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The Growing Idealism of Ivy League Graduates

Group of executives under a glowing Ivy League Banner

A famous quote misattributed to Winston Churchill goes: “If you’re not a liberal when you’re 25, you have no heart. If you’re not a conservative by the time you’re 35, you have no brain.”

That might not be the case, though, when it comes Ivy League graduates. These noted alumni may not be more liberal, in a conventional sense. However, a recent study—conducted by the Ivy League Magazine Network in collaboration with qSample—reveals they are quite the idealists. That’s certainly a reflection of the socially responsible Millennials whom qSample also researched.

With a median household income of over $190,000 and a median net worth of $900,000, Ivy League graduates are a uniquely influential and affluent demographic. This data ought to make them appealing to marketers. If their views move towards that of the forward-looking yet also economically-influential Millennials, the entire marketing industry should pay heed.

qSample surveyed readers from the eight Ivy League Magazines. The online study consisted of data collected from more than 1500 survey participants—all graduates of Brown, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Princeton, Columbia, University of Pennsylvania and Yale.


Idealism in Healthcare


As an example of an idealist bent, specifically in the holistic attitude popular today, a larger number (88%) of Ivy League Grads state that eating right is essential for good health. Additionally, 75% feel that exercise is also conducive to an overall good health. A much smaller percentage (17%) find that using advanced medicine or popular medical brands is key to good health. One doesn’t have to look farther than data from Harvard Magazine, an Ivy League mainstay, to see that a more natural, less intrusive approach to healthcare is a growing trend in the nation.

The following graph expands on the healthcare preferences of Ivy Leauge graduates:


Graphs showing Ivy League Health Habits


 Idealism in Shopping


Does an idealistic outlook already embraced by Millennials and other demographics translate to shopping behavior for Ivy League graduates?

Not exactly. It’s not too far, either. 60% of respondents from the qSample study claim they exclusively buy American products. That’s a relatively high percentage, higher than the 45% of general consumers that buy American products only, according to Gallup. However, this percentage is still in the middle the pack in of the study. Here are the top preferences when it comes to favoring a brand:

92% Stick with a brand once they like it
91% Prefer brands from a company they trust, even if it is slightly more expensive
89% Don’t mind paying for brands that are high-quality
89% Like to compare brands before making a decision
65% Prefer brands that reflect their lifestyle


Idealism in Technology


These days, technology is considered successful not just for its capabilities but also its altruistic qualities. An example would be Google and its mission statement to “organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” It was an almost-graduate from an Ivy League school, Bill Gates, who famously said: “If your culture doesn’t like geeks, you are in real trouble.”

In that respect, Ivy League graduates may not be that engaged with technology, or more like haven’t fully embraced their inner geek. Only 39% of respondents state they find themselves the first in their social caste to purchase new technology, even if 54% said they prefer cutting-edge technology.

These statistics don’t mean Ivy League graduates are behind times when it comes to technology and its benefits. As we reported in our study An Ivy League of their Own:

Over 75% of respondents are active on social media.  Facebook and LinkedIn are the two most popular social media sites among participants, with 60% on Facebook and 56% on LinkedIn. However, usage of social media varied from panel-to-panel with Brown Alumni more like to use Facebook (69%).

Moreover, when it comes to mobile devices:

Over the next 12 months, 76% of participants own or plan to purchase a smartphone and 70% own or plan to purchase a tablet computer. Among smartphone users, iPhone and Android operating systems are the most popular operating systems with 63% of respondents using iPhones and 20% Android.


Idealism in Life


The true measure of the idealism of Ivy League graduates is clearly reflected when asked about their guiding principles in life. At equally in the 99% mark in preference, these were the top ten:

Honesty: being sincere, having integrity
– Knowledge: being well educated
– Authenticity: being true to myself
– Learning: continuing to learn throughout my life
– Enjoying life: doing things because I like them
– Curiosity: wanting to explore and learn about new things
– Helpfulness: making the effort to assist others
– Working hard: always giving my best effort
– Open-mindedness: being broad-minded

Below that, friendship followed (98%). At the bottom of the list of guiding principles were Ambition (69%) and Social Status (37%).

One could argue that being socially responsible requires the ability to take a risk (as Bill Gates and others did). Ivy League graduates seem to have that inclination of risk taking, according to the study. They’re not all about “playing it safe” in all aspects as with their cars. This sensibility is illustrated in their vacation patterns—as a vast majority (68%) enjoy traveling to new destinations. 60% plan to travel outside the country this year for pleasure. In fact, when surveyed about general attitudes on life, 88% say they enjoy trying new things.

This graph presents the vacation preferences of Ivy Leauge graduates:


Ivy League Graphs on Vacation preferences




Will this data translate into socially responsible actions by Ivy League graduates?

It already has, it appears. 77% say they volunteer in their community, with 43% doing so on a regular basis.

