Tag Archives: data

Paul DePodesta And The Power Of Analytics


Statistics are much more than numbers. They drive major business decisions, engineering, and everyday life. They fuel testing of new medicine, protect our borders, push the Warriors to the NBA title, and even guide personal decisions, whether used consciously or not.

Over millennia, military leaders employed data and analysis to defeat enemies. Today, major business leaders all over the world employ the same methodology in delivering cherished goods and services. Even the world of sports and entertainment understands this aspect of modern business. For example, The Cleveland Browns recently made headlines by hiring Paul DePodesta, a former collegiate wide receiver, rose to fame through a dramatization of Michael Lewis’ “Moneyball,” which chronicled his ability to use baseball statistics to aid the Oakland A’s in competing against better financed teams.

After moving to the NFL, the Cleveland Browns collected three championship trophies in their first 5 years in the league. Unfortunately, their performance slipped into mediocrity by the 70’s, and in subsequent eras, their lackluster performance continued. While the Browns have a history of making bad personnel decisions, the Browns tapped DePodesta not due to their situation, but rather out of the need for a guide in transforming their organization, and remaining competitive.

This article explores analytics, big data, and their impact in and outside of sports; and why the Browns joined countless organizations in exploiting the power of data.


The Analytics Machine Driving Modern Business



Analytics or business intelligence (BI) owes its substance to military intelligence and serves the same essential purpose. At every stage of a campaign, intelligence gives commanders a clear picture of battle with pros and cons of options. In business, leaders maintain a picture of operations and status, and the factors affecting outcome.

Before computer use in business, business intelligence primarily involved legal spying (like military spies). It began to mature by the 1800s when Richard Miller Devens wrote about a banker exploiting data to outperform competitors. In the 1950s, commercial computers hit markets, and modern business intelligence officially began. Hans Peter Luhn, an IBM researcher and leading computer scientist, created foundational business analytics systems, and laid the groundwork for analyzing and distributing documents. Some consider him the father of BI.

Business intelligence advancement developed parallel to computer technology development, exploiting every viable tool available to private organizations and individuals. Through various innovations, its main resources actually remained the same: big data, analysis applications, and statistical theory. Cultural shifts within business led to more and deeper business intelligence use. Business, like sports, possesses a macho culture with great minds exploiting their instincts and natural talent. This environment wrestled with accepting analysis, however, the cold, hard facts won them over, cementing and advancing its role.

Analytics In Action:



Virtually every industry employs analytics including, but not limited to the following examples.

–  As it relates to marketing and advertising, analytics determine the effect of campaigns and channels including their ROI.
–  Analytics is widely used in politics to determine the best way to access, motivate and interact with political supporters.
–  Analytics is widely used in the military to understand the enemy or to go as far as anticipating or counter attacks. Some military applications even analyze an enemy’s facial expressions.
–  In medicine, along with improving profits and reducing waste, data predicts epidemics, aids in curing disease, and aids in avoiding preventable deaths.

IBM surveyed over 1,000 international executives from 67 countries. The survey reveals 63% of organizations achieve a positive return on analytics investment within one year, and 26% realize it in as little as 6 months. Businesses across sectors clearly recognize the transformative effect of analytics with customer service, operations efficiency, and financial or risk management as the main areas of application. Out of those surveyed, 49% of organizations report employing big data exceeded their expectations for returns, and 40% of organizations (up from 25% in 2013) focus analytics on operations.

CIO magazine surveyed over 300 professionals, and 65% credited analytics with driving business process change. These professionals represent manufacturing, financial services, telecoms, government, nonprofits, and healthcare. 100% of respondents stated their organization used analytics; furthermore, 57% claimed their organization would increase analytics spending.

Research has shown that more than 80% of the world’s major business leaders pursue big data projects to remain competitive.

Case Study: Nate Silver

Nate Silver, a statistician, skyrocketed to fame on the back of his baseball and election analysis. He initially became known for his PECOTA system, a statistical forecasting system for major league baseball player performance. His system grabbed the attention of major sports media entities and publications such as ESPN, the New York Times, and Sports Illustrated. Others recognized Silver’s talent after he correctly predicted 49 out of 50 states in the 2008 US presidential election. This earned him a spot on Time’s “100 Most Influential People” list. Four years later, he correctly predicted all 50 states in the 2012 election.

