This month, we dug into all of the data around hobbies and found that creativity not only helps people find deeper meaning in their life, it also has vast positive impacts on emotional, psychological, and physical wellbeing. Let this be your sign to pause The Crown and bake a sticky toffee pudding.

77% of Netflix users would rather give up their subscription than give up their creative hobby – Blueprint, 2019
48% who tried a new hobby during the pandemic – such as coding or photography – have earned money turning it into a side hustle – Lending Tree, 2021
Yet, 68% of Americans say they are eager to use their creativity more often – Blueprint, 2019
And 79% of parents would prefer their child “make just enough to get by in a creative job they love” than “make lots of money in a job they aren’t passionate about.” – Blueprint, 2019

Looking for more data that matters? Check out our Instagram.

This month has been Mental Health Awareness month – which means we’ve been paying special attention to data that matters in this space. If you know us, you know that we always start with the numbers so that we can learn where to dive deeper and unpack the ‘why’.

This month, we dug into data around mental health and relationships. What we found was both promising and heartbreaking. But unless we acknowledge the facts, we can’t work to make positive change.

97% of Hinge users want to date someone who actively cares for their mental health – GDI, 2021
80% of people with mental health problems say it affects their relationships including loss of libido, feeling unattractive, and self consciousness – Nemours, 2023
Yet 9 out of 10 people dealing with mental health problems say stigma and discrimination have a negative impact on their lives – Mentalhealth.org, 2021

Please speak up about these issues. Do not stigmatize how serious mental health issues are and the impacts they have on our lives. Now is the time.

Looking for more data that matters? Check out our Instagram.

The Pain Points of a Crisis Collision

A Wider Lens
Our PinPoint team is all in on perspective-taking. As designers and researchers, we see first hand the impact of keeping our lens wide. Really wide. We strive to listen to and understand the everyday oh-nos and ah-has that make-up our unique worlds. This month, we heard families describe how brands can support their efforts to keep their kids safe. We noticed conversations about generational differences and started to wonder just how big those differences actually are.   

Perspective-taking takes practice. Time and time again, nuanced outlooks which deserve more airtime catch our attention. Perspective-taking is rarely (never!) easy. But, we’ve learned the value of making time to deliberately reframe our lenses. Wide lenses – the ones that point to diverse contexts and under-represented backstories – reveal more meaningful, satisfying, and exciting insights. Those insights keep us motivated to constantly look for opportunities for positive change. 

A Wider Lens on Mental Health
October especially encouraged – scratch that, challenged – our perspective-taking about mental health. October 10th marked World Mental Health Day. The World Federation for Mental Health (WFMH) promoted ‘mental health is a universal right’ as the day’s theme. The United Nations coordinated a month’s worth of events to motivate workplaces to prioritize mental health issues.

From every lens we look through, mental health matters year round. Our shared struggle to normalize just how transparent we can be about mental health is ongoing. Rightfully so too. There are so many perspectives to consider about what ‘counts’ as mental health. For some people, mental health shows up in their surroundings. They want to feel connected to their external environments. Others connect mental health to wellbeing or wellness. The relationship between mental and physical health motivates their lifestyle decisions. Others still see mental health as a hyped obsession. They advocate for a total attitude overhaul about what real health looks & feels like, not to mention who gets to benefit from mental health resources. 

Crisis into Collision
One common thread lurks behind these varied perspectives: the new realities brought on by a crisis pile-up are colliding. Climate crisis. Economic crisis. Geopolitical crisis. The quantity and intensity of stressors just keeps building. When everything is at a heavy impasse, a collision of crises feels explosive.  

As a female-led team, we are increasingly asking about how this crisis collison will play out. Women make up nearly 47% of the US workforce. Forecasts predict women will control 75% of discretionary spend by 2028. Data like this validates how influential women are, but how much does that influence cost? Women are more susceptible to a collision of mental health stressors. Role overload leads them to offload career aspirations. The impact of the collision leaves them no other choices. Collisons all add up, and they cost a lot.  

