably don't know exactly what design thinking is, but they perhaps. Understand some properties of it. So there's white space innovation of that nature. There's incremental innovation. There's what I call opposite innovation also, which is interesting where research picks up on emerging trend in terms of thought or in terms of values. For example, right now one of our clients is very involved in what's called the white label movement and the white label movement or the clean label movement, either which way. It's basically about getting chemical and unnecessary ingredients out of food, and it's consumer driven, basically certain sets of consumers want to see a much shorter label on the back of their foods in terms of ingredients, and they want to see that those ingredients be healthy and natural.

And so you go into a Whole Foods and you'll see people staring at labels. That's a huge area for innovation in the food industry. There was a conference recently devoted to that had 3, 000 exhibitors, not 3, 000 attendants, 3, 000 exhibitors. That's where research picks up something in the wind.

And if there's a really clever company that thinks about it and digs further, it can actually take that and say to its clients, Hey, do you want to be ahead of the curve? And then go back. And testing innovation by saying, okay, here's an example of what we could do. Does that meet what you're thinking about?

And in this particular client's business, they actually have, they bring in food scientists and chefs and so on to be with consumers to cook up the foods, have them, test them, listen to them, go back, redo, reformulate, come back out. It's a process that is reiterated, and then you take that, you can take that to market.

I would just say, research is used for a lot of things, but innovation really lies at the base of it.

[00:17:13] Jared: I love how you also mentioned, design thinking that a lot of people are using design thinking but they're really not. And I think Ty, I want to pick on you for a sec of just, could you explain to folks like what, design thinking is and I wanted to ask this to you both of, where do you really feel like design thinking and market research interact in the context of healthcare.

And, Ty, I remember, you've mentioned something to me that I thought was really interesting, which is design thinking happens when there's no data, like you're in that very early stages of an idea, and I guess I'll just let you take it from there.

[00:17:45] Ty: Yeah, I think maybe design thinking shines in those moments where there is no data.

whereas I think the principles of it. As a methodology, it's fractal. Meaning that you can use the principles of design thinking to do an art project with your children, all the way up to thinking about where the next M& A investment opportunity should be. Where it's a methodology for call it empirical creativity, where you are using low risk, acceptable loss experiments to validate which of our ideas is going to succeed when interacting with human behavior.

And 1 of the things that, like the mantra, I like to speak to is that design without empathy for the end user is malpractice. That if you're just going forward with an ideas first methodology, then that's something where you're pretty quickly going to find out whether or not your idea works when you hit market and realize nobody actually wanted your idea because you didn't actually talk to consumers.

And so just going through that process and learning that way of approaching ideas, but having it be grounded in good market research is that design thinking and market research go closely hand in hand as a way of early on identifying the white space, so to speak. And then the so what of using solution discovery to figure out what are some different ways to address that white space and be creative with it, and then go back out and test again to see, did we actually address that?

It's fundamental to the principles behind design thinking. And I can go off on a long lecture on this, but this kind of the start to the cadence to this.

[00:19:23] Simon: Yeah. Yeah. And I think it comes back again to the basis of it lying and empathy. I think the key usage, certainly in research terms, is in what is called qualitative research, where you're not looking for data particularly, but you're looking to understand the way in which people see things visualized, look at them experience them, how they think and so on.

There are many branches of research, but there's a branch of qualitative research called semiotics and semiotics is the study of signaling what does a certain shape or product or thing like that, say for example, I'll give you a real example. A jam company came from Germany to London and put up a pop up store in which to sell its jams.

And this company's old, I think it was from France, not Germany. And they wouldn't sell, they weren't selling. Nobody was coming in to the store, it just wasn't selling. So they called up a very famous semiotician, Rachel Laws, said, could you go down to the store

and see what's happening.

She went down to the store and she was looking and she was taking photographs and everything.

And she suddenly realized why nobody was going in. It looks like a funeral parlor. Even down to the design of the pots that the jam was in, they looked like urns. And so the signals that were coming off these shapes were putting, not even thoughts that were out there and it was just a reaction, a visceral reaction. So research can be, as psychological as that, if you like and that's where it informs

design thinking in many ways .