Quality data and analysis form the foundation of powerful analytics. The data must tell a story, and provide all the information needed to spot trends or support critical decisions. Any other data offers no insight. The size of big data proves its weakness and strength. Analysts unfortunately spend more time aggregating a sea of data than analyzing it. Many organizations also realize, like sports organizations, data analysts must partner with experts in the field to achieve quality analysis.


Rebuilding Cleveland’s Machine



Analytics might not get the Browns to the superbowl anytime soon, however, the organization has a different goal. They simply want to leverage an excellent resource in tuning operations, a move the NBA, MLB, and many other major leagues agree works. Many know about the general results of these efforts, but much of it remains hidden like the trade secrets of successful businesses.

Analytics on the Field

The Red Sox exploited analytics and emphasized on-base percentage, something which proved critical to developing a championship contender, and which currently fuels huge salaries. Nor (number of walks) caused baseball to reevaluate hitters and pitchers, and control the metric given its value both in prevention and draw. Analytics also caused a drop in base stealing attempts, which fell by 30% between 1993 and 2013. The NBA flocked to the 3-point corner shot on the strength of its performance in analysis, increasing the attempts by over 100 percent. Analysis also revealed optimal lineups and tactics.

Analytics offers more than game actions, and extends to player health. Many organizations use data to monitor, prevent, and manage injuries.

The Team

Data influences picks and coach selection, and goes even deeper. In football, a single statistic can be created to encapsulate the performance of a player, merging quantitative and qualitative characteristics. This aids in building a well-designed, devastating team instead of assembling a pack of men or women who display a bit of talent.

Analytics also goes further than the field and into more practical aspects of an organization’s business performance including areas like ticket sales and fan engagement. Data aids in reaching fans, supporters, and investors.


Cleveland’s Future



Ultimately, analytics make the Browns a stronger organization with better performance, a firmer foundation, and enhanced longevity in a competitive space. Despite this reality, a certain amount of reluctance exists in the NFL due to the very nature of the game. Many consider football too complex for analysis. Box score statistics accurately describe 90% of a baseball game compared with 40% of a football game, however, simple adjustments overcome this such as placing chips and sensors in football pads to gather data, or placing analysis equipment on the field (as in basketball and baseball).

The financial and cultural dynamic in the NFL also affects attitudes. The longtime owners of the NFL are extremely risk-averse, and along with owners who fear change, many coaches and managers also feel threatened. They fail to understand analytics as support for their decisions rather than a replacement for them.


Infographic of the Week: Preventing Data Theft From Hackers

Hooded hacker attempting to break screen of data

As a research and data collection company, qSample takes data security very seriously. We handle private information of more than a million respondents that comprise our various panels. Many of these panels consist of physicians, academics and government officials who themselves hold sensitive information.

We simply live in a world where cyber security is paramount. After all, it’s estimated that in 2014 approximately 47% of adult Americans had their personal information exposed by hackers. At the same time, businesses are continuously being raided for data by Mr Robots, from Target to Ashley Madison, from Domino’s Pizza to Apple. Even the federal government gets hacked, and it’s a scary as General Jack D. Ripper taking over nuclear weapons in Dr. Stranglove.

No one is safe.

That is why we decided to focus on data security in this week’s infographic, presenting two pieces from our articles How to Prevent Data Theft and How Can Businesses Recover Consumer Trust After A Data Breach?

Whether personally or in your work, we hope our data assists you in keeping your data a more secure.

Data Theft

Data Theft Businesses

Hard to reach audience button

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The Science Behind Habitually Late People

Man running late with giant clock in backdrop

Some people seem to be always late, no matter what the event or appointment. They’re like the Samuel L. Jackson character in Goodfellas, who is told by the Joe Pesci character that he’s always late and will even be late to his own funeral. Such individuals seem like an enigma to those who thrive to be punctual, a perverse art form from those who consummately delayed.

There is also a science behind this, and some of it ties to qSample’s own research.

The data comes from a recent piece by Science Alert. It details three personality traits that, alone or together, create that thermonuclear annoyance of being habitually unpunctual. Here they are, and then some solutions offered from an expert on tardiness recovery.


Poor Planners

“I have been on a calendar, but never on time.”
― Marilyn Monroe

The article states:

One of the most obvious and common reasons that people are frequently late is that they simply fail to accurately judge how long a task will take – something known as the planning fallacy. Research has shown that people on average underestimate how long a task will take to complete by a significant 40 percent.

