I’m a numbers guy. Always have been. I’m also very curious. Learning how to skillfully combine those two traits has enabled me to make many accurate predictions about the future.
Maybe I should have predicted that I would be a Quantitative Research Director for a very forward-thinking market research firm. All the data was certainly there. But honestly, like most people in market research, I fell into the field.
From state pollster to the presidential campaign
I’ve always wanted to know things before anyone else did. Then I could tell people: ‘Hey, this is going to happen I’m predicting it.’ Over time, I began to focus that desire on elections. I was very interested in learning what drives human behavior and why people vote the way they do.
I worked for three years on Capitol Hill as a staff analyst on the House Armed Services Committee. After that, I got a job with a polling firm. It was a very dynamic, fast-moving business, especially during election season, and I loved it!
At the same time, I entered graduate school at George Washington University in Washington D.C., where I majored in political science with a focus on quantitative statistical data analysis. During my senior year, I wrote my thesis on “Predicting Elections at the Federal Level: An Econometric Approach to Modeling Voting Behavior.”
When I graduated in early 1996, I took the information from my thesis and built a statistical model to use on the Bill Clinton / Bob Dole presidential campaign. After crunching the numbers, I was able to brief Donald Rumsfeld, Elizabeth Dole, and my boss that Bill Clinton had an almost 70% chance of getting re-elected.
Oh, I still have vivid memories of that conversation. I also remember many incredible experiences from the campaign trail.
From the campaign trail to market research
Working on the front line of a presidential campaign is very heady, especially when you are a 28-year-old man. I rode in the motorcade, flew on the campaign plane, sat in on Secret Service briefings, and traveled to all 48 continental states. (FYI – Iowa and New Hampshire in January are not fun.)
All good things come to an end, though, and you can’t go from being in the presidential motorcade to working for a state congressman. At least, I couldn’t. So, I left polling and moved to the client side of the corporate world. I did that for a few years, and then started working as a research consultant in 1999.
That is where I stayed for most of my career. I worked with clients on proposals, research design, questions, and coming up with cool concepts.
And now I am at The Olinger Group market research firm. It was such an easy transition; it was like putting on a comfortable pair of shoes again. I was able to hit the ground running.
And we are running at a nice, fast clip, I might add. The work that we are doing at TOG on the Live Well™ lens is super exciting. That is an incredibly powerful tool for predicting the future! I will share more information with you as soon as I can.
From chaos to order
My wife says I bring order to chaos.
Because I am so curious and tenacious, I can sift through mounds of data and find the hidden gems. I am a firm believer that there are no coincidences. There are only cause and effect.
I approach the data with an open mind and just see what things relate to each other. Because they always do. There is always something in there that surprises me. That is why I love research so much. It keeps me interested, and it keeps me curious. What thing we are going to find? What new thing are we going to figure out?
Once I find that ‘thing,’ I can use it to create a powerful, technical solution to a problem. And then I can explain that solution in a way that everyone understands.
I bring order to chaos. And I get to predict the future. How cool is that?!