Preview Mode Links will not work in preview mode

This is Capitalism: Up Close, Inspired, Explained

Sep 21, 2021

Patricia O’Connell interviews Nick Childs about DIRT. They discuss what the company does, why it was started, how it relates to Nick’s earlier careers, and how biometric neuroscientific testing can help you connect deeply with your audience through content that reaches them emotionally.


Listen in to learn more about DIRT and content improved by biometric science for your audience.

Key Takeaways:

[:25] Patricia O’Connell introduces Nick Childs, filmmaker, producer, director, and writer of film and digital experiences, as well as a Co-Founder of DIRT.

[1:19] Nick and three co-founders started DIRT during the pandemic. They built a platform for neuroscientific research for consumer insights. DIRT stands for Discover and Illuminate Real Truth. They dig in the sandbox with their clients to build connecting content and experiences together through a better understanding of their audiences.

[2:42] DIRT research tests the emotional responses of subjects to the things they are observing by measuring their galvanic skin responses. The responses show when people are paying more attention to what they see. DIRT creates a report for the client that helps them focus on what content had the most impact.

[4:31] Why doesn’t DIRT use surveys or focus groups?

[6:40] DIRT also uses eye-tracking with galvanic skin response. They measure attention and extrapolate emotional connections based on the content itself. A timeline of the responses with the content shows where the audience’s attention is spiking and where it is flagging. This is very valuable knowledge for content makers.

[8:15] The power of infinitesimal improvements over time.

[8:31] Patricia and Nick discuss a hypothetical, concrete example of evaluating a sneaker ad. What is the level of detail they can test? Nick recommends picking at least 50 to 100 people from the client’s audience and getting an aggregate test score.
[10:50] Almost any industry that connects with an audience through content or an app can benefit from this research.

[12:04] How does DIRT fit into the future of making decisions about content? Neuromarketing growth is compounding at 16% annually over the next five or six years. Nick sees NaaS (Neuroscience as a Subscription) as a growing market. What about costs?

[13:57] Are there privacy issues? DIRT does not need demographic information from people to gather galvanic responses. They invite people to opt-in with some data but testing can be done completely anonymously. People are invited in and compensated for their time. DIRT is open about what they gather and what they do not.

[17:03] Can biometric neuroscience be used for nefarious reasons? Not at DIRT, anyway, as they maintain anonymity from audiences that opt-in to the experience. The goal is a better connection with the audience the client is serving with their offerings.

[18:36] Nick would have loved to have access to this biometric neuroscience research back when he was making content to make better connections with his audiences.

[21:14] Does biometric neuroscience divide the “poets” from the “quants”? Nick has not been in a situation where the quants get it but the poets don’t. Everyone gets it. The research bridges the gap and delivers value to all of the stakeholders as DIRT helps the client focus on creating something that connects with their audience better.
[23:29] How to make a new translation of Beowulf culturally significant. Understand where your audience is now. Crime author Elmore Leonard followed the rule to try to leave out the parts that readers skip. DIRT tries to leave out the parts of your content that your audience skips. It makes for a better experience.

[24:49] What can a client apply from one study of one piece of content to develop future content? Nick talks through the process. What insights can a client build?

[25:50] Is this research only for large corporations? DIRT is working on how to put this into the reach of more influencers and companies.

[27:46] Contrasting the creator economy and the attention economy, and how DIRT is involved to help build connections.

[28:44] Nick shares his contact links.

[29:09] Patricia thanks Nick for joining This is Capitalism: CEO Stories.


Mentioned in This Episode:

Nick Childs

Twitter: @NickChilds

Maria Headley’s translation of Beowulf

Seamus Heaney’s translation of Beowulf

Elmore Leonard