Why do people react to things like that? And why do they react so viscerally?

[00:21:12] Jared: That's fascinating. It seems like there's like almost a feedback loop between design thinking and market research. And as long as everyone's following best practices, this feedback loop can keep going. But, once people start to lose, maybe their principles, guiding principles that's where things can maybe start to fall apart.

Okay, now talking about something that you both were actually doing, which was the CRC conference in Chicago for the Insights Association. And so you Simon and, Ty and Kahren Karsten, who I think still could be listening in today. You, Put on devilish insights and what was it?


[00:21:44] Ty: Heavenly insights and evil experiences.

[00:21:47] Jared: Yes. Yes. And so what was the transformation that you took people upon? How did your worlds collide in this sort of in this sort of presentation? I know that people are really enthusiastic about the experience. And

[00:21:59] Ty: Simon, we benefited from your, like ability to, influence the Insights Association to take a risk on putting a workshop on like this.

Do you mind setting the context for this of why this was unique?

[00:22:12] Simon: Yeah, so the CRC, the Insights Association is the biggest trade association for the insights business in the States. They put on a conference among many called CRC, Corporate Researchers Conference. And that is a conference that aimed primarily at people who work in insights for major companies, the Unilevers and Proctors and Gambles and so on.

So that they can actually gain insight as to what others are doing, what is trending, what, going on. They can also meet suppliers and so on, and we managed to say to them there is a problem that we think we want to deal with or look at, which is that it's often the relationship between supplier and client.

Can often be tense and maybe not quite as productive as it needs to be. And what is going on here? How do we solve for that? And so they then allowed us to put on a two hour workshop under Ty's guidance and very heavily under Kahren's guidance and work. To actually bring clients and suppliers together to work together on this problem, sneakily teaching them design thinking along the way.

[00:23:30] Ty: In the lead up to this Kahren did extensive research to go and talk to agency owners, corporate insight leaders. And we actually had a fair amount of representation from firms in the healthcare space as well as part of this. And so we. presented to the team the results of that research in terms of journey maps prioritized need statements, and then really taught some of the principles of creativity to the team by allowing them to experience.

Now that we've provoked you with, these are the biggest problems in healthcare, organize the, organize that complexity into a logical sequence of teams. And then with that provocation, we asked them to brainstorm first upon the most evil experience imaginable for this particular problem. The statistician who decides to deliberately make it harder to understand the outcome of the research report versus on the heavenly side of this.

What if Neil deGrasse Tyson is presenting this research and the most engaging and fun way possible? So we prompted people to be creative across those 2 extremes. And then with that as a foundation, now go solve the problem so that you don't end up, I think my worst case scenario for a ideation session is people start coming up with smartphone app ideas, which is just a sign that we've just given people a problem and they don't have any good prompts and so that, but the neat thing about, the outcome of this is:

And Simon did a masterful job facilitating the ideas that emerged from this group of seasoned experts in the field. There were some really cool new solutions that came forward that helped like the agencies and corporate teams to figure out how do we overall do a better job of translating the insights we come up with to action and outcomes within our organizations, which just furthers the overall mission of the insights association.

So it was a really fun program. It was neat to see. In an hour and a half, two hours go from start to finish and have a pretty high impact event. So it was fun to see that. And it wasn't a five step process. It was the four core principles of design thinking.

[00:25:44] Simon: And very well received.

But there were people who actually wrote to the Insights Association said that's the best thing that I've attended at a conference

[00:25:52] Jared: I saw some comments on LinkedIn. When did the Play Doh come into play? Where, what activity was that for? People seem to really be impacted by that one.

[00:25:58] Simon: That was towards the end when they were putting ideas up on boards, and it was absolutely inspired Ty came out with all this Play Doh and he basically said, put Play Doh up by the ideas that you like, but make it bigger if you really like it, or smaller if you just like it a bit, and I was able to see very quickly where there was grouping of ideas With the gobs of Play Doh, which ones were really resonating, but it was really interesting because some people were saying, I was stuck and then I got the smell of Play Doh and I was just manipulating in my hands and my creativity came flooding back and it was really really quite, again that's a semiotic experience because that was a signal, it was a sign that's got their childish creativity going

[00:26:50] Ty: and it activates a certain dopamine pathway.

