Washing machine gives rise to Watching Machine

Back in the late noughties (2000s), John (Hoctor) and I (Alistair Vince) went to FT Innovate in London and saw the then VP of Leadership & Strategic Competency Creation at Whirlpool, Dr Nancy Snyder, speak.

Nancy talked about how she took her entire Board out to people's homes to watch them fill washing machines. How they noticed people bending down to fill these machines, and when they arose, making little grunting noises of effort. That insight led to Whirlpool developing a washing machine that was on a plinth so people didn't have to bend down.

John and I were stunned. We'd been selling data for years (at Mintel) and now saw the power of observational research. The authenticity of it.

We knew that there were hundreds of enlightened companies out there wanting to get closer to the consumer, but most brand managers didn’t have the time to get out from behind their desks, let alone get their Boards to go with them.

We made a decision. If we could use these new smartphone technologies to bring consumers to the client, they’d understand customers better and communicate insight more powerfully. And we'd have a company.

Alistair Vince's Signature Alistair Vince, 2018
The 2 Top Guns

Why Think at all?

Market research can be dull, difficult to understand and - dare we say it - boring.

Many don't use it. The right people don't engage with it. And it is fast losing its seat in the boardroom.

Yet it doesn’t have to be difficult and it doesn’t have to be dull.

It doesn’t need to bust budgets and it doesn’t need to take forever to deliver.

Our mantra is to compel. To excite. To discover and distill.

Chief Brain for EMEA actually hard at work.

The Watchers

Some of the magnificent folks you may soon be talking to:

From the Book of Think

Extracts from WMT’s Culture & Principles: some of it humbly plagiarized from people way more talented than us.

The Book of Think

“We are doing this to have fun.”

“We refuse to work with as*&$es.”

“We’d rather be failing frequently than never trying new things.”

“Job titles don’t win debates.”

“Attributes that we admire in people: humble, effective, adaptable, remarkable, transparent.”

From the Umpa Lumpas of all Sizes

“Nobody would work this hard for a company they didn't truly believe in, so something's being done right. Either that or it's not real coffee.”

Jack Galillee
Our first ever boardroom. Commonly heard:
“Agreed?” “Agreed.” “Pint then?”

"Working for Watch Me Think is lovely - and I don't mean "lovely" in the way my British colleagues use it, when they actually think something is crap, but tell you it's lovely. It really is *lovely*. It's so great to work for a company that really means it when they say they care about their people immensely. I truly don't think I could find another that values my contribution, and in turn offers me the flexibility I need as a working mom. A lot of them love to say this, but I've seen it in action here so many times, and I'm so grateful to work for such a smart, innovative, caring group of people. Even if they have an irrational tendency to shorten everyone's names."

Me Grussenmeyer
A sample meeting (when the sun eventually shines in the UK).

“Maybe it’s down to the team all genuinely enjoying one another’s company. Or perhaps it’s wearing UGG boots when it’s cold (I know, I know, it’s no longer 2009) and not being judged for it. And it could, just as easily, be due to the office beer subscription. Whatever it is, it means that I don’t dread Monday mornings. And it’s flipping glorious.”

Fran Benoist
Away at Watch Me Play near San Diego, 2016.

Pulled plug

Crumbs! We lost touch for a moment.