Special Series: Why I Work Here by Adam Dietrich
“The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming.” Theodore Roosevelt
Most people have a hidden talent or impressive party trick that they can reveal during corporate icebreaker events or in social settings. Unfortunately, mine isn’t the ability to pick up an acoustic guitar and woo an audience or the trickery to pull a rabbit out of a hat with sleight of hand. Instead, my hidden talent only reveals itself when someone in insights has an obscure data collection question like, “Is it feasible to do an IHUT study in Indonesia?” or “How many completed interviews can I get in Oklahoma’s 5th congressional district?” This talent – if I can call it that – comes from spending every workday over the past decade trying to better understand the online research landscape – and it’s why I work at Paradigm.
I can’t recall the exact timeframe for when I started committing things like smartphone penetration rates in sub-Saharan Africa or unique B2B profiling points to memory, but I do remember why. A client, who is a mentor and friend to this day and over ten years later, expressed some worry that I didn’t have enough experience or market knowledge to support her firm’s vast array of research needs. The most damning aspect is that I knew she was correct – and that moment immediately inspired a change in my professional trajectory. Since then, I’ve eagerly explored and filed away notes about every source, market, trend, or tech advancement I could find that stretches across our industry. That client’s doubt in a young and inexperienced sales rep pushed me into collaborating with over 100 sources in 60 countries, publishing my own work, speaking at conferences – and turned me into a researcher.
And then came Paradigm. Most of my industry friends assume that I came to Paradigm to work alongside my longtime mentor, friend, and podcast co-host Adam Jolley or they’ve heard me list Paradigm’s co-founder, Sima Vasa, in my “Mt. Rushmore of Research Leaders” – and they’re correct, but that’s only half the story. When I was exploring a career move, my family was coping with a major health emergency that took priority over everything else. Throughout the entire process of me delaying interviews and my inability to focus on anything but family, the Paradigm team was full of supporting, thoughtful, and understanding voices that allowed me an insider’s view into how unique and caring this team truly is.
But a great team will only go so far. Our industry is at its most pivotal stage since the adoption of a new methodology in the late 1990s and the landscape will look very different in a few short years. Rather than reacting down the road, Paradigm is in the arena, committing research, technology, and project management resources to help shape that future. I’m at Paradigm because instead of simply knowing who the best source may be for a certain target, I get to help build it and keep our clients prepared for the next stage of Research.