This essentially means there are people who just are faulty at planning, and not intentionally holding up the Monday design meeting or enjoying watching you soaked as they pick you up late at the bus stop on a rainy day.

But let us be grateful for those who heavily multitask in order to make the day happen, right?

Not exactly. This is the second trait.



“He was always late on principle, his principle being that punctuality is the thief of time.”
― Oscar Wilde

The article further states:

In a 2003 study run by Jeff Conte from San Diego State University in the US, found that out of 181 subway operators in New York City, those who preferred multitasking – or polychronicity – were more often late to their job.

The reasons stated center on the notion that multitasking makes it harder to maintain metacognition (or awareness). This confirms our findings that maintain Multitasking has a 41% higher chance of creating mental blocks; furthermore, it takes four times the amount of energy to recognize new things when multitasking.

But multitasking is for aggressive, extroverted people who need to carpe diem at any cost! That’s a reason they are late.

Not exactly.


Type B Personalities

“Punctuality is the virtue of the bored.”

― Evelyn Waugh

The data of Science Alert claims that Type A individuals are typically more punctual than Type B individuals. It has little to do with the intense environment Type A individuals commonly surround themselves in (including aggressive multitasking).

The fascinating reason, according to the article, is that “Type A and Type B people actually feel time pass differently.” The Conte study mentions it found that for Type A individuals a minute passed in 58 seconds, whereas Type B people felt a minute pass in 77 seconds.

This all may all seem trite and amusing, but the reality is that it’s estimated that the U.S. loses $90 billion each year as a result of people running late (while multitasking alone costs a staggering $650 billion).

So we might as well find solutions—related but beyond less multitasking, working on better planning, and slamming a Red Bull to speed up time. To assist, we’ve included an infographic at the bottom from our article The Art of Good Time Management.


Four Methods to Becoming Punctual

These methods are provided by a Fast Company article that dissects Diana DeLonzor’s bestselling Never Be Late Again: 7 Cures for the Punctually Challenged.

DeLonzor provides four cornerstones to punctuality Nirvana, and they overlap with the personalities mentioned:

  1. Be a Realistic Thinker

Habitually late people engage in what DeLonzor calls “magical thinking.” It’s a delusion where an individual always expects the best possible scenario of any event, e.g.: driving through traffic, finishing work projects, or the length of a baseball game. DeLonzo says late people are regularly off of their time calculations by 25% to 30%.

DeLonzor suggests relearning to read the clock by writing the exact time it takes to reach a destination or even with mundane activities like taking a shower. And then rewrite these times down every week until a strong average is understood.

  1. Be an Embracer of Buffers

Punctual individuals are often early. Being late causes them stress and feeling rushed is uneasy. According to DeLonzo, late people do also feel stress when being late, but that doesn’t make them strive to be early, instead timing things to the minute.

Always adding ten-minute increments of time to any event could go a long way to eliminating tardiness.

  1. Be Organized

According to DeLonzor, 45% of everything people perform on a daily basis is automatic. Humans are creatures of habit.

Punctual individuals tend to have structured habits, constantly analyzing their daily activities and routines. In contrast, habitually late individuals tend to eschew structure and even fall in the ADD spectrum.

DeLonzor recommends putting more routines and structure into life. One example would be doing everything to prepare for the morning the night before.

  1. Be Comfortable with Downtime

Being on time often means being early and thus having extra minutes to burn. That also means often catching up on emails, reading notes, or even enjoying a meditative moment.

That doesn’t sit well with habitually late individuals. They take a Furious 7 approach in enjoying the thrill of getting anywhere. Furthermore, they tend not to be comfortable sitting or waiting around, and that affects them unconsciously when it comes to punctuality. To negate this, DeLonzor proposes bringing an extra task or piece of literature for any appointment.

All of this information won’t cure those Midwest blizzards or Gulf hurricanes that are authentic excuses for being late to work or dinner. Yet they will go a long way in curing those storms inside the heads of those who make us late for movies or that important sales appointment.

Time Management

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Infographic of the Week: Social Media Is Ruling Our Lives

It’s 2015 and we’ve been familiar with social media for over 20 years.

