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Podcast Episode 3 | Ben Zeidler of Nonfiction Research, Uncensored
Ben Zeidler is Co-Founder of Nonfiction Research, a company on a mission to understand the informal, unfiltered lives of customers. Before co-founding Nonfiction, Ben was Global Head of Consumer Packaged Goods Research at L2 Inc., where he worked directly with the world’s largest consumer brands, including Procter & Gamble, Unilever, and Nestlé. Prior to L2, he established Tenthwave’s research and analytics practice, which he grew in revenue annually. Ben is on the advisory board at Harvard Business Review and is routinely quoted and featured in industry news. He is a graduate of Georgetown University.
We learn the origin story of Nonfiction, how Ben's mighty partnership with Co-Founder Gunny Scarfo works, and the indelible influence of Ben's upbringing on his life.
Photo by @kay_lynnea.
And we remind ourselves of the importance of thinking by doing.
Links to the podcast episode:
A few takeaways:
Nonfiction’s internal litmus test for questions worth researching consists of three criteria.
There needs to be an interesting gap between public and private lives.
It must be plausible that a journalist would write about the topic. The topic does not need broad media appeal but cannot be so niche that nobody would write about it.
The team member at Nonfiction who is responsible for the study loves the topic.
Ben remarks that low-quality work from someone can be an indicator that the person has underutilized potential that can be redirected. People have greatness within even when their current work is mediocre, and we can help people personally define and create a resonant and motivating space in which to excel and be helpful to the world.
Ben shares that a lunch break is better for him when instead of walking out from his New York office to grab lunch, he gets to swim in a pool with his children for an hour, as when he and his wife worked remotely for six weeks from the Keys before COVID-19. Nonfiction empowers all of its employees to exercise the same freedom. Ben understands that work has to be in service of our lives, our family, and our personal development.
A request to y’all:
Do you know anybody who works at Dell with whom you can put us in touch? Or anybody who can help us make Ben’s offer happen? When he was a child, his parents scraped together for a Dell computer that changed his life. He said in the episode that he will match if Dell donates a computer to a school in need.