Collision into Culture
Ultimately, PinPoint is positively optimistic. We are leaning in to asking how mental health can evolve into what our September newsletter called “mental wealth”. How might we personalize mental health, having open conversations with our teams about what mental wealth means and looks like? How might we get ahead of looming collisions, showing up with our teams and customers ahead of the impact and during the aftermath? How might we use perspective-taking to reframe the crisis curve into a culture curve? One that anticipates flexibility, self-advocacy, and peace of mind?  

What’s your perspective on how to notice a crisis collison? How do you and your team communicate about mental health? What does a realistic reframe to wealth look like? Let’s get ahead of the crisis curve together and chat over an e-coffee.

For those who have been following, PinPoint has been taking the month of September to reflect on equal pay – September 18th being International Equal Pay Day.

These facts say it all.

$0.82 – the amount women earn for every dollar men make in America – US Government Accountability Office, 2022
20 years where that number hasn’t budged, despite more women graduating from college than men – Pew, 2023
Yet, only 14% of Russell 100 companies disclosed and adjusted women-to-men pay ratio in 2022 – Bloomberg, 2022

It’s time to do something about it – share your voice, empower one another, and fight for what you deserve.

Looking for more data that matters? Check them out on our Instagram.

Why We Need More Shared Voices

The Old Recruitment

Our PinPoint Team shares an unstoppable curiosity about why people make decisions. Involved decisions about household spending and less involved decisions about pumpkin spice fascinate us. By asking why, we see how long-standing ways of doing things impact all of us. We remain positively optimistic about the uniquely positive impacts we hear across our projects. We also remain sensibly grounded. We’ve seen how steely, entrenched processes produce unintended outcomes. Those outcomes get passed on to audiences left wondering whether their voices can be heard. 

One of the entrenched processes we’ve set out to evolve is research recruitment. In your role, you’ve likely interacted with The Old Recruitment by default. Think back to the last research webinar or trend report that grabbed your attention. What excited you: the bottom-up breakdown of sample size or the top-level statistics? How did you incorporate both ‘main character’ data and footnoted demographics in your decisions?  

We too believe in the value of quantitative insights. But the voices behind those demographic footnotes drive our commitment to equity-centered innovation. We prioritize the whole person – not the demographics – as the first touchpoint to knowing an audience. Doing so means we learn more than who is underserved. We learn whether we are even solving what that audience sees as the problem. We want fewer fine print footnotes about demographics and more bold footsteps into people’s worlds. 

Our Evolved Invitation

Meet Research Voices, PinPoint’s approach to seeing people as individuals and amplifying their voices on their terms. The original meaning of “recruit” resonates with us: to strengthen, reinforce, repair by fresh supplies. In our recruitment reframe, swap out supplies for voices. Research Voices is a tangible solution that activates equity-centered innovation. We need companies to listen for underrepresented voices in their decision-making processes. Through equity-centered innovation, we listen with who else needs to be heard. Traditional recruitment is ill-suited with what equity-centered innovation values. Through Research Voices, we are “all ears”. Research Voices gets us to hear equitable perspectives and learn from voices that otherwise go unheard. 

Think about Research Voices less as a static database and more as a dynamic dataset. Since PinPoint began, we’ve organized the voices we hear during our research into a tool that captures nuanced lifestyles. This allows us to invite people to purposeful research conversations, informed by how they see their authentic identities.   

How Does Research Voices Work?

The reach of Research Voices comes in part from our digital intentionality. As consumers increasingly approach media use with mental wealth in mind, we also navigate the hyper-fractured internet with deliberate care. To invite people to engage with our Research Voices database, we blend: 

1. Customized social and SEO scrubs: We scan for lifestyle patterns aligned with project goals, always aware of the nuance outside the Instagram box. We’ve recently heard parents explain how valuable recommendations from Facebook groups can be when it comes to selecting enrichment programs for their children.  