If you're physically interacting with it and smelling the Play Doh, it just, there's so much happening there with the psychology of creativity. And also as a infinitely scalable or way to do a voting and filtering process. So yeah, that was fun.

[00:27:08] Jared: I love that.

Yeah. Like making people's inner creative genius come out and they didn't even know it, until it was happening. It was awesome. I wanted to circle back to healthcare in a little bit of talking about design thinking, talking about market research, a lot of the people that are listening to our podcast, their physician entrepreneurs, people that are, earlier stage.

And so how would somebody that they just have, they have an idea, they've got a problem in healthcare, they've got this thing, but, what's their pathway to engaging in design thinking to engaging in market research? Where along their path does this kind of happen for them?

Who do we talk to first?

[00:27:43] Simon: They talk to Ty.

No, seriously, I think that there needs to be a point at which there is the space enough to be able to think about potential solutions, and then to think about ways in which to interact with people that those solutions might benefit. The key is, it's not just thinking about the dry elements how many people are there in this market or what should it look like?

I think one of the phrases I hate most in this sort of instances form follows function. Because it's not always the case that, the function will come through. So at this point that you really need to be thinking about. The experience of the person or the type of person that who your product is going to be dating.

So you need to be getting into the experience of their living. So think about, for example a shoe insert for a diabetic patient. Or something that's actually even closer across the road is is a guy who works for a company here in Raleigh. That produces socks for diabetics that monitor the blood sugars what's the experience?

What are you solving? Yes, you're solving for knowing the blood sugar level, but you're also solving for probably the swelling in the legs and the discomfort. And yet again, perhaps more deeply, the angst that comes from not knowing what your blood sugars are at any particular point in time. All of these things you need to be able to understand from the experience point of view as you then go into, okay,

how do I solve for these ?

I don't want to be taking over at this point.

[00:29:26] Ty: So actually, I wanted to ask you to follow up question to, if you could touch on. Maybe the risks of, researching, scratching your own itch. So let's say, and particularly in healthcare, a lot of physicians, nurses get started down an innovation path because they're directly experiencing a pain point.

So it's almost like you are both the expert and also the researcher. And you're trying to create a solution to solve your own need. And I've run into this with multiple, like devices we've worked on where the design of the catheter makes sense if you play golf. Because, you're used to holding a golf club a certain way.

And yes, this makes sense ,

except not every surgeon plays golf. And then, otherwise, it makes no sense to you. There's interesting me marketing, or, biased research, because it is the expert who brought it forward. I'm curious if you can touch on some of those dangers that you've seen.

[00:30:22] Simon: Yeah, it's absolutely true that there needs to be an intermediary who has the ability to spot where no is necessary and the authority to say no because otherwise you are, as you say, scratching your own itch and you will, whether you are the best person in the world or the worst, you will ignore signals that are in conflict

with what you want to do and we find this actually in doing research with major companies. I'm going to toot my own horn here. I worked many years ago on the design of the first Land Rover Discovery. And we were researching prototypes. And we had what's called a clinic. It's where you bring the prototype in and all of its potential competitors.

And people look at it and they get, researched to death. One of the things that came through that was that people said that they hated the two step roof. I don't know if you remember the original Land Rover Discovery, but it had a roof at this level in front, and then it went up and it had what they call opera windows.

Hated it. And Land Rover were going, okay, we'll scrap that. We'll scrap that. We, as researchers, said, no, you won't. Because if you do that, it'll look just like a Mitsubishi,

and it won't be differentiated. You need that signal to say this is something different. That went on to become the defining feature of that vehicle, and it went on to become the best selling SUV of all time. You've

got to have somebody who can stand up to other people, to people who's, maybe scratching their itch I'm a nurse or a physician who's scratching this itch or I'm the manufacturer of, cars I'm making this decision. No. So you need somebody to say no.

[00:32:12] Ty: You're touching on that, maybe lack of somebody being willing to say no, which is why most cars look exactly the same across manufacturers because nobody's providing that differentiation and willing to stand up to a customer like, I don't like that, versus no, this is how we're going to be distinct and move outside of the oatmeal where it's bland.

