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February 26, 2016

Straight Outta Compton – Straight Up Inspiration

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I am a super passionate person. When I get pumped up about something, I really get pumped up. Call it temporary insanity, if you will, but I find inspiration in some non-traditional places. A couple of weeks ago I had 3 trips worth of suitcases to unpack so I decided to attack the task by watching Straight Outta Compton as I sorted, folded, hung clothes and declared victory when I found things I thought I had lost.

To say I was inspired is an understatement. Just ask my husband and daughter who were rolling their eyes as I was running around the house shouting “I am a gangsta!” I am always running around the house doing or saying something crazy, but they were even a little baffled at this one.

I may be a 40-something white woman living The American Dream in the burbs, but I instantly related to the story of the N.W.A. What could I have in common with some gangstas from Compton, CA? A lot. A whole freakin’ lot. Gangstas buy and sell drugs. I buy and sell people (that’s the market research sample industry after all). Some gangstas, like N.W.A. turn into hip hop artists who revolutionize music, and some market researchers, like me, turn into crazed entrepreneurs who refuse to give up. Like Dr. Dre says, “If we keep goin’ we can take over the goddam world.”

If you haven’t seen the movie, or don’t know what it’s about, it a biopic chronicling the gritty rise and fall of the groundbreaking hip hop group N.W.A from Compton, CA in the 80’s. Everything was against them. No one believed in them. They were beat down, ripped off, suffered personal loss and just kept pushing – ultimately, they became the forefathers of a new genre of music. They clawed their way out of one-room apartments in Compton. They may, or may not, have been law abiding the WHOLE time (secret: neither have I), but the journey is all part of who we are.

I am not a gangsta in the gold-chain-wearing, I-am-going-to-shoot-you kind of way, but in the dig down deep to get things done kind of way. People ask me all the time where I get my inspiration. Truth be told, anywhere and everywhere. The grittier, the better. The more unconventional, the more inspiring. Still not convinced I’m gangsta material? Well check it out.

I have a posse. You mess with me, they’ll mess you up. Granted my posse is a bunch of super smart, mainly millennial-aged market researchers, but they are badass. They are trained Boxers you know. Trained SoapBoxers. During the first weeks of SoapBox’s existence, a certain employee slept on the floor of the office because he was didn’t want to waste time driving home at night. We did what we had to do to build our panel from scratch in 6 weeks. That takes grit.

I am into graffiti. As I pointed out in previous blog posts, I believe that even the smallest victories are worth celebrating. I thought it would be fun to commemorate the addition of each panelist that joined by writing their name on the wall. The Chairman of ISA, Mike Halberstam, didn’t feel the same way. I adamantly pointed out that he never told me I couldn’t write on the walls. He vehemently pointed out he didn’t think that was something he needed to cover in my hiring. Eventually, we all settled on this awesome piece of graffiti on our office wall.


I swear. A lot. All the time. I can’t help it. It’s my go-to. I often say I am going to give it up, or give it up in certain environments, but I don’t. I can’t. I won’t. Actually, I never say I’m going to give it up. As an entrepreneur I am bat shit passionate – crazy to some, but purely passion to me.

I speak my mind. If you want the truth, I am going to give it to you. If you don’t want the truth, I am going to give it to you. I am not always thoughtful or politically correct, and my delivery can suck sometimes. But I am always honest. It’s like Ice Cube says, “ Speak a little truth and people lose they mind.” If you don’t know who Ice Cube is, watch the movie.

And, if you don’t like something I say, you can speak to my posse.

Oh, and if you want to know more about my past, just ask. I am not saying I will actually share that information with you. You will never know if you don’t ask. Be bold. Life is short.