2. Personalized email communication: We humanize our outreach to appeal to each person’s whole identity. A PinPoint team member crafts, sends, and responds to all messages. When we invite restaurant owner-operators, for example, we can’t expect an immediate response. Restaurant owners don’t have concentrated desk time. They operate front and back of the house!    

3. Inviting screeners: Checking the box on demographics is second to enticing prompts that encourage people to think in new ways. We invite people to freestyle responses or engage in “this or that” statements. We build their responses into future conversations. 

Why Does Research Voices Work?

That blend differentiates Research Voices from recruitment as usual. People trust us with their authentic voices because we first share our authentic PinPoint voice with them. Society’s widespread trust gap touches every swipe, post, and like. Research Voices addresses that gap and goes beyond one-off transactions. Through raffles, meaningful incentives, and recognizing lots of big small wins, Research Voices builds collective effervescence. There is overt appreciation to be celebrated when we connect around a shared purpose. As niche becomes norm, we see the Research Voices community as a unique touchpoint.  

Establishing rapport during research isn’t novel. But, how might we create connections with unheard voices before research officially begins? And, how might we maintain that connection after a project finishes? It’s questions like those that drive us to evolve and expand Research Voices. Nothing is too precious for iteration.

If you feel some FOBO (fear of being obsolete) about traditional recruitment, let’s chat! We’d love to hear your voice.

Why We Chose Not to Be Niche

“What industry does PinPoint focus in?”

Oh, such a great question. One that we got asked just last week, and the week before, and probably once a week for many many weeks before that. So why not take this opportunity to answer it for all of you here!

And it’s such a good one – especially when PinPoint’s entire being is helping companies identify who they serve. But the answer to this question isn’t as straightforward as just ‘healthcare!’, or ‘the financial industry!’, or ‘hospitality!’ (even though, maybe, sometimes we wish it were that simple). But it’s because if we did have a niche in just one industry, we wouldn’t be doing our job.

In a past life, our co-founders worked squarely in sports & entertainment and what they found was, while yes they became extreme experts in the sports & entertainment experience, the truth is a ‘fan’ is also a banking customer, also a fast casual restaurant guest, also a caretaker of older relatives, and the list goes on. So when we isolate our work in a single industry, we miss out on understanding a ‘fan’ as a whole human.

When PinPoint was founded, we promised never to get to a point where 50% or more of our pipeline was devoted to a single industry. By design, we chose to be evangelists for the process instead of an extreme expert in any industry. We intentionally decided to focus on the human, rather than the business, so that we could most authentically solve for needs versus getting caught up in entrenched beliefs and organizational assumptions.

Most importantly, we chose not to live within a niche business so that our learnings could translate across industry lines, and ultimately across our clients. We knew true innovation didn’t happen by ‘keeping up with the Joneses’, it happens when a tidbit coming from an over the road trucker can impact the learning experience of a kiddo in a K-12 classroom. 

So here we are, five years into that ‘experiment’, and more than ever proud to say ‘we’re not an expert in any industry’. It’s because we’re experts in humans… and also in becoming sponges quickly absorbing the ins and outs of many businesses we are thrown into. And we wouldn’t have it any other way. 

Today, we work on 2-4 different projects at any given time. As we write this, our team members are having simultaneous conversations with research participants about selecting after school activities for their kids and defining what ‘disruption’ means for a convention center. And when those team members come together, without failure, there is always a shared learning that somehow, some way, impacts the other project for the better. This cross pollination of industry insights means we, as researchers, end up asking smarter questions, it means our clients have a better understanding of their customer’s entire livelihood, it means the business opportunities our team identifies become that much richer and relevant as PinPoint gets older. 

So, the short of it is, don’t box yourself in. When you let those walls come down, that’s where the real innovation happens. Whether you’re looking to stop following the herd, you’re already on the ‘groundbreaking’ bandwagon, or just looking to chat about what it means to be human today – you know we’re always down for a coffee talk!

Seems like all we hear about these days is #AI. What are your thoughts on it? Is it going to destroy our world? Is it going to make our world better?

