Passion + Focus

Do you have what it takes to work less?

There’s a great story that almost sounds like a fable: a man decides to work less and his life improves. The End. While we’re left with more questions than answers, the tall tale continues through time, giving working people everywhere just an ounce of hope that someday work life will be better.

Well, fable this. There’s a real man named Josh Epperson who succeeded at what seems impossible: he worked fewer hours, his productivity increased, and his happiness soared. WTH? It’s a story worth reading in the Atlantic.

Are you willing to give Epperson’s experiment a try? Tell us all about it, please – inquiring minds!

To Gift or Regift

That is the question.

Regardless whether you’re on the appalled or clever end of the spectrum, re-gifting is here to stay. Let’s forget about re-gifts you may have received, and focus on gifts you do receive and care to pass on. Here are some solid suggestions to follow:

  1. Re-gift a gift that’s appropriate for the recipient. A tennis racket to someone who doesn’t play tennis does not scream “you should try a new sport,” but rather says “I got this racket and now it’s yours.”
  2. Re-gift the item to someone in a completely separate circle of friends and family. Think about it.
  3. Re-gift new items only. If you have to search your closet for something to give someone, I assure you, they’d rather not have anything. Not everyone expects a gift, especially the older we get. That said, used gifts can be appropriate if they are family heirlooms and come with history and a good story. A broken display plate is never a good story unless your uncle used it as a shield in the Revolutionary War.
  4. Care. Sounds easy enough, but the physical gift is rarely what people remember. What people want to know is that they are loved, and that your thoughtfulness and kindness behind the gesture can be felt that way. So regardless the gift, take the time to write a sincere card with only positive statements. The latter can be tough, so practice it. It’s important. Nothing negative.

While there are other tips to consider, these 4 should keep you off the gossip list as a dreaded Re-Gifter.

However, let it be known that there is another viable strategy: to be renowned as The Re-Gifter. Do it. Own it. Keep that strategy going like a hot potato and you might be crowned King Re-Gifter, a title one can be proud of.

However you approach it, I say go full re-gift and simply be honest and consistent. Don’t be surprised, though, if the gifts stop coming. This can be both a blessing and a curse. Consider it a blessing, less toil on the the re-gifting.

Carry on, good humans!

Keeping the Peace

From interviews to family table conversations, here are some ways to keep the calm and carry on

Indeed has put together a nice list, much of which involves listening and focusing on the person(s) with whom you’re speaking. People loooove to talk about themselves, so this is a nice parlor trick if you haven’t already figured it out. An abundance of conversation starters from Readers Digest here claim to make you more interesting.

If you’re like me, you remember names the way others remember license plates, so I repeat the person’s name over and over to myself after being introduced, hopefully silently. This doesn’t always work. What do you do?

Asking people questions about themselves, particularly ones that require an explanation or at least something beyond a simple yes or no response is a guaranteed winner. By getting them to talk more, you have more info to mine when asking follow-ups.

Listening was clearly dropped from the American academic curriculum, so a reminder to STFU while also paying attention to their answer.

My personal tip when in a group network? Ask and learn about one, maybe two, people at a time. More than that and you missed your calling as a game show host.

More tips provided by Indeed seem obvious, but you’d be amazed how many people don’t put them into their own practice. Basic advice like:

  • Introduce yourself (people appreciate not having to ask)
  • Say something about yourself (ideally a shared experience)
  • Ask for (or offer to) help

The latter surprised me at first, but makes sense when you realize that people like to be able to help (and appear to help) as much as they love talking about themselves. Get them talking about themselves and how they’ve helped, sit back with the cocktail nuts. Humans are fascinating.

Here’s to smooth sailing on your next opening sentence!

November 2023

… More

The Power of Empathy

And yep, it can be learned.

It has become pretty clear to me these past few years that as humans, we have an epic amount of room for improvement. With an uncertain future lying ahead of all of us, what should we do? What can we do?

Knowing What Matters

Well, the University of Maryland is not only acknowledging the current challenges, but guiding students in the direction to help humanity. It’s not about how many Pottery Barn candle holders you have, or even what kind of car you drive. Today? Today, what matters is so much more than what fits in your cart. Natural disasters, global conflicts, a human pandemic – the last few years have been a coffee grinder experience that is impacting human behavior.