I don't like it. I don't hate it versus love it, hate it, but it's at least distinctive and memorable for people.

[00:32:37] Simon: That's a very important point Ty that if you're not looking for the biggest vote all the time, looking at the biggest votes, it may well be that you are actually putting something mediocre into the market that nobody's feeling bad about.

But if you do have that, love it, hate it, dichotomy, that shows that you have the potential to actually build something that is going to be a huge success. But so many managements will not take that risk. They just won't take it. And then they fail.

[00:33:11] Jared: We're getting, close to the end of our time together. And something I really wanted to talk about as well was, acquisition. In the best case scenario, the entrepreneurs that are listening in maybe one day they will be acquired, or maybe this is something that they will have to consider.

And what is this process even like? What kinds of companies can even be acquired? When's the right time to do it? Is there necessarily a right time? Is this something that you've come across in your career? And also how do you prepare for such a process? And also what's Cambiar's role in facilitating all of this?

It's a whole lot of questions.

[00:33:45] Simon: This is a really difficult set of questions to give any definitive answers to. I think the first answer I would give is that when you come to sell, you've got to be, it's actually not that different to what we've been talking about.

Who are you going to be selling to? What are you going to be selling and who to? What have you created that is unique, and that somebody else really needs or wants? Now, the problem with being definitive about that is that in today's world, That someone could be another company that sees something amazing in your product and it just fits in really nicely with what they've got and they can take it to market and make it grow what or think they can.

Or it could be a private equity company that sees it as a plug in for a platform they're building. Or it could be another venture capital company. So you need to then think about where, not only, what have I got that is actually meeting a need, and how do I prove that need, but where do I want to land up?

And am I going with this company or am I giving my baby to somebody else? And by that time you've got a lot of babies in the company, hopefully, a lot of people that you care about. So all of those questions come to mind. There's no right or wrong answer in terms of you want to sell at this level of revenue or this level of profitability or whatever.

It is a process, that will distract you. And you cannot afford to take your eye off the ball. So you need somebody there to actually be managing that process for you. It's irritating and excruciating and exciting and once you've actually achieved the transaction exhilarating. But you will go through all those motions and you'll go through them very many times. The way in which we work there's a saying that you are, you can work buy side or sell side. We tend to do both, am I buying a company for somebody or am I selling a company for somebody?

If we're selling, we will actually go in and try to understand the company in absolute detail. I will ask you all sorts of questions. We will make sure that you're ready. So many companies think they can go to market and then you look and see that their financials are rubbish or that's you know, their record keeping's rubbish or that they haven't got their legal contracts together you've got to be totally prepared and cleaned up you're going to church, you're in your best, but once we've got that done and we really understand, we will then write the story of the company. We will publish what they call the book. And the book is a very nice color printed sort of story of the company. We will also sit down and work out the who do we want to approach it, and why, and what's the story for them, and does it differ at all between different types of people.

We will then prioritize that list with the seller, and then we many agents will go and they will just do a scattergun, approach to the market and see who, Comes up. We do not do that. It's very rightful oriented. We will pick

managements and companies that

we think would be really good and we will then engage with them and negotiate with them and put the management teams and get them to know each other take them out to dinner Until we then bring the lawyers in and the accountants in they negotiate the deal. But it's a long process, it takes six to nine months, and it's very easy to be distracted by it.

Sorry, I wish I could be more uplifting.

[00:37:29] Jared: I think you got to be real with everyone about it, absolutely rip the band aid off on it. Ty, I knew you had something.

[00:37:34] Ty: Also, we were talking about me marketing. Me selling, right? Like you think about the company owner who tries to go do it themselves.

And like you said, take the eye off the ball. There's lots of stories in the literature about how, like the valuation they received is lower. And also like they took their eye off the ball and running their company. So the company performance degraded, then having a second shot at it, getting a professional to come in and nurture them through that process led to a better result, they're able to keep their eye on the company.