These takeaways at the very least dispel the notion of Ivy League graduates as stern agents of the status quo, or as simply being interested in their pursuits. They appear to be part of a more socially responsible society, starting to tap into their inner geek.

Interestingly enough and going back to the mentioned quote, one historian claimed that Churchill had “been a Conservative at 15 and a Liberal at 35.”

In other words, Churchill would likely have felt in good company with today’s Ivy League graduates.


what makes consumers buy green products graphic


Video: Mobile vs Online Research (which one is best for you?)

We take a break from our regularly-scheduled weekly infographic to bring you a breaking video. Or more like a video that might make or break your market research in these evolving digital times. As I’ve mentioned before, online research has become the preferred method of analysis for the marketing industry. The rise of mobile technology offers yet one more dimension for market researchers.

Smartphones make up 67 % of the mobile market and 41% of  research suppliers already utilize mobile surveys. The future may not be exactly now, but it’s getting very now, so understanding the advantages and disadvantages of mobile surveys is imperative.

One of qSample’s specialties is mobile research. We’ve partnered with such companies as Microsoft to execute leading mobile research projects. Since that puts us ahead of the proverbial curve, we enjoy sharing our experiences and insights to assist others in market research.

As always, we hope this continues to assist you:

If you get a chance, please visit our YouTube Channel. Dr. Who, Bladerunner, The Matrix and Matthew McConaughey all endorse…okay, they sorta make an appearance. Regardless, the channel is ripe with data on all things market research and more.


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Is Google in Trouble? Yes, and There is No Coming Back

The recent past has not been kind to Google. Beyond a shifting financial tech landscape, many of its latest injuries have been self-inflicted. One has to wonder what is happening to the once seemingly-omniscient internet pioneer that was ushering a new age of information and transparency. In reality, the Mountain View company might be in trouble.

The reason is plain to see—and with foreboding precedent—but first a glance at the stumblings of the tech giant over a much different landscape than when it came to existence in 1998.

The tea leaves of Google’s fall might have been read as early as 2013, when The Internship tanked at the box office. The movie paired Vince Vaugh and Owen Wilson, in similar roles to their Wedding Crashers hit in 2005. Instead of weddings, though, Google was both the backdrop and underlying ethos of the film. What could go wrong?

Audiences not showing up is what went wrong. It was almost as if the fawning era when tech bloggers would obsess about minutia like the animation banner on the Google page had officially ended.

Then came the expensive failure of Google+. It launched in 2012, trumpeted as the new social media player in a not-so-crowded field. Now it’s basically dead, being slowly dismembered into several manageable pieces like Photos and Hangouts. One of the main architects of Google+ (and the inventor of the hashtag), Chris Messina, even told CNN plainly: “I f–ed up. So has Google.”

Whoa! That’s Google you’re talking about, Mr. Hashtag! Yes, the company dared put out Facebook Lite, but they’re THE search engine.

It doesn’t matter. As Forbes explained, Google listened more to its engineers than its customers, moved away from its search engine capabilities, and copied other social media companies instead attempting innovation.

We’re not done, though. The disaster that is Google Glass came at the heels of Google+. As a matter of fact, both tripped over each other in attention of press mockery.

As we reported, what was meant to be the official start of the wearable tech era became one of the worst market disasters in history. Google skipped sensible beta testing and ignored public sentiments (as with Google+). This is a bit odd for a company whose mission statement is to “organize the world’s information.”

Google Glass was unceremoniously killed last year, although there are rumblings of a Frankenstein resurrection. Let’s see.

It hasn’t gotten better for Google in 2015, especially in the last month. A new study exposes some very bad practices by the search giant (the study was suspiciously sponsored by Yelp, but that’s fierce tech competition for you). The research claims that Google ranks higher its own services and products in search listings. Sure, Google is a private company in the business of making dough; however, it has claimed time and time again that its algorithms are completely unbiased.

The damaging study doesn’t mean that people will flock to Bing (God forbid). Yet, this type of news could bolster Europe’s antitrust case against the search giant, which would be disastrous. But this is Google, right? It’s the near-perfect entity that, according to Fortune, is the best company in America to work for. These are mere burps, right?

No, the news gets worse…actually disgusting. Just last month, Google’s image recognition software—employed in its Google Photos application with auto-tagging—mislabeled a photograph of an African American couple. It labeled them “gorillas.”

Google apologized for the gaffe. Moreover, many in the industry remarked that Flickr’s auto-tagging system had done the same—including mislabeling concentration camps as “jungle gyms” and people of various races as “apes.”

That’s the point, though. Flickr is owned by Yahoo, and we know where Yahoo has been headed to for a long time. Is Google on the same path?

It seems so. Again, Google is in trouble.

