When people think and read about start-ups, the "wearing of multiple hats" cliche inevitably emerges. Many suspect it’s secret code for "overworked."  I can't speak for other startups but at dscout, my hat collection is a very voluntary fashion choice.

 Leigh and Matt at dscout

At dscout, wearing more hats isn't equated to more work, just different work. For example, one researcher has a passion for editing film. Now slicing and splicing our participant videos has become a part of his dscout MO. For me, writing was a hat I sought to try on. So, boom! Here I am, contributing to the dscout blog, during normal working hours. Once I declared which hat I found appealing, the company helped me make my other hats a little smaller, so they could all fit atop my noggin.

I was inspired to write this article because I have a lot of friends in startups, and I’m learning that a dscout career is more unique than I realized when I arrived three years ago. Three years, at a startup, you say? It’s true. And I’m not alone in my tenure here.

client success team at dscout

In our open office, you’ll find hyper-curious people who love continuous learning. Curious what “healthy” really means? Wonder how B2B advertising works? Want to know what really matters to people on their pet’s food package? The desire and ability to follow any subject down its path is part of the appeal for many of us.

Of course, I hadn’t ever really aimed to learn about any of those things. Now, I have. But I have a genuine curiosity to learn about pretty much any and everything. And it’s rarely a disappointing experience. When dscout ran a project about how businesses interact on social media platforms, I learned more about these worlds than i probably would otherwise. When will I use it? Who knows, but I bet I will sometime. And it doesn’t really matter to me if I don’t.

Like most people, I occasionally explore my career options. But my coworkers’ collective passion -- both for the company and for each other -- still has me hooked. Newbies quickly notice that everyone who works here seems to want to work here. We enjoy it, because we’re excited about what our technology can do, about the research, and each other.

Julie and Fran at dscout

I’ve spent many an evening in our Clark Street offices with my fellow researchers, but rarely in frustration. With these sometimes long evenings came great conversations about the nuances and intricacies of data, Slack GIF wars, and discussions around memorable topics such as: what certain poop consistencies indicate; the economic dips and swings of greek yogurt prices; the pros and cons of eating crickets; how often you should wash your hair, if at all; strategies for becoming PBS-famous; Oreo flavors and unicorn poop.

We really care about our research!

And really, we do. And our clients. And most of all, each other. Some offices foster environments where you have colleagues, dscout fosters family. It’s the place you can find your next roommate or someone you could take on a long road trip.

When you work with people as devoted and excited to do great work as you are, you grow with each other professionally, too. When I needed a change of pace, away from my traditional consulting role, people listened, took action, and helped me move into a new phase of my dscout career with a new role on the user success team. The fact that everyone (everyone) was supportive and happy for me -- both the team I was leaving and the team inheriting me -- is a real testament to dscout’s culture: We acknowledge each other as smart people who need to continue to grow.

And grow, I do. Peers and mentors helped me become a better researcher-- from learning to fill a really tricky recruit, to executing meaningful research, to turning an analysis into a compelling story. I learned to interact with tough customers and even tougher participants. I learned how to ask good questions, communicate more clearly, and to think more deeply and broadly.


When I started at dscout, I confess I wasn’t this starry eyed. Like most college grads, I was fresh out of school and ready to try pretty much anything. dscout was interesting to me because there was so much room to learn and grow, but mostly I just needed to start my career. I’m happy to report, I’ve gotten way more than I bargained for.  

Interested in joining our team? Check out the dscout career page.