Ray Beharry – Head of Marketing at Pollfish

Productivity is simple: Make the most of your time with the resources you’ve got — and outsource what you need to.

Ray Beharry is an accomplished leader with a passion for providing and marketing technologies that engage, enrich, and empower others. Ray’s areas of expertise collide in his position as head of marketing at Pollfish, a company whose online survey tool helps businesses make educated decisions by providing relevant, meaningful, and customizable consumer opinion data in real time. He also serves as an adjunct instructor of marketing at New York University and a mentor at the New York University Tandon School of Engineering’s startup incubator.

Where did the idea for Pollfish come from?

We saw an opportunity for publishers to monetize their websites and apps — without ads — and get good data from doing so that could be used to make experiences more worthwhile for people. The more marketers, developers, and manufacturers know about what their target markets are thinking — the more insight they can generate from today’s on-the-go, always-mobile consumer — the better the products and experiences they create will be.

What does your typical day look like, and how do you make it productive?

Productivity is simple: Make the most of your time with the resources you’ve got — and outsource what you need to.

How do you bring ideas to life?

We start with a problem that needs to be solved. Then, we collect as much information as we can on how others have tried to solve it and develop an idea of how we can go about it differently — in a meaningful, compelling way.

What’s one trend that really excites you?

Mobile. We are carrying around tiny computers in our pockets that most of us can’t imagine living without. The average person checks his phone 150 times a day! And the devices are built for action — every time you pick it up, it’s to do something on it. We leverage that intimate relationship people have with their smartphones, and we’re catching them in moments (i.e., while they’re using an app) when we can capture their full attention. The fact that we can reach so many diverse users on the devices that are so close to them, and get responses in minutes, is changing the way audiences will be polled for their opinions.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive?

Many people have to-do lists. We live by “today” lists. Keep the big-picture goals in mind, but break them down into tasks you can get done on a daily basis. It’s the reason I’m completing this task right now!

What was the worst job you ever had, and what did you learn from it?

I worked in the food service industry for a few years in high school and college. It wasn’t as glamorous as the jobs of my friends who worked at the mall or at amusement parks — but I learned the values of hustling and keeping customers happy.

If you were to start again, what would you do differently?

Nothing. Learning is an iterative process. The principles of the scientific method apply to every profession, whether you’re a marketer, an engineer, a doctor, or a customer service agent. The most successful people have a passion for learning and applying their knowledge to make things better.

What is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Read. Read some more. Write down what you learned. Apply it. Learn from making mistakes. Then, go out and read about that.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

We are uber-focused on solving problems for our key customer personas — and those are constantly being developed by our feedback mechanisms.

What is one failure you’ve had, and how did you overcome it?

We have failures all the time; the best way to solve them is to tap into everyone on the team (and sometimes outside the team) who has an opinion on the matter.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

There are tons of ideas out there — make sure that you vet yours before you try it with people who might be interested. If you’re looking for ideas, check out Quora; people on that site are usually presenting problems that they need solutions to.

What is the best $100 you recently spent, and why?

A trip to the aquarium in Orlando so my family could see my 18-month-old son, Ryder, say, “Fisssssssss.”

What software and web services do you use? What do you love about them?

Anything that automates manual tasks and provides a friendly, compelling experience for our users. For example, we use intercom.io for onboarding, customer engagement, and support, and we continuously get high praise from our customers about how good our support is. We use a litany of tools in our digital arsenal to help acquire, onboard, and optimize the customer experience. From social media tools to marketing automation to A/B testing, you name it — we’ve probably tried it. Or, if we haven’t yet, we will!

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

“The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work” by Shawn Achor because success doesn’t fuel happiness — it’s the other way around.