Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Speaker Spotlight: Christopher Gutierrez

We were lucky enough to catch up with Future of Consumer Intelligence 2014 speaker Christopher Gutierrez of AIRBNB before the event in a few weeks. Gutierrez shared with us his thoughts on the humanization of data, and how technology has changed the way we do things and the way we understand people. 

We are fortunate to have him share this critical insight with our FOCI community. This year, FOCI explores the emerging role of decision science and the convergence of knowledge points - insights, foresights, social science, marketing science and intelligence with technology as a central driving force and profound connector.

We are barraged by information - and within this sea of data we must remember to think of the problem we are trying to solve and how we can we use this convergence of information to better understand people.  Translating the new "understanding" into future opportunities means that the role of a researcher is changing. FOCI accelerates disruptive innovators in the research space and pushes people to take risks, to think outside of traditional research methods and insights gathering and explore new and alternative tools and technologies. FOCI will bridge the gap between what people say they are going to do and what they actually do.

Here is what Gutierrez had to say:

IIR: A big theme of this year’s conference is “humanization of data.” Why do you think understanding PEOPLE (not consumers) presents an opportunity for strategic action?

Gutierrez: Data *is* the user experience. Customer tickets are the direct voice of a person. Data logged from people’s actual site sessions highlights problems and the magnitude of problems.  With A/B testing, logged data can lead products to potential solutions. Data is the distillation of the human experience.

IIR: How is technology not only changing how we do things, but also how we understand the world, business, and people?

Gutierrez: Technology increases the impact an individual can make. Prior to the advent of recent technologies, a company needed to be large before it could impact a significant number of people. As technology advances, it reduces the necessary size of a company before the company is impactful. Airbnb itself was impactful at 100 employees. More importantly, Airbnb hosts are impactful at an individual basis. Uber, Lyft, and others are making it possible to have many successful “companies of one”.

IIR: How has consumer intelligence strategy and action planning helped drive your business?

Gutierrez: People are communicating with us simply by using our site. How they traverse the site tells us what is frustrating or confusing to them. Data gives our users a voice. The data science team translates their experiences to the rest of the company.

IIR: How has the role of “the researcher” changed?

Gutierrez: A researcher has always developed a hypothesis. A modern researcher spends less time writing proposals, and more time testing hypotheses.

IIR: Describe a situation where you’ve taken a risk or thought outside the box of tradition market research methods. How did that benefit your business?

Gutierrez: I replaced a complex model, with a carefully constructed GROUP BY query. It allowed the system to run in line with daily updates and more features and records. Often, something simple and with better data, can beat a sophisticated model. Maintenance was easier, and profit was higher.

Want to hear more from Christoper in person? Join him at Future of Consumer Intelligence 2014 in Los Angeles, CA in May. To learn more about the event and register, click here: http://bit.ly/1hchuzK

** As a reader of our blog, you get an exclusive 15% discount on your FOCI 2014 pass. Use code FOCI14BLOG when you register **

About the Author: Amanda Ciccatelli, Social Media Strategist of the Marketing Division at IIR USA, has a background in digital and print journalism, covering a variety of topics in business strategy, marketing, and technology. Amanda is the Editor at Large for several of IIR’s blogs including Next Big DesignCustomers 1st, and ProjectWorld and World Congress for Business Analysts, and a regular contributor to Front End of Innovation and The Market Research Event,. She previously worked at Technology Marketing Corporation as a Web Editor where she covered breaking news and feature stories in the technology industry. She can be reached at aciccatelli@iirusa.com. Follow her at @AmandaCicc.

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