Digital Qualitative | Ep. 184

Sima is happy to have Jim Longo joining her today! Jim is the Chief Strategy Officer and Co-founder of Discuss.

Jim has had an amazing career in the research sector! He talks to Sima about his journey, how he got to where he is in his career, and the benefits of digital qualitative research. He also gets into the features they built at Discuss to improve efficiency and direct analysis.

Jim’s background

Jim got involved in qualitative research early on in his career. He joined Harris Interactive in 1999 when the internet was already going strong. They brought Jim in to digitize qualitative research. He wanted to introduce video because it allowed him to see people’s reactions and body language when in conversation. At every other organization he joined after leaving Harris, he continued to push for the ability to use video, even though the video quality was poor back then.


Discuss is a tech company that understands qualitative research and has its roots in research. They work with brands, corporate researchers, and their agencies.

Engaging with your target audience

When Jim and his co-founder got together, they started looking for a way to leverage technology to scale qualitative research. They did some research and learned that being engaged with your target audience and customers mattered. The idea of doing video came up. So they built something specifically for research and incorporated some unique features to make things easier and involve more people in the research process.

Technology and automation 

They managed to prove to the marketplace that it is possible to scale qualitative research by leveraging technology and automation.

Keyword search

Jim and his partner built the ability to synchronize the video to a transcript. Now, it is possible to do a keyword search on their platform (and others). They subsequently added a tagging capability too, which helps with analysis.


Using video has allowed people to save a lot on travel expenses.

More exposure

Video has given exposure to more people to participate in the research process.

Bringing qual to the surface

Video brings qualitative research to the surface and gets people excited!

Making qualitative research easier, and less costly

If the cost of doing qualitative research gets reduced, and research sessions are easier to set up, people are more likely to want to use it. Jim describes that as a strategy of customer closeness or customer connects.

Understanding people at the human level

Jim’s work is valuable because it helps researchers understand people at the human level.


When consumers have the freedom to do a task or record something related to an experience without being in a virtual focus group or an IDI, that is known as asynchronous.

Getting answers faster

Jim is always thinking of ways to compress the timeline for finding answers when his customers or clients ask a business question.

Digital qualitative research participants

Right now, people are looking for connection. So when they participate in digital qualitative research, they enjoy knowing that they are being heard and someone is interested in them.

A benefit of digital research

Jim points out that with digital research, researchers will get the answers they are looking for, and in many instances, they can make decisions without having to travel anywhere.



Email me your thoughts!




Jim Longo on LinkedIn