Early in the 1990s, SurveyUSA disrupted the opinion-research landscape by demonstrating that surveys did not need to take weeks to complete and did not need to cost a fortune. Before then, research was so expensive and took so long that few could afford it, and even those that could commissioned 2 or at most 4 surveys a year. Because surveys launched so infrequently, everyone in the organization worried that if they didn’t throw in their 5 or 6 “must-have” questions, it might be 6 months till they got another chance. The result was a bloated questionnaire that took a respondent 40 minutes to wade through and took data analysts a month to parse.

SurveyUSA dismantled every one of these paradigms: our analysis of the opinion research landscape showed that a nimble outfit could carve a niche. Simplified questionnaires could be written and launched same-day. Technology could reduce the time needed for interviewing from weeks to days. Analyses could be written in an afternoon, because there was not 746 pages of 11 x 17 line-printer data to wade through. Best of all, no sooner had you received your results, you had learning, and armed with that learning, you could repeat the cycle.  Research became iterative. And we’re talking about 1993.

Today, 25 years later, some of our competitors are newly discovering the advantages of being fleet afoot. They have seized upon the term “agile” to describe their approach.

But ocean liners cannot be turned into ski boats. A retrofit is not possible. Only water craft purpose built to twist and maneuver in a blink can do so. Choose America’s Neighborhood Pollster when time is of the essence.