Mind the Gap

Remember Maslow’s need hierarchy? If you have a foundation of security, safety, love, and support, etc, your path forward leads to the supposed nirvana of self actualization. The stinger of his theory is that it’s linear and 2-dimensional. We’re not rulers. His thoughts on human development and behavior may be right, but he neglected to include the sub-foundation of opportunity, resources, and education required to even get on this tour.

Change the World, Really?

So when the University of Maryland (UMD) decided to double down on its mission to change the world with the addition of a broader Do Good mission, I was intrigued by their unique over-arching approach. I see UMD students, faculty and staff who are passionate, inspired, motivated, jazzed. Who are these people?

With forward thinking and problem solving leadership, UMD is leaning in for humanity and humanity is responding. Love breeds love. I could not be more proud of the collective force at UMD who are determined to help students be better humans. We all know it takes a village of unsung heroes, with a thoughtful leader like this guy.

Joy Found

There’s joy in learning about students like Marie, who started simply by opening her eyes and giving a shit. Read for yourself what else UMD students are bravely doing! May it give you a shred of hope for our collective future together. Here’s to more joy!

Yam or Sweet Potato?!

Answer: Not the same

Sweet potatoes are prevalent in the Americas and come in a number of varieties of substance and sweetness. These are typically the orange colored ones, though you might see them in purple and other colors.

Yams, on the side of the tubular continuum, are common in Africa and are more fibrous and whiter on the inside than a sweet potato. In fact, you likely have never seen a Yam.

Bonus Tip: Best Scalloped Sweet Potato Dish: 3 easy ingredients. You got this.

Research Project: Living Organ Donations

Imagine if you had to find blood before you could have a surgery. What would you do? Where would you start? This is the situation if you need a kidney. Or a Liver. Or some other spare human part.

InsideHeads is researching this topic and welcoming feedback on ways to normalize living organ donations in society, as well as improve the experience for both donors and recipients.

To begin, we have an initial list of ways to improve the donor experience and need feedback. Would you be so kind to please take a quick moment to read through and comment on what goes through your mind?

Any surprises? Any you would champion? Any you disagree with? What might you change or add? All feedback is much needed and greatly appreciated, as we begin our initial fact finding mission to design a comprehensive, long term, and effective research study. Thank you!

15 Suggested Improvements to Improve the Living Organ Donor Experience

1) Healthcare team member bios and genuine introductions to the donor candidate

2) Clear understanding of the donor advocate/social worker position and the donor patient’s rights

3) Who sees what when regarding confidential donor patient data

4) Access to, and explanation of, donor patient test results

5) Secure private messaging with the donor healthcare team

6) Clear explanation of what will happen to the donor patient (and their body) from pre to post op

7) Notification, transparency and consent for invasive supplemental procedures the hospital considers standard

8) Who will be allowed in the OR and why, and how privacy during the operation will be maintained

9) Steps taken to ensure donor patient privacy and dignity, and how those are guaranteed

10) The opportunity to make reasonable requests for increased privacy, and how those requests will be ensured

11) Telehealth zoom meetings with healthcare team that are guaranteed secure and private

12) How all communication with the healthcare team complies fully with HIPAA

13) Visitor ID checks and appointment verification upon entrance to the hospital.

14) Donor patient escort out of the hospital and helped into a ride when released after surgery

15) An official operative report where the original record is accurate, complete, and transparent to the donor patient post surgery

If you are interested in participating in the data collection (help with distribution of surveys and recruiting for focus groups), please call! The non-profit we work for is looking to build a research army across the country to gather much needed data on consumer thoughts and behavior. We need you!

Quant or Qual

How to choose the best method for your research study

Quantitative and qualitative research are both scientific methods for data collection and analysis. They can be applied alone, or in combination, to maximize insights.

