Imagine that your name is Dan, it’s your first day on the job, and before you’ve had a chance to take a sip of your coffee, your new boss summons you to her office. You walk down the hall, knock, enter, and sit down. You’re nervous. She gives you your first assignment: to figure out by the end how 500 iPad owners feel about their machine. As you walk out, she says, “Money is tight so you’ve got to get it right.”
You return to your desk and start sipping your lukewarm coffee. The caffeine kicks in and you have your first light bulb moment: to email Steve Jobs for the information. You reject the idea because you’re not naïve, or so you tell yourself, and doubt that Jobs would reply to your email, let alone give you an objective answer. You need a better idea. You make a few calls, send some emails, and focus on survey research. You review information you find on the Internet about different types of surveys. You realize that you’ve got very few options given time and cost constraints. You check your email and notice that draft day is approaching for your fantasy football league. You’re struggling to make decisions on whom to draft so you post your questions on Toluna.com and receive feedback straightaway from community members. You love Toluna.com and have become increasingly dependent on it through the years. In fact, you can hardly make a decision, important or otherwise, without it—what shoes to wear, how to comb your hair, and so on. You then notice on Toluna.com a new service called Toluna QuickSurveys. It enables you to pose as many as 15 questions to as many as 2000 members and receive feedback in about an hour.
“Voila!” you say to yourself, impressed with your French. A few hours later, you hand-deliver the results to your boss and explain that the whole project cost less than $200. She’s delighted and impressed with your creativity. She then asks you what you know about the DIY market. Fortunately, you know quite a bit. You explain that technology has continued to evolve, creating opportunities through automation to reduce project cycle time and decrease costs without compromising quality.
“Are these types of technology-enabled approaches (coupled with inexpensive sample sources) the wave of the future or will they do more harm than good?” your boss then asks.
“It depends on whom you ask,” you say but you know you’ve made your decision. You walk back to your desk, log in to Toluna.com, and ask the community where you should dine later that evening.
George Terhanian joined Toluna in September 2010 and serves as President of Toluna, North America and the company’s Chief Strategy and Products Officer.