Meet Leader Rob Granader |


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The business of providing business intelligence is changing by the second.  The rise of Internet research tools during the past decade has made it seemingly "easier" for companies and individuals to learn arcane details about nearly every aspect of life, including industries across the globe.

Yet for Rob Granader, CEO of and Profound, emerging challenges usually are accompanied by opportunities: Staying focused on providing high-quality market intelligence on a wide range of industries is Rob's top priority.

We asked Rob to share more about his work, his life, and his outlook on the business intelligence landscape.  In upcoming posts, we will drill down on each theme in order to give deeper insight on the uses of market research and on the information industry in general.

Q: When and why did you found

A: We launched the company in 1998, and the website in January 2001.  At first we were a publisher of market research reports and found it very difficult to sell with such a small supply of reports.  Trying to find the person who wants that one report at that specific time was tough.  It was much easier to sell a report when we had a supply of thousands.  More to sell, more options, more buyers.

Q: How is different from other business intelligence companies?

A: The approach we took from the start was based on the early research we did on the field.  The biggest complaint we heard was from buyers who said they spent a lot of money on a report and the information within the report didn’t answer their question. 

Our goal has been to get the user as close to the data as possible before buying it, so they only buy the information that helps them answer their biggest business questions.  We have done this by housing the reports, and research specialists [who can]  look inside the reports, search inside the report,  and [within] Profound [Ed: Profound is a London-based premium-services division of that allows clients to purchase reports by the section.]

Q: How has the business intelligence field changed in recent years?

A: More competition on both the report and aggregation side, using cheap labor and sometimes unscrupulous tactics from emerging markets.

Q: How have clients’ expectations changed over the years?

A: The specificity of the data.  They don’t want broad overviews, they want specifics on a small market.  They have less time so they need us to show where a market is going, not just the numbers.  Budgets are tighter, approval levels are lower.

Q: How do you view the future of this field?

A: Not sure I want to give too much away here. It's about the users. We see a future where market research users have less time, more work, and they need a partner like us more.

Q: How did you make that first step on the "career ladder?” 

A: I was journalist, an English Literature major and knew nothing about business.  I have never taken an economics or finance class.  Eleventh grade was my last math class.  But I hired a consultant and we went around the East Coast looking for a business to buy.

Q:What have been your proudest accomplishments at MRDC?

A: In 2003 when the flywheel really started to spin. In 2005 when we bought Mindbranch and beat back our first Google Algorithm change; in 2007 when we bought Profound; every off-site, company outing... in 2009 when we faced the harsh facts about the economy and right-sized; every time I hear from a former employee, and every time I see an employee do something that shows how much they care about the company.

Now we’d like to know a bit more about you as a person!

Q: What is your hometown?

A: Detroit, Michigan.

Q: How many siblings do you have and where do you stack up among them (youngest, middle, or oldest child?)

A: I have one older brother, he owns and runs a Yoga studio, Namaste.

Q: What did your Mom and Dad do for work?

A: Dad was a pharmacist, mother in philanthropy.

Q: What college(s) did you attend and what was your major?

A: University of Michigan, a BA in English; George Washington University, a JD.

Q: What do you do in your spare time?

A: In my spare time I write. I collect old books. I work out, play tennis.

Q: What is your favorite city to visit? (domestic or international).



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