The Basic Difference: Going Beyond What vs. Why


Quantitative research relies on large sample sizes to collect numerical data that can be mathematically analyzed for statistically significantfindings. Surveys are structured, questions are typically closed-ended, and answer choices are fixed. However, quantitative research may also include a limited number of short-answer open-ended questions to help clarify why people responded the way they did to a closed-ended question. Eye tracking, facial coding, and even Big Data fall under the umbrella of quantitative research, with computers analyzing enormous volumes of data incredibly fast.

Quantitative studies produce numerical data, which allows for statistical analysis and ultimately precise findings. The US Census is a great example of a quantitative research study – fixed and close-ended questions, an enormous sample size, a collective review of many respondents, and measured population segments.


In contrast, qualitative research seeks to understand the reasons behind the numbers, as well as what is not yet known. Sample sizes are smaller, questions are unstructured, and results more subjective. Unlike quantitative research, qualitative studies insert the researcher into the data collection process. The researcher probes responses and participants provide more detail. Qualitative data is collected through interviews, group discussions, diaries, personal observations, and a variety of other creative and ever-expanding means.

Qual studies work with textual and visual data, interpreted and analyzed for directional findings. Qualitative research studies include fluid and open-ended questions, a smaller sample size, an in-depth review of each respondent, and emerging themes.

Visual representation of how quantitative + qualitative data differs

A quant study collects specific data from a large number of people, and a qual study goes deeper to collect greater insights from a small number of people.

How to Choose

The answer to whether you proceed with quantitative or qualitative research lies in your research objective and available resources.

  • Why you’re doing the research
  • What you need to know
  • Your budget, staff, + schedule
  • How the findings will be used

Consider these possible scenarios the next time you’re stuck and don’t know which way to go:

Quant + qual can come together in other ways. A questionnaire with open-ended questions, while ultimately coded numerically, can offer a window into the unknown. Focus groups that also include poll questions or surveys can produce hard data when analyzed in total, even if the results are not statistically significant.

With good planning, quantitative and qualitative research come together like a dance, guiding the marketer’s success with every step.

I Say Hybrid, You Say Multi-Method

Combining quantitative and qualitative research approaches is an ancient strategy, but the names continue to change with the times. I did a bit of research and found the following terms being used to describe that ideal combination of quantitative and qualitative research. What term do you use? And why? 😉

Why are Some Marketing Research Studies Doomed to Fail?

Regardless how you intend to get your data, the first few steps to achieving success are often brushed over or pushed aside on the way to the finish line. Before identifying the best means of engagement, it’s critical to clearly define both the research objective and the target audience.

  • Where you’re going and why
  • Who you need to interview and why.

Like a beacon of light, a well considered objective propels a project purposely forward to the finish line. Without it, findings flail and resulting recommendations are at risk.

Knowing who to interview to achieve the objective must also be clearly defined. Recruiting appropriate participants starts with a client conversation to identify  demographic, lifestyle, and behavioral attributes of prospective participants. Well designed, unbiased screening questionnaires and extensive identity verification procedures ensure accurate and effective recruiting.

Despite the simplicity of this secret sauce, InsideHeads surveyed research buyers on LinkedIn and discovered “actionable insights” to be “most desired”, yet also “rarely achieved”.

InsideHeads clients always receive pointed recommendations. Born from a deep understanding of both data collection and strategic direction, InsideHeads delivers intelligent insights that will move your unique initiatives forward.

Which Online Qual Research Method Has the Lowest CPI?

Calculating cost-per-interview (CPI) of different qualitative research methods can be an eye-opening exercise. Excluding recruiting and incentives, which vary, we can estimate typical costs of different methods.

CPI estimates below assume:

  • 4 focus groups
  • focus facility & support
  • project management
  • moderator fees (guide design, interviews, & analysis)

In-Person Groups – Face to Face in Real Time

6-8 Participants for 2 hours

Average CPI $650

Multi-Media Bulletin Board Over Time

15-20 Participants for 3-5 days

Average CPI $353

Text Chat in Real Time

15-20 Participants for up to 2 hours

Average CPI $191

Webcam (Video Chat) in Real Time

3-5 Participants for up to 2 hours

Average CPI $988

Contact InsideHeads for a free estimate on your next online marketing research study. Call +1-877-In-Heads or email