We held our Client Summit in Pittsburgh this week. Yes, a bunch of busy people from the biggest companies in the world took two days out of their precious summer to fly here. We lured them with cocktails, food, and live music – and a cameo from our amazing Mayor. They stayed to talk trends, innovation, and building the next generation of our company.

For us, the annual Summit is priceless. Every product or strategy we’ve implemented in the past four years traces its roots to that gathering. This little Saturday email was conceived there.

If you run a business and don’t let your clients build your product for you, you’re doing it wrong. Oh, I know, I know. But Steve Jobs! He never listened to customers! If Henry Ford had asked people what they wanted, he would have built a faster horse, blah, blah, blah!

Good luck with that. I’ll put my money on the companies that defer to their customers.

Were already building new things. I can’t tell you what they are – what happens at the Summit stays at the Summit (especially those of you who took videos of me singing with the band, btw).

But I can tell you a few interesting things I learned:

  • Everybody is worried about data privacy and security;
  • An alarming number of companies only use brand trackers to feed the narcissism of their leadership – they serve no other purpose;
  • An even more alarming number of advertising decisions are still based on demographics;
  • Nobody can explain to me why the television Upfronts are still a thing;
  • There’s a shocking amount of waste in corporate marketing;
  • I could never make it in a big corporation (I already knew that);
  • Our team is awesome (I knew that too).

Here’s what were seeing everywhere else:

Legalized weed is making people chill out. No, not like that. Well, maybe like that. We don’t know for sure. But what our data tell us is that people’s attitudes toward marijuana legalization have softened since 2014. The percentage of Americans who “strongly support” or “strongly oppose” further legalization has hardly budged. The percentage who have “No strong opinion” has increased appreciably. While most issues have pushed people further and further toward the poles lately, weed is becoming less polarizing.

Online drug retail (the prescription kind) is a huge growth market. Maybe you guessed that when you saw Amazon jump into the business. But we canconfirm it with hard numbers. Only 11% of current prescription drug buyers and 14% of regular online shoppers purchase their meds via the web. For good measure, 29% of Americans and 42% between the ages of 25 and 29 say they would consider using an online prescription service if Amazon launches one. As those digital-native consumers age, develop cholesterol and heart problems, or other ailments, expect that number to climb like crazy. Take that to the bank.

Depressed consumer confidence among Liberals could hurt electric car sales. There’s a ton of insight into the electric car market in this report, but the thing that caught my attention was the correlation between environmentalism, electric car preference, and consumer confidence. To sum it up: Liberals are MORE likely to buy electric cars because of their concern for the environment. But, Liberals are LESS likely to have a favorable economic outlook right now, which means they’re less likely to make a major purchase anytime soon. Just your weekly reminder that politics is affecting everything.

Maybe the Papa John’s board was looking for an excuse to remove the CEO. The great Dale Carnegie once said, “Don’t ever drop the N-word during a company conference call when your brand favorability is already struggling.” Okay, no he didn’t. But those were inspirational words John Schnatter should have lived by. We could see in our data that positive sentiment toward Papa John’s had been sliding since early 2017. Schnatter’s racial misstep may have been the convenient excuse PJ’s board needed to cut bait.

Republicans are much more likely to take a hard stance on Russia. At least that’s something you could have said in 2014. I searched our database for some pre-Trump questions about Russia and found this little gem. What a difference a few years – and a giant monsoon of tribalism – makes.

Some Random but Uncannily Popular Recent Questions

Few things give us more insight into human quirkiness than the kinds of questions they are most likely to answer. Here are some of the more surprising, high-performing questions of the past couple weeks (here’s the catch, you have to answer to them to see the results):

The more we try to figure people out, the more befuddled we become.

Hoping you’re well.