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It’s The Pilot Not The Plane! By Guest Writer Ben Smithee

I used to play music professionally when I was in college. I played saxophone and had several jazz, funk and rock cover groups that I played with fairly regularly. One of the things you could always use as a general guide was to avoid the “gear-heads”, meaning those that spent so much time tweaking, talking about, and changing their gear, when they could have obtained much more out of spending that time in the practice room shedding on some new tunes.

This goes along with a ton of other industries or categories, as well. Think about the golfers you know that always have to have the latest and greatest, thinking that it is the magic cure to that dreadful slice or hook. Quit fooling yourself you shank-o-potamus, it’s the pilot, not the plane! I got that saying from one of my great jazz mentors and saxophone professors, Tim Ishii, who could probably pick up a PVC pipe, punch holes in it, add a reed and sound like a million bucks. His point was simple, and something I will never forget. Why do we spend so much time debating and talking about peripherals when the real thing we should focus on (and really the only thing we can truly control) is our own skills and knowledge?

Now, don’t get me wrong. I wouldn’t want to board the Wright brothers’ prototype for my next trip to Chicago. However, I feel that as researchers, we need to step our A-game up, and really be able to “bring-it” across the board.

Social Media, yes!

Focus groups, you bet!

Qual, quant, surveys, online,

One-on-one, ethnos, yes!

Have a commanding knowledge of each of the available methods, or partner up with someone or another brand that does, but then quit debating it. Let’s start thinking and talking about what really matters! ……By the way, did you hear about that cool new video tool??

  • Do you agree with my position?
  • What are you doing to step up your game?
  • What cool new tools are you using?

I look forward to hearing your comments.

Ben is the co-founder and Managing Partner of Spych Market Analytics, LLC.

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