While it started out gradually, we now live in a world where we are always connected. Smartphones, tablets, even wearable technology helps us stay connected with friends, family, even the celebrities you’re obsessed with.

There are social networks, apps, and digital devices for everything these days, with new ones being added to the market daily. It is truly leading our lives. In the newest installment of qSample‘s Infographic of The Week, we break it all down for you. We let you know which sites are being used the most, who has been sent to the graveyard, what times of the day we’re plugged in, and so much more. We live in a hyper-connected, always-plugged-into-social-network reality of status updating and photo sharing.

Psychology Today quoted a tenth grader as part of an assignment to answer the question, “How has online social networking influence your relationships with friends and family?” He responded,

“Our technology has come to the point where it is ruling our lives; however, without it we would be lost.”

Spend a few minutes and check out our Infographic of the Week:

Social Media Infographic Final (1)


We’ve also added one of our latest YouTube videos for you to enjoy. It’s not another technical survey on how-to, it’s a funny feel good that will have you saying ooh la la. Enjoy!

Make sure to like and subscribe to our YouTube page, follow us on Twitter, and like us on Facebook.

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That One Piece of Information that can Change Your Company

Information is power, it is said. It is also said the universe itself is made up of entirely information strung into codes and coalescing into matter.

So even if money makes the world go around, information fuels the very universe.

In business, all it takes is one piece of information to make a universe of difference. This piece of information is often discovered in the seemingly mundane and scientific world of survey panels and study groups.

That once piece of information is all it takes. Take these three momentous examples:


How Betty got her groove

Betty Crocker released the first instant cake mix in the 50s. Consumers did not exactly devour this revolutionary recipe that provided an entire cake by just adding water to the mix, and then baking it. What could be done?

That one piece of information: Through studies and surveys, Better Crocker determined that homemakers felt the water and mix combination took away from the cooking experience. It was too simple. By adding an egg to the baking instructions (even if the mix already contained powdered egg), instant cake mixes took off because people felt they were baking something real.


Would you like huge profits with your meal?

McDonald’s began to lose steam in the 70s after a meteoric rise. How could it continue to thrive as one of the country’s chief eateries?

That one piece of information: Through empirical and psychological research, McDonald’s realized that Americans held a social stigma about ordering twice at restaurants (no matter how hungry or thirsty they felt!). The solution was to offer larger meals and gradually normalize the process (“Super size it?”) The process was gradual, though, culminating in the 90s—but it made universes around the waists of consumers.


Saving Private Canine

In the present, over 1.2 million dogs are euthanized every year in the U.S., and teen crime is a persistent problem. Is there a possible connection to these two issues?

That one piece of information: There certainly is, according to a recent study by researcher and clinical psychologist Jessica Thomas. At risk youths who are given a dog and taught how to care for it, heal emotionally and gain the coping skills to adapt to society. There are already nonprofit programs that unite dogs with troubled youths; but the ability of dogs to increase the humanity of humans could be a potent marketing tool for companies, breeders, and veterinarians.

In each mentioned case, all it took was that one piece of information to change things, and even change the very architecture of public perception. Finding the information was not swashbuckling or creative, but the usual “mundane and scientific” research—but once found it created amazing adventure.

Survey panels and study groups are indeed essential. That is where any business can find that one piece of information that fuel its universe for eons (okay, a long time at least).


Cutting Costs on High Tech Gear and Electronics

Consumers desire the latest electronics and high tech gear, but unfortunately cost can be prohibitive. Savvy consumers have blogs, websites and books dedicated to saving money both for the home and business. Here are a few non-traditional and creative ways to save money when it comes time to buy the needed items to outfit an office or the latest technology gadget.


Online Auctions

Online auctions claim to save buyers anywhere from 25%-75% on all sorts of items. One online auction generating attention is Quibids It’s free and easy to create an account but in order to bid, one must first purchase 100 bids at 60 cents a bid. Smaller bid packages may be purchased after the initial purchase. Items can be placed on a watch list to track selling prices at certain times. We saw two remote-controlled cars sell for vastly different amounts. In the early afternoon it sold for one bid (60 cents) and later that evening sold for 240 bids.


If one loses a bid on an item, QuiBids will sometimes offer the item at a Buy Now price, and will subtract the bids already placed on that item. For instance a $50 gift card that had $40 worth of bids already might be available to purchase at the remaining cost of $10.


