Editor’s Note: It has been my honor to know Dr. Larry Friedman for many years now. From our first meeting, what impressed me was that Larry was a no BS kinda guy; he could see clearly what was happening in our industry and what it meant for the future. We bonded over our appreciation for the science and best practices that are the foundation of our industry, while also recognizing the forces of change and disruption and our need to adapt.
He has been a friend, a mentor, and a co-conspirator and today I am thrilled to announce that now he is a colleague!
As GreenBook has grown, it’s become harder for me to give the GreenBook Blog the editorial attention it deserves. To maintain (and even reinforce!) our drive to deliver leading content that charts the future of the insights industry is simply more than one person can handle. We want to curate the blog’s content more deeply and provide more context. We want to work more with our fantastic authors to help sharpen their contributions. And I would like to share more of my own thoughts and analysis. Larry joining me as Co-Editor of the GreenBook Blog makes that possible.
We are largely aligned in our view of the industry and what we need to do to help it be successful. We both value critical and provocative thinking, and of course, his experience dwarfs my own and adds another well-informed perspective to our collective voice.
I’m not going away by any stretch of the imagination and will continue to be very hands-on. Larry and our team will be helping with the daily management and curation to ensure the GreenBook Blog offers even greater quality and impact going forward.
But enough of me. Here is Larry telling you more about himself and why he has decided to join us. Please join me in welcoming him!
By Larry Friedman, Ph.D.
It would be an understatement to say that I am pleased to be joining Lenny and the Greenbook team as Editor for the blog. The blog has played a critical role for some years now in presenting new voices and ideas for pushing market research forward into the future. This is an ongoing task, as these are not easy times for the industry.
For those who don’t know me, let me give a little background:
- I started my business career at the late General Foods Corporation in early 1981, after getting my Ph.D. in Social Psychology from Columbia University. GF was a market research powerhouse in its day, with 270 full-time staff, if you could imagine such a thing. I learned a huge amount there about what quality market research was, and how businesses depend on data and insights. It was a great credential for the rest of my career.
- After that, I went to the supplier side, and worked for a few small NY-based companies with a diverse client base. It was a tough way to make a living, as there was always great pressure to perform under less than ideal circumstances. But again, I learned a lot from some incredibly smart people, especially about strategic research.
- In 1990, I joined a small company in Teaneck, NJ called Ross Cooper Lund. That company grew a lot, and was acquired by NFO in 1998, beginning a whirlwind adventure of mergers and acquisitions – NFO was bought by Interpublic in 2000, sold by Interpublic in 2003 to TNS, which itself was then acquired by WPP in 2008. So, I’ve lived through the transition from small private companies to public companies to mega-holding companies. I could write a book about the good, the bad and the ugly.
- I decided to retire from full-time work in 2015, and have been consulting for friends ever since. For those into the circle of life, I started my GF career a few weeks before my first child was born; I then retired a few weeks before the birth of his first child, my first grandchild. It’s nice to be able to play with him without having a report or proposal in the back of my mind.
I’ve done a lot of things in my career. I’ve sold millions of dollars in research to many industries, ran a $30mm division, developed successful new products, and had global responsibility for major practice areas. My last seven years at TNS were spent as Chief Research Officer for NA, so I did a great deal of internal and external consulting, public speaking, writing, etc.
While I enjoy my more relaxed current lifestyle, my passion for the industry remains, and I think a lot about how it needs to evolve to remain vibrant. I recently wrote a post in this blog about some of my thoughts, so I won’t repeat myself here except to say that the challenges facing market researchers are as much mental as they are technical. The mindsets required to flourish in a world of overwhelming amounts and variety of data are very different from the traditional world of rare data that characterized the first century of market research.
Under Lenny’s stewardship, this blog has been a home to those individuals and companies leading the charge into this new world. It is only right that it continues to do so.
So, bring us your ideas, thoughts, concerns, and “what ifs”. Controversy is good, as it stimulates people to think their best. I’d like the blog to be more of a dialogue and a debate. To that end, I will be commenting on more of the articles, and it would be great to see more debating in the comments section. I also want to encourage a great diversity of writers with different perspectives – not just old men like me, but younger researchers who haven’t published before, data scientists, anthropologists, the angel investors funding companies disrupting our space, and on and on.
The Greenbook Blog has been a go-to read about the cutting edge of our business. I look forward to helping it be even more so in its next phase.