“If only this was easier”

Last week, we talked about the 3 pillars of world class research. It evidently hit a nerve.

2 of the 3 pillars seem to be less a headache:

  • “Fundamentals” or “Big R” research efforts are regular and table stake (even if slow, tricky, and resource intensive)

  • “Incidentals” or “little r” efforts are also decently common (even if sometimes a bit more aspirational and requiring extra hours or shifts in priorities)

But “Recurring” research? 

Those always-on pulse checks that keep you in the know on competitors, category dynamics, consumer trends, and all the “unknown unknowns” in between the more formal research projects? 

That’s evidently a pipe dream for most. 

“Is there actually an easy, efficient way to do that well?”

“To be able to be knowledgeable on things as they occur as opposed to on a quarterly basis? I would love to have this… if it was easier.”

“It’s really hard to grasp right now – I’m just thinking of all the work that goes into actually getting that done

“We’re always trying to update and understand what's happening now, because it changes so much.”

If most of us aren’t doing it, does that mean it’s actually not essential…? Or that we’re all just resigning ourselves to an invisible ceiling capping our smarts and strategic insights?

Considering the below, you tell me: does this type of insight feel non-essential, or extremely powerful?

If this type of research has SO much potential to transform our careers (let alone our companies), why have we given up so easily? 

In part because “staying smart” means a lot of things, and it spans a lot of topics and hard-to-mine sources:

No matter your Google Trends, RSS feed, or newsletter signup savviness, it’s extremely hard to set up and maintain a motion that checks all of these boxes (let alone actually monitor and consume what’s being surfaced for you):

And yet?

Throughout our research, client calls, and industry conversations, it’s clear: this is our industry’s kryptonite. 

We’re scrolling X and LinkedIn feeds, scanning headlines in the countless tangentially-relevant newsletters hitting our inboxes, or – perhaps worst of all – waiting until the powers that be ask us about “this new player” or “what that trend could mean for us.”

But if smart strategy and impactful innovation are about staying relevant (if not ahead of the curve), isn’t it time we stop relying exclusively on reactive requests and tentpole projects?

We’ve always been bullish on collecting the dots so you can connect them. That goes as much for smaller “little r” requests and mission-critical “Big R” projects as for everything in between – these always-on scans of what you need to know to stay in the know.

If this is something you’ve struggled with doing well, would you be willing to share what’s on your wishlist to monitor more consistently? Reply to this email or grab some time with me here.

And to learn more about how we're helping leading Fortune 500s and FAANGs crack the code on extremely personalized, high-impact recurring research roundups, grab time with us here.


P.S. Cracking hard-to-execute research like this through the best of humans and AI is the future of research. We’re hosting an event unpacking that new frontier as part of Andreessen Horowitz’s NY Tech Week in June – join us live, or register to get the recording!