Auctions are not a guarantee of lower prices, but often a creative way to try to buy high priced items at lower costs. All items on QuiBids are new and items ship for free within the U.S.


Use Online Shopping Carts

Another way to save money is to shop on-line at sites like Amazon. Items can be placed in a shopping cart for later and will adjust as the price either drops or rises. Amazon Prime membership will also save money on the item price and get two-day free shipping on Prime items. Overstock.com often offers cheap shipping as well.


In addition, if you place items in an online shopping cart but do not complete the purchase, you may receive an email within a couple of days offering you a discount on the items in your shopping cart. It’s the store’s way of following up to close a sale.


Planning and Patience

A tried and true way to save money on electronics and high tech gear is to plan ahead. During the year there are times when high priced items are on sale. Televisions, cell phones, iPods, digital cameras, computers and more have yearly sale times, especially when new models come out.


It’s good to research before purchasing. Consumer Reports has a list of which items commonly go on sale and when so that you can better plan in advance. For instance, computers are a popular sale item before school starts and TVs in January. You can also avoid spending hundreds at once when you buy an item by pre-buying gift cards in smaller amounts to save up for a particular item. Purchase gift cards at many retail outlets as well as online via Google Play, Apple, Best Buy, Amazon and more.


Gift cards can also be used anytime, including during Black Friday sales weekend. Stores advertise specials on everything, including electronics. Long lines may deter consumers from Black Friday sales, but it’s worth researching what items stores are selling at discounted prices as often you can get items for pennies on the dollar. Buying gift cards ahead saves you spending the full amount all at one time.



A great way to have the latest smartphone and save on monthly bills is to ask the phone carrier if there are deals, upgrades or discounts available. Customer service agents work hard to create customer loyalty by offering discounts, deals, and reviewing bills to make sure consumers are getting the best rates. Many big phone companies offer deals and discounts to keep customers happy (this also applies to cable/satellite and internet services) and you will never know-unless you ask. Remember the person on the other end of the phone wants to sign new people up and make sales.


Saving money is a strategy that can be applied to every aspect of business, including keeping up on the latest products that help save time, money and manpower. High priced technology and electronics can be made more affordable by research, planning and patience.

The Pros and Cons of Surveys


Research professionals who have been in the business for years have seen survey popularity with consumers ebb and flow. When surveys were new, they were fun and it was easy to find survey participants to complete them. However, it became evident that survey data collection was becoming more and more challenging, due to other activities on the calendar that became a huge distraction to the average consumer.


How do researchers compete for the consumer’s time effectively? Respondents who complete a survey are often rewarded for their time and participation. At a time when the economy was somewhat sluggish, survey honorariums became a huge attraction with research participants and viewed by some as a way to earn some income on the side. A focus group participant, for example, can earn anywhere from $50 and up for their time. With the growth of social networks, taking a survey has become easier than ever and many research firms, including qSample, take full advantage of the methodology.


For this post, we explored the pros and cons of surveying.survey_news




Surveys allow marketers to gather many different opinions from a wide-market spread, or from many different markets. Running around the mall with a clipboard to complete surveys can sometimes lead to skewed conclusions, since the majority of survey participants will consist of local residents. While this might work if the research requires speaking with local area residents, an online survey is probably a better, cheaper and more effective method to reach a broader audience.


Surveys allow for sampling within certain regions, if needed. Surveys can be initiated in certain regions only, if needed. In fact, panel providers, like qSample, can target respondents’ zip codes for very selective geographic studies. If a respondent needs to live in Midland, TX because a researcher wants to discover the draw of living there, a researcher can pull respondents from that area only.


Surveys ensure that all respondents are answering the same questions. This is important so that the resulting data is very clear (i.e. 40% of respondents said that they like to pack a lunch and 60% of them do not like to pack a lunch). If participants receive different questions and options to respond, the survey results become null.


With modern surveys, marketers can compile results quickly and use technology to see trends. Gone are the days of hand-counting checkmarks in certain columns and then creating reports about those results (unless one IS running around a mall with a clipboard).

qSample has unique technology that allows instant graphing of results as they come in. Those results are open to all team members involved so that adjustments can be made if needed and communication is clear. Because qSample already has active panel members ready to participate and great software, surveys can often be completed within days.


