If you’ve listened to our podcast, read our articles, or even spoken to us in person, you’ve probably heard us mention “our research.” Many of you have asked, “What does that research look like?” and “When will you be done?” So, I thought I’d go over our research process at a high level to help our readers understand what we’re doing.
I want to start by saying, building this company is difficult. We live in an age of commerce and the bottom line. It’s difficult to invest in pure research. We haven’t received any grants, and we don’t get external funding of any kind. This company is completely bootstrapped and supporter funded. This means that, along with our research, we need to find ways of generating revenue with our research. But, this is the whole point of Movers & Makers: bringing Movers–someone interested in making money–together with Makers–the kinds of people that love raw research.
We love it. We’re not complaining. But, we hope you understand that the mix of these two goals: generating revenue and conducting research, slows down the overall process.
Why Don’t we Look for Funding?
There are a handful of ways of getting funding for research like this, but none of them quite work the way we want. Plus, we trying to prove something here, no matter how hard it is for us. Our goal is to show the world how Movers & Makers can join together to Make Amazing Things and enjoy financial rewards. Going after research funding, in a way, works against this goal. We’re considering using a tool like Patreon to help us bootstrap, but we’re not totally sold on that idea either. If you have ideas here, we’d love to hear from you.
The research process began many years ago with simple observations. Michael, our current lead researcher, began to notice a pattern in how people behaved in the workplace. These observations prompted him to form a hypothesis and begin studying and researching this hypothesis. The initial research was mostly reading and finding existing research. Michael believed that he’d find the most value in the fields of sociology, psychology, and personality testing. And, while those fields did indeed yield fruit, he was surprised to find a lot of value coming from the burgeoning “entrepreneur” movements and the “maker movements.” This surprised helped Michael augment his hypothesis and the notion of two groups of people emerged: Movers and Makers.
Relying on his experience as an interaction designer/user experience designer, Michael began conducting ethnographic studies of people he pre-judged as either Mover or Maker, based on his hypothesis. This is called ethnography or ethnographic research, which is just a fancy way of saying, “Michael observed the subjects in their natural habitat.”
Most assumptions proved correct, some proved incorrect. The hypothesis was adjusted and more research was conducted. All of this took place over the course of years as time permitted. And, ethnography is still conducted to this very day as a way of continuing validation of the hypothesis. The hypothesis, at this point, comes to this:
Makers are compelled, driven, and even agitated into making things. Everyone else just either makes things occasionally, or as needed, or doesn’t make things at all.
A few years ago, Michael began interviewing people explicitly for the fact of determining “What makes Makers tick?” and “Why aren’t more people like Makers?” The interviews began to tease out personality traits, values, temperament, aptitude, creative thinking, problem-solving, and even a bit of morality and ethics.
Essentially, there are true makers, casual/occasional makers, and non-makers. The hypothesis was refined into true makers falling into the “Maker” category and everyone else in the Mover category with the casual/occasional maker being labelled as “Mover-Maker.” The reason for this delineation may seem arbitrary, but it isn’t. True Makers know that they are very different from the rest of the world and the Mover-makers and Movers really don’t understand, or even fully grasp what true Makers are like. The Makers are odd, different, difficult, and exceptional… and grossly misunderstood. Everyone else has a social connective glue that gives them the feeling of “normal.”
Granted, this has caused some problems in our research as we discover that many mover-makers feel put off by our delineation of mover and maker because these fine folks do make things, and Amazing Things at that. But, the reason for the delineation is because mover-makers, when pressed, would easily give up making things for the sake of other priorities and relationships. True makers would find the decision difficult to give up making if they made that decision at all.
Part of our ongoing research is to discover and determine exactly how to handle the mover-makers and how they interact with the world. The population of mover-makers is large and cannot be ignored and perhaps the hypothesis needs to be adjusted.
This is why research continues and why it is slow.
Part of our efforts to triangulate our data is to use surveys to “poke holes” in our findings and strengthen our hypothesis. What we think we understand about human beings needs to be continually validated and adjusted to maintain an accurate understanding of Movers, Makers and the newly identified Mover-Maker segment of people. We are constantly sending out surveys to help us identify trends and patterns among different personality types, temperaments, and aptitudes.
Double-blind Psychology Research
As we “harden” our hypothesis and find ways for Movers and Makers to find lucrative and enjoyable paths to success, we hope to–we aim to–conduct real quantitative Psychology research. At this point in time, though, the hypothesis needs more refinement and revenue needs to be strong enough to support this level of research.
However, despite having not yet conducted quantitative research, we still have learned a great deal about Movers and Makers to the point that we’ve successfully coached several entrepreneurs and small businesses into navigating the waters of Making Amazing Things and making money. We’ve learned a great deal about what stresses makers endure, how their temperaments are most effective in business, and many of the ways that we, as a society, ought to change our thinking.
There are lots of lessons to learn from and alternative/lateral thinking ideas to take any ordinary business and make it extraordinary.
If you’d like to participate in our ongoing ethnographic studies, interviews, or surveys, please sign up for our newsletter to be the first to know when these opportunities come up.
If you like what we’re doing and want to support us financially, please contact us.
So, what do you think? Do you have opinions on, or questions about our research? Let us know in the comments.