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Interview With
Dave Carruthers

CEO/ VOXPOPME

Industry: Technology
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Interviewee Fun Facts

  • Foods you miss from back in the UK?

    My hometown of Birmingham has amazing Indian food. I also miss fish and chips. Those were two staples for me.

  • Favorite place to travel?

    New York City. It’s one of the greatest cities in the world.

  • Favorite Football Team?

    I’m a big fan of the New England Patriots. I’ve been to a Patriots game every year for the past five or six years.

  • Messi or Ronaldo?

    Messi.

  • Beer or Scotch?

    Scotch. I’m a huge scotch and bourbon collector. I have about 90 bottles in my collection.

  • Favorite Genre of Music?

    I would say rock. I like Black Sabbath, Guns and Roses, and some Foo Fighters. I listen to a lot of 80s’ rock.

  • Favorite style of fighting?

    My favorite fighter is Conor McGregor, so I would have to say strike.

  • Book Recommendations?

    From Impossible to Inevitable by Jason Lemkin and Aaron Ross, The Lean Startup by Eric Reese, and The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz.

    Dave is no stranger to entrepreneurship. In 2008, he founded One Result, a digital agency focused on web/mobile development and digital marketing. Dave also founded StaySafe in 2011, a SaaS platform and app for protecting people who work, play or travel alone. These experiences in high-growth tech startups helped Dave build the skills he needed to grow Voxpopme to where it is today. In addition to his role as a CEO, Dave enjoys spending time with his wife and three daughters and staying active through snowboarding, MMA, and mountain biking.

Recent Posts

About Dave:

About Dave: Originally from Bringham, CEO of Voxpopme, Dave Carruthers has transformed the way businesses think about consumer insights, bringing video analytics to the forefront of the market research industry. Since its inception in 2013, Voxpopme has helped clients from all industries capture and analyze video insights to create great brands, products, and experiences. Dave’s perseverance and innovation have allowed Voxpopme to grow across the pond from the U.K. to the United States.

Currently, Voxpopme’s team spans across the world, consisting of 68 employees that share Dave’s vision for video to become the dominant medium for collecting and sharing consumer feedback. Voxpopme’s hard work and dedication have landed the company on GRIT’s 2016 Top 50 Most Innovative list at #43, while also receiving the Accenture Consumer Innovation Award the same year. In addition to his role as a CEO, Dave is a Board Director for the Insights Association and an Advisory Board Director for the MSMR Program at Michigan State University.

In this edition of Executive Insights, Rudly Raphael sits down with Dave to discuss the evolution of the market research industry and his tips for becoming a successful entrepreneur.

How have you adapted to COVID?

Dave Carruthers:

This has not been the year that anybody planned for. We all came into 2020 with high hopes and high ambitions. I think the team has done very well coping with it. The transition for many of us in the industry to remote work has been much easier than others. Overall, I’ve been really pleased and surprised by how people have adapted. When everything shut down in March, you saw a lot of uncertainty. People didn’t want to conduct research at that time; they had bigger things to worry about. We weren’t really sure what was happening.The reaction from the majority of people on the client-side and from their peers was to stop everything. That was a nerve-wracking time for us as a business, as I’m sure it was for many other people. Nobody knew how long it would last. Q2 was really difficult, but come the middle of June, through the summer, people realized that this wasn’t going away anytime soon. With so much changing in the world, it’s been an incredible time to understand what people were going through and how brands need to react and adapt to make sure new consumer needs are met.

What do you miss most about working pre-pandemic?

Dave Carruthers:

Market research as an industry is relatively small. You go to conferences, and everybody knows each other. Some really close friends work at other research tech firms, and I miss working hard and playing hard with those guys and girls on the conference circuit. I miss the human connection of spending time with good people. I got a lot of energy from surrounding myself with people like that. So that’s been tough to replace that energy source working remotely.

Considering COVID’s effects on different industries, do you think Voxpopme has an advantage given the product that you’re selling?

Dave Carruthers:

We were already seeing businesses replacing more traditional in-person and qualitative research, and the pandemic just accelerated that transition. Across the board, we have seen this digital transformation. The market research industry has not always been the fastest to adopt certain technologies. What we’ve seen is out of necessity. People are switching to different vendors and are experiencing some tools that they were dabbling in before. Now they’ve realized that they can do things with less budget in quicker turnaround time and still maintain that high-quality. I think for many, they won’t be going back to some of the more traditional routes.

What has been the winning formula to get Voxpopme where it is today?

Dave Carruthers:

Overwhelmed is the right word because you’ve got great YouTube channels, email newsletters, podcasts, LinkedIn, Twitter, this constant source of information. I would say my content is probably 10% to 20% research content. The other 80% is actually about tech SaaS company growth because, in my role, it’s about how we can grow faster and continue to build our team. I’m always looking to put the content I’m consuming into action.Sometimes, you’ve got to stop just listening to crap and actually start putting things in motion. I always see people on social media who are posting about reading 60 books this year. That’s great, but what did you actually implement? People feel like they’re busy because they can consume a lot of information, but when you ask them what they’ve done for their business in the last 90 days, it’s very little. At that point, you’re just reading for the sake of reading.

Where does Voxpopme stand in the industry?

Dave Carruthers:

Today, we spend a lot of time focused on our customers. The majority are large, household names. That’s where the majority of our revenue comes from at this point. What we’ve seen over the last three to five years is the democratization of insights. More and more people want to get insights data. We’ve noticed that trend in quantitative for some time with a number of teams, whether it’s Zappy, Survey Monkey, or Qualtrics. Those tools are permeating far past just the enterprise’s insights team. Its product owners, product managers, and marketing people. At the moment, there’s a lot of tools that deal with the survey side of things, but very few tools that democratize qualitative research. That’s a big focus for us over the next two years. We want to make video surveys something that really anybody can deploy.

How do you define success?

Dave Carruthers:

Today, we spend a lot of time focused on our customers. The majority are large, household names. That’s where the majority of our revenue comes from at this point. What we’ve seen over the last three to five years is the democratization of insights. More and more people want to get insights data. We’ve noticed that trend in quantitative for some time with a number of teams, whether it’s Zappy, Survey Monkey, or Qualtrics. Those tools are permeating far past just the enterprise’s insights team. Its product owners, product managers, and marketing people. At the moment, there’s a lot of tools that deal with the survey side of things, but very few tools that democratize qualitative research. That’s a big focus for us over the next two years. We want to make video surveys something that really anybody can deploy.

As our interview concludes with Dave, we take away the importance of being resilient and working hard to become the best version of ourselves. By creating a culture focused on teamwork and authenticity as well as going against the grain with confidence, any organization can find their voice amongst the crowd.

If you enjoyed this interview and want to know more, please share this article on social media. We love to hear from you! Stay tuned for the next edition of Executive Insights!

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