12, 38, 400, 820, and 1.9 million - A Numeric Exercise in Gratitude

In the Summer of 2004, I set out to carve a new path.  I knew that I didn't enjoy market research (or social science research within a market research firm).  I missed academic social science research, but I wasn't keen on returning to a purely academic environment.  I took a leap of faith and quit my job with no plan.  With two young kids, I would test out being a "full-time dad" for awhile, as I explored what options I had.  I suspect I knew inside that I needed the urgency of not having a job to help me decide what was next.

I am grateful that I found the guts to do that.  I hadn't realized it at the time, but social science survey research is a relationship business.  People rely on our work to make their own careers.  And when you do good work, you get loyalty in return.  I had unknowingly been putting away nickels and dimes into relationships - and those relationships began to call.

On August 27, 2004, I agreed to my first paying contract for services under the name Survey Sciences Group, LLC.  By November of that year, I had more work than I could do alone - resulting in my first two employees being hired in January 2015, the same day we moved out of my home and into office space in downtown Ann Arbor.

Today, I had a moment to reflect back on the relationships that we have built. I am grateful for them all. The good and the bad. I am the first to say that not every relationship continues today.  I made several mistakes that caused relationships to crumble. But I learned from those. I promise to share some of those experiences someday in this blog.

I wanted to take a moment to quantify what we have done - it is one small measure of my gratitude today:

Nearly 12 Years...

...of collaborations involving the Survey Sciences Group, LLC / SoundRocket, some of which we have carried longer through previous employers.  I am grateful for each and every year - as a year has not gone by without a wonderful lesson learned.

38 Employees...

...have worked with us over this time in permanent part- and full-time roles.  I remain amazed that people will come to work at a small business, knowing that they are more turbulent and more risky than a large academic center - and they even stay after their first day!  I am grateful for what they have and are contributing every day!

400+ Customer Organizations...

...with whom we have collaborated.  Check out the full list here.  While this number spans the breadth of our reach, it falls short of showing the depth we have gone within those organizations listed.  I am grateful for the trust that each one of these organizations has given us!

820+ Web-based Surveys...

...fielded.  From small (1 question) to hugely complex (over 2,000 variables captured), and everything in between, this number is likely low as it does not include surveys conducted on our secondary data collection systems.  I am grateful for the core tool of our field - the survey - and the scientific inquiry that it helps support!

1,900,000+ Survey Responses...

...received.  This number floors me, as behind this number is an even larger number of those who have been invited to participate.  But I do not share that number, as I do not intend to celebrate nonresponse in this post.  ;) This comes down to over 450 survey responses per day! I am grateful to every survey participant for trusting us to collect their responses and for their contribution to the science!