Individual Guiding Principle Series: Principle 1 – Unity

by | Aug 8, 2016 | Business Leadership

A few months ago I introduced SoundRocket’s Guiding Principle Series on this blog.  I promised these were guides to practice here at SoundRocket, designed to be continually evaluated and updated where appropriate.  I also promised that I would dive into each guiding principle in more depth in future posts.  It is time that I do both.  With this post, I will tackle our first guiding principle – Unity.

Guiding Principle 1


Our organizational well-being depends upon unity within our workplace and with our collaborators. We believe value is added through unification of experience, expertise, perspective, and resources. That’s why unity is our first guiding principle.

While some may thrive with division, pitting one group against another, at SoundRocket we find that unity gets us further and results in a better experience for all who are involved.

Besides, too much division will be are undoing.  We would not be SoundRocket if it were not for the unity with our customers.  We would not be employees working at SoundRocket if it were not for this guiding principle.  We structure our work and our processes to support unity wherever we can.

We do not build walls that divide work functions – at SoundRocket there are no silos that separate us.

We believe that our customers success is our success.  But that only works if our customers also believe that as well.  Unity is a two way adventure that must be embraced by our customers as well.

With typical research studies spanning months and years – not hours and days – we find that unity with our customers leads us to deep growth.  Deep growth for us is a repeat customer when she gets her next grant four years later.  It is also the unexpected grant that would not have been had it not been for the collaboration and trust that came from an experience with a unity experience.  Deep growth is when we end up working with five of our customers closest collaborators in the years to follow because our unity grew to encompass them.

With our customers, we follow their career path, not some irrelevant annual sales cycle.  We become an instrumental part of our customers career – a part that they could not imagine leaving behind.

Internally, while we employ competitive and hard working survey research professionals who care how they do as individuals, we understand that quality survey research can be only as good as your weakest link.  A great sample plan is useless if the data collection protocol is bad.  Everything falls apart if we were to fail in maintaining confidentiality or if a mistake is made on whom we invite to a survey.  Some may approach this issue by micromanaging the work – by taking a star and making him/her responsible for overseeing everything, leaving others to be followers and non-thinkers.

We find this approach far too risky – thus we empower everyone to contribute in unity with the team.  We promote our guiding principle of unity around every project, and we believe that if the project succeeds, we will all succeed.

Only with unity can we expect to have our individual needs met.  And often we find that most of those are met along the way naturally.

Currently, the FDA only regulates true direct-to-consumer (DTC) genetic tests, which have no health care provider involved either before or after testing. Consumer-initiated, physician-mediated genetic tests are considered lab developed tests (LDTs), which currently do not require FDA oversight. 


Our Study Design

Our study was designed to simulate the experience of an everyday person who is considering doing a health-related genetic test. For this reason, we only reviewed website contents presented to a consumer before ordering a test. By limiting our data collection to pre-test content, instead of digging around or contacting the companies to fill in missing data points, gaps in public-facing information that consumers use to make ‘informed’ decisions were revealed.  

Also, while a genetic counselor supervised the project, a research assistant (RA) conducted most of the website investigations. The RA was familiar enough with genetics and genetic testing to understand and identify the information presented on the websites, but has not had the clinical exposure that might create bias from knowing how specific tests work “behind-the-scenes”. 


To Sum Up

We set out to understand the landscape of health-related consumer genomics testing from the public perspective. By limiting our research (by design) to public-facing pre-test website content, we could not complete our data collection as set out in the protocol. However, this uncovered an important observation: consumer genomics websites are highly variable in content, readability and ease of use. 

This begs the question, if we can’t find basic test information on a consumer genomics website, how does a consumer have enough information to make an informed choice about testing? 

Stay tuned for Part 2 in this series, where we will dig into our study findings and reveal our most interesting observations.  



As experts in FDA user comprehension studies for consumer genomics companies seeking 510(k) clearance, we are interested in how everyday people access and understand health content that is meant for them. If you need help optimizing your consumer-directed health communications, we’ve got the in-house expertise and experience to meet your needs. Let’s chat

About the Author

Scott D. Crawford

Scott D. Crawford is the Founder and Chief Vision Officer at SoundRocket. He is also often found practicing being a husband, father, entrepreneur, forever-learner, survey methodologist, science writer & advocate, and podcast lover. While he doesn’t believe in reincarnation, he’s certain he was a Great Dane (of the canine type) in a previous life.