Bloomberg technology columnist Katie Benner agrees. In a column, she explains the numbers pointing to the fall from grace of Google that include:

Missteps in trends (e.g., Google Glass and Google+).
Underperforming stocks.
A falling share of the U.S. search market, down to 75% in 2014 from 80% in 2013 (and remember, Europe is ready to break them up).
Unhappy investors.
Unable to made headway in foreign markets like China or Russia.

Benner points out a simple but interest axiom on the foibles and fortunes of Google, and it’s not hubris as some might think from reading this article.

You see, when a company reaches a “too big to fail” size it can’t help but begin to fail. Regardless of its altruistic core mission and nimble business attitude, a suddenly-enormous company will begin to fossilize under the pressure of its own density. As Benner says:

Google is a 55,000-person behemoth, and it’s nearly impossible for any company to move quickly and creatively at that size. Among tech giants, only Apple has managed to innovate after becoming so big. Hewlett Packard? Nope. IBM? No way.

Benner draws a comparison of Google to another company that once appeared it could do no wrong and possessed that tech Midas touch:

The Google of 2015 is not unlike the early 2000s Microsoft – a hugely profitable company that is having a hard time innovating around its core product. Unless something is done, it will likely go through spasms of flailing and discontent that will be familiar to longtime veterans of the Redmond, Washington software giant.

Ironically, it was Google that helped begin the erosion of Microsoft when it came into the scene. A decade ago, consumers gradually began to divorce a PC-centric world for internet and cloud-based territories. But again, Microsoft’s large size impeded it from moving with the times, and that gave the universe the widely-detested Windows 8.

Obviously, Google isn’t going to vanish. The question is whether it can do anything not to relegate itself into a cyber Jurassic World? Can it avoid being just another corporate dinosaur to amuse consumers instead of inspiring them, much in the same way that happened to Microsoft, Yahoo, AOL, and others? Or can it find its inner innovator and remain fresh like Apple or Facebook?

Benner claims that Google will never regain its innovative spirit. Nevertheless, it can invest in buying smaller companies that have an innovative spirit (like it did with YouTube; or as Facebook did with Instagram). Google could buy Snapchat or Pinterest, again both shocking and pleasing the world. Then again, Microsoft bought Skype and not much came from it…

Perhaps there is some pioneering spark left in Google. It recently started publicizing the accidents of its self-driving cars. That is one big step for transparency, although it might end up being a step backward for public relations once the numbers are crunched by Neo-Luddites out there.

In the end, transparency and investing in creativity might be Google’s best and only choices. At least these moves would give it press beyond fiascos like Google Glass, bigoted photo tagging, or bad Hollywood movies.

And if this article suddenly disappears from search engine rankings, come look for me at the Yelp boards…

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Microsoft and Sony Battle for Consumer Attention at E3

E3, the annual Electronic Entertainment Expo, is one of the biggest gaming trade shows in the world. It will be held at the L.A. Convention Center in California this week from Tuesday June 10 – Thursday June 12, and will undoubtedly feature some exciting news from the industry. The two biggest console manufacturers, Microsoft and Sony, have already made some important announcements.

While Microsoft has focused on damage-control after the disastrous launch of the Xbox One, Sony has announced some very ambitious projects in an attempt to maintain a lead in console sales. With 7 million units sold, the PS4 has been the popular choice for consumers, but Microsoft is not far behind with sales of just over 5 million. These are relatively small numbers which represent the beginning of each console’s product life cycle. For example, the Xbox 360 has surpassed 83.7 million units sold since it was released in 2005, and Sony has sold 80 million PS3 systems since 2006. A recent survey indicated that 58% of gamers haven’t even purchased one of the new consoles, and 82% of those that have a PS4 or Xbox One own less than 8 games. This means that the new console war has only just begun, and the upcoming holiday season will be crucial for Microsoft and Sony.

Microsoft entered E3 with a focus on software. Among the titles announced, Halo: The Master Chief Collection was predictable but effective in reminding the public of one of Microsoft’s most popular series. It also served as a distraction to those wishing to see Halo 5 gameplay footage, which was not featured. Trailers for Dragon Age: Origins, The Division, and Forza Horizon 2 were shown, but with all of the games showcased, many noted a lack of updates in hardware. The Xbox One has always been an ambitious system with a focus on advancements in physical technology, yet one piece was conspicuously absent from the Microsoft Press Conference: The Kinect. The motion control device was originally bundled with the Xbox One, and advertised as a key accessory for gameplay, but public reaction to the device has been less than spectacular. Microsoft has announced that the Kinect will not be bundled with lower priced Xbox One systems anymore. This could mean that Microsoft is shifting its focus away from motion control for the time being.