Surveys protect respondent’s personal information and do not affiliate information with a name. Online surveys in particular guard the consumer’s private information so that it cannot be sold, rented or tampered with. There is no paper trail on respondents. Although certain demographics might be tapped for a particular survey, contributor’s contact information is kept separate from the results lessening the potential fear of identity theft, inherent bias, etc.




Respondents may be biased when answering questions. Although researchers, not unlike lawyers in a jury selection process, can attempt to find any bias before running a survey, this isn’t always possible. If the goal is to find consumers who love General Mills, a marketer will initially ask consumers if they buy General Mills products before sending them to the rest of the questions and of course, it’s possible some would claim to buy the brand when they really don’t. This would immediately skew the results. Surveys must operate on the assumption that most contributors are answering to the best of their knowledge and allow for a small margin of nuances.


If survey answers are multiple choice, some answers may not be listed. Many wonder why there is not an answer that fits them on some survey questions. It is because the researcher wants participants to fit into the categories offered. Although they recognize that not all participants will comply, they want to connect mostly with the people that do fit into those categories. The best surveys will have an “other” or a “none of the above” option.


Respondents sometimes skip or are untruthful about personal questions, like income and age. Respondents have a natural inclination to be untruthful if they perceive that the question crosses a line. Annual income ranges are an example of this. Does it matter? Perhaps. Market Researchers know this and can work with it. If researchers want to know if those who make more than $100,000 like to buy a certain car or not, the survey should be approached with that qualification up front by gathering respondents who make that verified income range before even beginning the survey.


Marketers can be biased when putting together respondent qualifications or survey questions. It exists and is sometimes hard to pin down, but of course there can be bias when writing a survey. In addition, questions can be leading, which makes for a poor tool to gather unbiased data.


Sometimes surveys don’t hold consumer’s attention long enough to complete. Ideally, a survey is created with this in mind and retains the interest of respondents. Minimizing respondent fatigue and making the survey as user friendly as possible is paramount to getting the best responses possible. qSample keeps this in mind before fielding any surveys and employs several different tactics to keep respondents engaged.


Understanding the potential cons of surveys, market researchers have implemented methods to minimize these issues and gather accurate data.  With the large reach of surveys, and especially qSample’s online and mobile options, marketers can reach the exact market of people that they need and gather the best data possible.


The Art of Good Time Management

We try, and try, to get it all done, but sometimes, at the end of the day, some tasks go unfinished. When it comes to social media marketing, our tasks are plenty, and the days are short. How can we better manage our time so we can get it all done? The trick is adopting better time management skills, and that requires strategy.

Here is a useful guide by qSample that will help you better manage your time.

Make a List

When it comes to social media marketing, making a list of all necessary tasks, and the frequency at which they must be completed, is an important time management strategy.  It’s important to note the frequency of each task to plan effectively.

Create a list of all of the tasks that need to be accomplished. See where you can delegate any task to a coworker, or if you have the resources, outsource to a freelancer.

Here’s an example:

Short Content: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Google Plus, Pinterest Daily
Blog posts Three times a week
AdWords Campaign Weekly
Infographics Three times a week
Webinar Bimonthly
e-Newsletter Weekly
Analytics Weekly
Content meetings Weekly
Brainstorming Weekly
SEO Weekly


Prioritize the list. Look at your social media analytics for all of your platforms, and see where you are getting your greatest return on investment.  Make sure you spending your time wisely. If you are not getting any significant engagement from a particular platform, devote more time and effort to areas where you getting the most engagement. At a later date, you can focus on a strategy that will boost engagement with your audience. Quite frankly, you don’t need to be everywhere on social media.


1. Long Content

2. Short Content

3. Brainstorming

4. AdWords Campaign

5. Analytics

6. Content Meeting

7. SEO

8. e-Newsletter

Get Automated

There are plenty of apps that will automate your social media posts. Schedule your posts daily, weekly, or monthly. If you are responsible for creating several blog posts within a week, try writing them all at once. What you post on your blog can also be used for e-Newsletters.  Most analytic programs can be downloaded into an Excel spreadsheet.

Remember you don’t have to answer every email as they come, and you don’t have to answer every phone call. Set aside some time to periodically focus on those tasks throughout the day.