And get to a higher valuation. So the work that Simon does here is absolutely essential for any business owner looking to sell. There's some really good resources out there. So one of my favorite business journalists, Bo Burlingham, wrote a book on this where he went through and interviewed and discussed with like business owners who had sold.

The book's called Finish Big, but it's a really good kind of resource for understanding those stories and thinking about after it's all said and done, what's the outcome you're hoping to have and having that really clearly, defined for your own personal values and everything.

So anyway, that's just a resource I wanted to highlight.

[00:38:37] Simon: Yeah. No, that's a really good recommendation. And I think the other thing that happens so often is that sellers tend to think that their company is worth much more than it really is. And so they go through the whole process and they go to the range of offers and they get all offended.

My baby is now ugly and they walk away from the process. And that's yes, they may come back a second time down the road, but that actually destroys your reputation

amongst the buying community . So

you've got to have a, when your advisor says the company is worth this, listen.

When also is essentially a time to even think about this sort of process, how far down the road do you have to be before this even should be crossing your mind?

How long is a piece of string, Jared? Yes. Companies selling no more than six months after they were founded because the idea is just so compelling that somebody wants it and they, or they it's a competitor and they want to squash it or, all sorts of reasons. But generally speaking, I think again, it will depend on how much investment you need in the company, where you get that investment from, who you're getting it from because quite frankly, if you need lots of money to build the business, which

does happen , and you bring a venture capital company in, you're no longer the decision maker as to when you're going to sell.

And nor are you going to be the decision makers to who you're going to sell to. You may think you're bringing in investment, but actually you're selling your company at that very particular specific point. So I don't think there's a right or wrong answer. It depends on the product and the market and so on, but you have to just keep your eyes wide open.

a lot of entrepreneurs have phenomenally good ideas. Friend of mine who built up a video market research platform, he had a brilliant idea. He built the business into eight figure business, by which time he had a number of VC companies on board. They were on the board.

They decided it was time that he wasn't there anymore. Bingo. He was out. Yeah, he had some shares, but he was out. So you've got to be, you've got to be aware as to who you're bringing in and what you're doing.

[00:40:51] Jared: It's a whole can of worms that you could open up that you're not totally expected to have the answer for sometimes, Sam Altman, I think experienced that a little bit at OpenAI as well.

[00:41:00] Simon: But he did the thing that never happens, which is he came back.

[00:41:04] Jared: I couldn't even believe that I could not believe that's a whole nother conversation and I know we're getting to the end of it here and so I guess I just wanted to leave you with just you know what

about the direction of market research today excites you the most. And also for people that are listening in how do they engage with Cambiar and with you as well?

[00:41:24] Simon: Thank you. I think what, I think all of the technological side is exciting, but I think the real excitement is in the degree to which research now increasingly sits at the center of decision making in many companies.

Kahren Kersten and I are working at the moment on an insights maturity model, which is studying in a huge slew, a slew of companies the actual degree to which the insights functions are having impact, real business impact and where they sit. And we're seeing real evidence that it's far better than it used to be.

It's a very interesting industry from that perspective because when it started a hundred years ago, just over a hundred years ago, we were the McKinsey's of the world. It was, Arthur Anderson and George Gallup and people like that who would be talking to the CEO of their client, General Motors or whatever.

But as the industry grew, it became, have your people talk to my people. And, it became less and less at the center of decision making was a service function. Now it's come back. So we're looking at that, we're looking at the drivers of that. And it's very exciting to see that may be the future.

And in terms of how to get in touch with us our website is consultcambiar.com. CAMBIAR. It's the Latin for change. And you can get a hold of me at simon@consultcambiar.com. And Kahren at kahren@consultcambiar.com. And we'll be very happy to chat, you can perhaps determine even after 40 plus years in this business.

I'm still quite passionate about it .

[00:43:07] Jared: Absolutely. Oh, yeah. And, Simon, just thank you so much for joining us today. We really appreciate you taking the time to share your experience with us. And I think we needed probably a three hour discussion to be able to even touch on all the stuff I wanted to talk to you about, but I appreciate you taking the hour that you did.

[00:43:20] Simon: Thank you very much, Jared. And Ty. It's been a pleasure. And see you again soon, I hope.