We’re all ears – let us know what you think!

Reflecting on Five Years of PinPoint

Y’all, we have officially made it to year FIVE! And when only 50% of small businesses make it this far, you have a lot to celebrate. 

The “traditional” anniversary gift for your fifth year is wood, and while we’d love to share a hand-carved gift for each and every one of you, instead we decided to use wood as inspiration to reflect on the last five years. Back in 2019, one year into starting PinPoint, we shared 12 learnings (one per month) from our first year in business. Five years later, we’re looking back on those 12 learnings, and sharing with you what we’ve learned about them since and what we would have done differently. (Get it, wood – would… yeah we went there.)

You’re probably asking yourself – Faith, Stacy, why the heck share that? That’s pretty vulnerable. Well, because when we started PinPoint, we did so to make the world a better place. So if our learnings can impact even one of you, that would be worth it. So here goes nothing…

  1. ALWAYS GRATEFUL – A major theme across our team to this day, we have never lost sight of the family, friends, team members, partners, and collaborators who have helped make PinPoint what it is today. To everyone out there – thank you. Wood-a/Coulda/Shoulda: Being grateful when everything’s going well has come naturally to us, but as soon as things start to take a downturn, we tend to close off. In those moments, we should have embraced gratitude for the downtime. Rarely do we get a chance to pause and appreciate the quieter periods, and recognizing their value could have shifted our mindset from scarcity to abundance.
  2. RETURN TO WHY – At our onset, we developed PinPoint’s “why” to make a meaningful impact in the world. It’s what’s written on the walls of our office to reflect on and remember day after day. And it’s what drives every decision we make. Wood-a/Coulda/Shoulda: We’ll admit, we’ve made business decisions that went against our “why” – swayed by tempting clients, alluring projects, or simply money. But in hindsight, those choices cost us work-life balance and went against our culture. We should have stayed true to our ‘why,’ embraced the challenge of finding the right work, and not let shiny objects cloud our judgment.
  3. REMAIN EMPATHETIC – At the root of our research is empathy. Every time we sit down with a research participant, we acknowledge the vulnerability we are asking them to share – often with total strangers. Empathy breaks down that wall and we know being empathetic only makes this world a better place. Wood-a/Coulda/Shoulda: In year one, this was mainly directed at our research participants, but as time passed, we understood the profound impact empathy plays with our team, our clients, and the communities we support. Our dedication to ongoing ‘coffee dates’ – with our team members, clients, and our community – have played a huge role in learning that. Woulda/coulda caffeinated up sooner.
  4. STAY FOCUSED – Starting in year one, outside forces beyond our control pushed our limits and taught us to stay consistent, poised and focused. It’s this focus that has enabled PinPoint to grow into the strength it is today. Wood-a/Coulda/Shoulda: Looking back, there were times we were too business-centric. We’ve realized the importance of shifting our focus to family, friends, and ourselves when that focus is needed. We wish we had trusted ourselves and not felt the outside work bandwidth stressors earlier by recognizing that our version of dedicating one week with 100% focused energy is just as good, if not better, than spreading ourselves thin over two or more weeks.
  5. LOOK FORWARD – We built PinPoint to remain constantly curious, whether looking inward or beyond ourselves and promise that we would always be inspired by what’s to come. Wood-a/Coulda/Shoulda: Staying positive about our future has sometimes been challenging. We’ve found ourselves getting caught up in negative outlooks – whether it’s fears around climate change, women’s rights reversals, and AI advancements. But we take inspiration from RuPaul who says, “You can look at the darkness, but don’t stare…The solution is to create magic, dance, sing, love…create joy.” So we now try to recognize our frustration as a desire for change that can propel us from anger into actions of creativity and love.
  6. TRUE COLLABORATION – We promised to surround ourselves with people smarter than us so that their individual expertise would push our work further. Wood-a/Coulda/Shoulda: Bringing on a team that’s way smarter than us turned out to be one of our smartest moves. Embracing their diverse expertise, encouraging fresh perspectives, and fostering collaboration has worked wonders for PinPoint. As has our own team-designed emojis – never underestimate the power of an emoji!