Create a Rough Schedule

Now you can create a schedule. Use a calendar or Post It Notes. Either way, write down a rough time frame you can set aside to complete specific tasks. In the office, there are always meetings and distractions, so there is a slight possibility you may never complete your tasks in the given time frame. The time frames helps you remember what needs to be done. Think of your schedule as a gentle reminder.

Always schedule a time for your thoughts and ideas. Write them down and then try to find a place in your schedule to execute those ideas.

Block off some time to devote to catch up. Sometimes we are given special projects, a new social campaign that we must implement, or some other such task that takes priority over everything else. Other times, our tasks couldn’t get completed in time. Use this time to catch up on uncompleted items.

Think about when you are the most and least motivated and the most and least creative. Build your schedule around that. If you are a morning person and feel you are the most creative, write blog posts in the morning.

Lastly, don’t schedule things back-to-back. You will need a break, take lunch, run to a meeting across town. Try to leave as much time open, if possible. Give yourself some breathing room.

Here’s an example of a rough schedule:

Time Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
8 -8:30 am Analytics Research for Blog/Write Blog/e-Newsletter Research for Blog/Write Blog/e-Newsletter Research for Blog/Write Blog/e-Newsletter Edit Blogs
9 -10 am Schedule short content Schedule short content Schedule short content Schedule short content Schedule short content
10:30-12 am Research for Blog/Write Blog Research for Blog/Write Blog/e-Newsletter Research for Blog/Write Blog/e-Newsletter Edit Blogs Edit Blogs
12:30 -1pm Content Meeting AdWords Send out e-Newsletter Catch-up
1:30-2:30 Infographics Infographics Infographics
3 pm Post due SEO Post due Post due
4 pm Brainstrom

Yes, everyone can agree there is never enough time in the day to get it all done, but with a little strategy and planning you can get the important things done.


Time Management


Infographics: Creating Value with Visualization

More than 90 percent of information transmitted to the brain is visual. Furthermore, visuals are processed up to 60,000 times faster in the brain than text. When working with a lot of heavy data like we do at qSample, we understand the importance and benefit of presenting data in a visual manner.

Relaying and communicating data through a visual context involves the use of a variety of visual elements, such as drawings, illustrations and electronic images. When done correctly, using visual aids to present data will be more effective and easier to retain than simply presenting the data itself.

Enter Infographics. Infographics are essentially a means of displaying data and information in the form of a graph or picture.

Here’s one that qSample used to present data about Ivy Leaguers!

Ivy shortened

A well designed infographic that speaks to your audience and conveys useful, fun, and interesting information, can get picked up from your website or your social media pages and re-posted multiple times by your social media followers.

It goes beyond simply presenting information in an interesting way. Infographics can generate leads, build traffic and advance your brand. It arms your audience with something they can repost and share with friends and increases your presence across the Internet.


Want to give it a go, but lack designer skills and or experience? Don’t fret, there are plenty of free infographic tools available online. Here the top four as chosen by the qSample Staff:

  • Ease.ly: This is about as user friendly and simple as it gets. It even comes 2 minute tutorial video highlighting these steps: You pick a theme, then using drag and drop, pick objects, add text, choose colors and arrange everything until it’s the way you want it. One drawback is it doesn’t create charts; for that you can use one of the many free online chart generators.
  • Venngage: Another very user friendly site, Vennage offers the best quality and quantity of templates among the other infographic building sites we’re highlighting in this article. Makes a beginner’s final product look like it was designed by a pro.
  • Infogr.am: This site offers less templates than the others, but it has the advantage of a chart generator so there is no need to import a chart if your layout calls for it. What makes Infogr.am stand out is it can also make charts interactive, a feature not found on most other free services.
  • Piktochart: More versatile than some others, Piktochart offers a lot of templates, shapes, and icons. Especially handy when trying to fit everything where you want it, are the multiple sizes it allows.  It’s another drag and drop. Additional features are available in the premium version (gives you access to over 110 themes and over 1,500 graphics), but you can build great graphics for free.

