Coming to an airport near you

2010 has been a wild and wackadoodle year — all in a good way. I’ve barely had time to catch my breath to even call my mother, much to her chagrin. Personally, apart from all the fun side endeavors, the most fun has been that my spousal equivalent, Jeff, moved from Austin to San Francisco. It’s been an extreme pleasure to not only have him present for fun, but also to enjoy the mundanities of life together. Nothing says love like discussing whose turn it is to clean the lint out of the dryer (always me) or to go grocery shopping (always him). Jeff’s also been an awesome step parent to my children and has enjoyed doing all sorts of things, from school trips to family vacations.

Jeff’s move was yet the first of many new things to happen this year. The remaining big ones are all professional and have benefit from his presence.

First off, in January, I switched roles at to head up their emerging community of Q&A answerers. I jumped at the chance to put my years of participating in communities online into action as a community manager, not merely a member. Not soon after, however, an old acquaintance (Mike Maser) came a-knockin’ having just left Digg to move to AOL. He offered an opportunity to conduct research among larger audiences and across a wide swath of products. It was a tough choice to leave, but I realized the opportunity to have an impact on more products and more people was a professional challenge I needed. After five years at Ask, I bid adieu in late June. Leaving the fantastic women and men of was sad, but I look forward to seeing lots of great answers to questions in the community.

I began at AOL in late June. These first few weeks yield a vision for the type of analysis and insight that can help a company transform. AOL is a start-around: taking a huge company and turning the tide and all the associated brand imagery built up over 25 years into something new. This is a task that is mentally stimulating and one that will be rewarding. It’s thrilling to be a part of this re-energization of a stalwart so many of us have known. I hope to be able to share some of my philosophies around research here as I delve more deeply into this role. Spending lots of time on airplanes engenders time to ponder research methodologies and techniques deeply – and their application more so.

In other professional news, at the turn of the year, online I met a fellow Rollins alum, John Dick, CEO of Civic Science. He had called to ask a few questions about how I viewed the world of research and through the course of our conversation, we discovered a mutual passion for real time consumer insights, especially among hard to reach consumers (hey teenagers and tech-savvy elites–I’m looking at you!). The Civic Science model allows for polling that can be aggregated in powerful ways to draw conclusions about the marketplace on a nearly inexhaustible list of subjects. This led to me taking a role on the Advisory Board for Civic Science. In the future, you’ll see cross-posting here on as I ruminate on data coming from Civic Science’s Millennial Index.

All of these changes are exciting and daunting. It delights me to have these opportunities and appreciate the chance to grow both personally and professionally this year. However, they do mean that I am on the road a great deal and have been traveling extensively this year. You may see me at an airport gate sometime soon. Stop by and say hi and let’s talk some shop.