Unlike Microsoft, Sony showcased both hardware and games. They announced a white version of the PS4, which will be bundled with Destiny, a sci-fi shooter on September 9. This is the first hardware update Sony has announced for the PS4. Other notable mentions include updates on Project Morpheus, a headset for virtual reality gameplay, and Sony’s new streaming box: PlayStation TV. Although neither project has a release date yet, it was announced that Project Morpheus will be available for demo with two games at Sony’s E3 booth, and Playstation TV will have a $99 – $139 price tag upon launch in North America. Survey results showed that only 12% of gamers use their consoles solely for games, meaning that PlayStation TV may be launched to a receptive market.

The future of console gaming is as uncertain as ever, and manufacturers must integrate high quality gaming experiences with new features and hardware. In a survey fielded by qSample, 44% of consumers indicated that, “quality of games”, was the most important factor in buying a new console. Only 16% chose price as the key factor, which suggests that many consumers are willing to pay for a better experience.

In an industry filled with tech-savvy people, it is crucial to listen and respond to the attitude of the consumers. Public opinion shifted dramatically towards the PS4 during the console launch last year, and Microsoft is still fighting to recover its image. When Sony responded to Microsoft’s controversial announcements with conservative messages that catered to the public attitude, they took advantage of those mistakes and won the hearts of many consumers. Since then the company has fought to maintain its position as king of the consoles, and E3 2014 will be no exception.

qSample offers many great services and specialty panels for data collection. One of those panels is Gamers. You can find more information here, or contact qSample at www.qsample.com/contact

Will Office for iPad Make Tablets the Tool for Work?

Last month, Microsoft shook the tablet world by finally launching its Office for iPad apps, and the reverberations may be felt for years to come.

While tablets have become extremely popular, with many users preferring smaller to bulky and more awkward laptops, they have yet to truly find their niche in the business world. Even with bluetooth keyboards, and writing tools like Google Docs and iWork, many businesses refuse to adopt the device as a serious business tool. In the academic arena, many students prefer tablets for note taking and research, but find it awkward to use for papers and presentations. The launch of Microsoft’s Office for iPad apps is designed to change all that.

We conducted a survey with our general consumer panel to gauge their level in the new Microsoft Office for iPad app. The survey was fielded in less than 2 days during the first week of April, with more than 400 respondents sharing their insights on this new product and what it means to them professionally.

Survey results clearly indicate that tablets are still very popular with the general populaltion. Unsurprisingly, Apple was king among those devices with  almost half (40.45%) of our panel indicated they own a version of the iPad, but a mere 26.18% claim their primary uses for those tablets are for work and school. Confirming our suspicions, we found that entertainment rules the tablet world, with a staggering 69.12% of our panel logging on for fun. As always, internet surfing, watching videos, and updating social network pages continue to be a staple of tablet use.

Clearly this isn’t a hardware issue, and many who own Apple devices, such as the iPad, prefer to use the Microsoft Office software. This suggests that the new apps will be very well received by tablet owners, but there is a lot more involved than ease of use. Our survey showed that there was a strong positive reaction to the Office for iPad apps, as 63.02% said that they plan on using the new apps now that they are available, yet 76.56% didn’t feel that the apps were worth the $99 subscription fee. This is likely due to the abundance of less powerful, but free, programs/apps that will allow users to run similar tasks. Price does seem to play an enormous role, as 64.58% of our panel is considering the free Microsoft Office smartphone apps as a serious alternative. This poses the question of whether or not smartphones may find a place as a document editing tool in the business world as well.

The smartphone apps may be free, but lack many important features that are available on the iPad and laptop versions. In addition to features, portability seems to be a factor. Today’s “on-the-go” lifestyle means that document editing on a smartphone may be preferable to carrying a bulky laptop, or even a tablet. On the down side, small screens and lack of features may discourage users from choosing apps like Office for smartphones, even if they’re free. Our panel was also concerned about storage space on their devices. These apps can take up a considerable amount of space on users’ iPads, and 67.71% claimed that this alone would discourage them from downloading the software.

Cloud services have been available for some time, but there is no question that Microsoft has arrived very late to the game. This may be due to the company’s efforts to streamline their products for unconventional devices, or a simple lack of attention to the tablet market. In either case, this is definitely an interesting move for Microsoft. One pitfall of releasing the apps for the iPad is that this may have a negative effect on the sales of non-Apple tablets, including Microsoft’s own Surface. In addition, the Office for iPad apps are significantly better looking and much more streamlined than other versions. This may influence which tablets businesses buy for their employees, and ultimately hurt Microsoft’s Surface sales as well. Apple will receive a percentage of Office 365 subscription fees sold through iTunes, which will also add to the funding of their competition. All of these factors make the late release of the Office for iPad apps a very interesting decision. Only time will tell if Microsoft’s new launch was a brilliant strategy, or too-little-too-late, but in any case, the world is taking a second look at the tablet as a serious business tool.

Microsoft Office for iPad Infographic (3)