Here are a couple of tips on what your infographic should include/be:

  1. A theme. Keep it simple. It should be easy for anyone to identify what your graphic is about given the icons, color scheme, graphics and pictures being used. If you create a graphic which is so complex in nature that it’s like trying to find the hidden picture in a magic eye calendar, your audience will switch off and it’s message will be lost.
  2. Make sure you know your audience and tailor the graphic to their taste to increase the chance of viral sharing.
  3. Your company signage, logo and or colors to maintain brand consistency as well as to make sure that once viral, you always serve as the originator
  4. Attention grabbing, resonating and memorable
  5. Make sure that the colors are easy on the eye. Avoid loud color schemes
  6. Make sure that your image is searchable in Google images to increase your exposure

Google’s Driverless Car Faces Significant Roadblocks

A few weeks ago, Google unveiled a new prototype of the driverless car, and sparked the imagination of people around the world. Unlike previous models, this version was designed entirely by Google and contains no steering wheel or pedals, making it the company’s first model to be entirely self-controlled. Consumer reactions were mixed, with excitement and support on one side, and skepticism on the other.

Google isn’t the first company to test a driverless car. The idea of a self-guiding vehicle has been around since the automobile was first created, and inventors have been testing prototypes since the 1920’s, but no one has been more successful than Google. This new prototype is the first of its kind that completely removes the steering wheel and pedals from the passenger’s control. Google announced plans to build 100 electric powered prototypes for thorough testing in the near future, which will be built by an unnamed company in Detroit. Those models will have a limited top speed of only 25mph for safety reasons, and should be road-ready within a year. Google isn’t the only company that is working on driverless car technology however, and some are even experimenting with larger vehicles. Peloton Technology, based in California, is currently testing self-driving systems in semi-trucks. Their program, which allows tractor-trailers to follow each other very closely in convoys, decreases wind resistance and fuel costs up to 10% for trailing vehicles, and 4.5% for leading ones. This could be substantial in an industry where fuel represents 40% of operating costs.

The practical applications are obvious, and companies are scrambling to spearhead the industry, but is society really ready for a driverless car? One major roadblock is human nature. People tend to be scared of new technology, especially when it removes control from them. According to a Harris poll of 2039 adult consumers, 88% of motorists indicated that they would be worried about riding in a driverless car, meaning that only 12% would feel no apprehension. Although many have embraced self-driving vehicles as a technology for the near future, some think of them as psychopathic vehicles that will terrorize motorways and run down innocent children in school playgrounds. Fortunately, Google has embraced the natural reaction of the public and is working to cultivate acceptance through strict testing.

Like any new technology, the driverless car is hampered by many problems and concerns. The systems used in Google’s prototypes are state-of-the-art, but still require a substantial amount of testing before they can even be considered for use by the public. Even with testing, things could still go wrong. Hardware can always malfunction, and programs can encounter errors. Consumers can’t trust their laptops not to crash, let alone a self-driving vehicle. In addition to this, a driverless car could be hacked or sabotaged. 39% of drivers surveyed indicated that they would be worried about hacking. The consequences of tampering with a computer-driven vehicle could be horrific. Therefore it is crucial that driverless cars be fitted with anti-virus software, and have safety features to prevent accidents in the event of a malfunction.

Legislation and regulations represent a significant problem as well. 59% of drivers surveyed would be worried about liability issues. Before a driverless car can operate on public roads, many questions have to be answered by legislators. For example: If a driverless car parks in a no-parking zone, who will receive the ticket? Should it be the manufacturer’s fault because the no-parking zone wasn’t programmed in? Or would the owner be ticketed for not supervising his vehicle’s actions? In addition to this, modern traffic laws are designed to accommodate human drivers. Artificial intelligence can respond to situations with staggering speed. Should driverless cars be allowed to drive faster and follow other vehicles at a shorter distance to mitigate traffic conditions? It may be some time before laws can be put in place to integrate human and computer controlled vehicles, and until those issues are solved, the driverless car will remain an ambitious dream.

Unfortunately, modern society is not ready to embrace a driverless car, but there is hope. Each of these problems represent a challenge and an opportunity for growth. If there is any company with the money and technological might to make the self-driving vehicle a reality, it’s Google, but it will not be an easy process. Challenges must be overcome, ideas must be accepted, and people must allow technology to flourish. It is human ingenuity that will pave the way for intelligent technology. For every roadblock in the path of the driverless car, there is a solution that can lead to bigger and better things.

qSample offers many great panels for data collection and analysis. In addition to general Consumers, qSample cultivates high-quality specialty panels. Those panels include: Mobile Users, Gamers, Voters, Contractors, Home Owners, Students, Baby Boomers, Veterinarians, and Pet Owners.