  7. CELEBRATE THE WINS – From large business wins to small personal gains, we promised to take the time to celebrate our wins. Wood-a/Coulda/Shoulda: Missing out on celebrating our wins through posts like this in years 3 & 4 is a clear sign that we could have done better (see why in the Data That Matters post below!). We’re grateful to have started a weekly ritual of acknowledging our small wins with the team – we should have done that sooner.
  8. SAY “YES” – On even the most tiring of days, we forced a ‘yes’ to help find ourselves in places we wouldn’t have otherwise found. Wood-a/Coulda/Shoulda: In our early days, we embraced saying ‘yes’ a lot – maybe too much! Looking back, we should have employed the ‘what about’-strategy more frequently. “What about instead of meeting at 10am (and reorganizing my entire day to pull that off), we meet at noon instead?” – gosh we wish we used that sooner. 
  9. LEARN FROM ALL – We purposely built PinPoint to share learnings across industry lines so that our work could impact the whole human (and not just a person in their banking mode). Wood-a/Coulda/Shoulda: As ethnographic researchers, we’re not just inspired by diverse perspectives, we need diverse perspectives to do our job right. In 2022, we started Research Voices, our database of unique people with valuable perspectives across the country. It’s an incredibly unique differentiator that we woulda/shoulda/coulda prioritized sooner, but leaning into #7 and celebrating the fact that it exists today!
  10. SUPPORT IS VITAL – PinPoint wasn’t built by just two crazy cat ladies, it was built because we welcomed the outpouring support from friends and family who make sure we never have to stand alone. Wood-a/Coulda/Shoulda: If you take nothing else from this long winded post, always accept the support. You’ll learn, you’ll grow, and you’ll be able to support someone else because of it in ways you never dreamed possible. Full stop.
  11. STAY HUMBLE – We acknowledge that we have and will continue to make mistakes. However, each mistake empowers growth and changes us for the better. Wood-a/Coulda/Shoulda: One of our greatest strengths is owning up to mistakes and taking responsibility to fix them. Embracing our humanity has made this journey of owning a business a heck of a lot less daunting. Nowadays, we view PinPoint as a continuous prototype, where nothing is too precious, and mistakes serve only as a stepping stone towards improvement.
  12. WORK HARDER – We have gratitude for showing up everyday and hustling harder than the day before. Because of this, we are manifesting our own futures and impacting the lives of others. Wood-a/Coulda/Shoulda: That description was verbatim from our year one reflection, and we woulda/shoulda/coulda removed ‘hustle’ from our mentality earlier on. We learned when we ‘hustle’, we tend to let our energy deplete so much that it serves no one or nothing well. Lean into the airplane oxygen mask mentality, give yourself grace and balance first, from there you will be able to serve everyone and everything better.

It’s been an exceptional five years and we can’t wait to see what the next five have in store. Whether you, too, are a small business owner, a C-Suite, a leader of teams, a spouse, a sibling, a friend, or someone in between – we hope there’s something above that resonates if even in a small way. And if it has, we’d love to know what it is. If it hasn’t, we’d also love to know! As always, don’t be a stranger!

Reflecting on 5 years since PinPoint was founded made us realize how effortless, yet challenging it is to celebrate small wins as they happen. Let’s be real, the big ones are easy to reflect on, but the small ones are what make those milestones happen.

87% of Americans believe recognizing small wins each day is a crucial form of self-care – One Poll, 2021
And also 83% who celebrate small wins believe it only takes one win to turn a bad day into a good one – One Poll, 2021
Yet 79% of Americans have left a job because they felt under appreciated – Salesforce, 2019

What we learn in these numbers is that celebrating small wins is a form of self care.

Recognizing those wins can turn a bad day into a good day.

And there is significant room for improving the recognition to ourselves and others.

What small win can you celebrate today?

Looking for more data that matters? Check out our Instagram.