Why Owners of Online Panel Companies MUST watch the movie ‘The Hunger Games’!!

online panelsYesterday I watched the movie “The Hunger Games” and to put it in few words I was simply BLOWN AWAY!! It is after so many years that I have seen a movie which is not only entertaining but also have deep philosophical undertones. Watching the movie I realized how relevant it is for all business men – although the story takes place in a dystopian post-apocalyptic future. The movie touches a lot of relevant crucial problems faced by us in our day to day business life. The article illustrates 5 reasons why every business owner MUST watch the movie ‘The Hunger Games’.


Watching the movie we realize that ‘Life is not fair’ – where in a post-apocalyptic future every year each district ‘offers’ a boy and a girl aged 12-18 to participate in an event – there is only one winner and rest all die. But interestingly the protagonist – Katniss Everdeen – a 16 year old girl from District 12 – never ever cribs about it and fights her best till the end.

I have personally seen many business owners in the data collection industry adopting unfair means to cut costs – the excuse is very simple – “clients wants cheap”. They are always cribbing about the falling profit margins – what they don’t realize is that ‘Life is not fair’ but still you have to make the best out of it.

Why not utilize the resources available with you and create a unique value proposition? Ultimately a business owner who can accept the ground realities but still make an effort to improve things – is the one who is going to survive for long.

Most of us panic whenever we are faced with adverse circumstances – imagine a 16 year old girl living her life in the constant fear of death. She gracefully accepts her fate but still doesn’t stop trying ‘being her’.

All owners of online panel companies should take cue from the protagonist of the movie – there is never going to be ‘favorable’ circumstances – they have to themselves create it utilizing every opportunity coming their way.


When the game begins all participants run towards a central location where food & weapons are kept. Every player wants to get the supplies – what ensues is a horrifying blood bath. When the supplies are limited and everyone is fighting for it – the probability is very high that many would be dead soon!

For the online data collection companies this part of the movie was so relevant. I still remember when I started my career in the online data collection industry there was hardly any company in India. But as the potential grew everyone has started jumping into the fray to get a share of the pie. Today the result is all to see – it is a horrifying bloodbath.

Panel companies are fighting a price war which not only has adversely affected the quality of the data but also the viability of their own existence.

The BIGGEST reason I myself haven’t opened an online panel company when people with 1/10th the experience I have are opening one is simple – there is a limited supply of the revenue out there – if you don’t have a unique value proposition – DON’T OPEN AN ONLINE PANEL COMPANY – Save your life and money!!


When Katniss Everdeen had a choice to pick up her weapon – she always knew it is going to be the ‘Bow & Arrow’.

This firmness in her choice enables her to survive till the end and win the game. When you start an online panel company you should be very clear about the WEAPONS you are going to use. Whether you are going to be ‘sample only’ or a ‘full service’ provider – which programming platform you would use – in which countries you would build panels – all things should be CRYSTAL CLEAR in your mind.

The clarity of thoughts is really going to help you in messy situations.

Unfortunately all the new panel players are here to just make ‘quick money’ and vanish away!! This is going to have adverse impact on the players which are in for the long haul. So be sure about your strategies as they would enable you to tide over rough times.


In life as in the movie – you cannot survive in isolation. You need to forge trust worthy alliances!!

The protagonist of the movie at one point of time is surrounded by other players – who were baying for her blood. She doesn’t loses her composure even when death was staring at her – after some time it was another player who helps save her skin.

In the online panel industry it is MUST to understand your vendors. Even the big panel players sometimes need help from other small suppliers to complete studies.

Here you have to take care of 2 aspects:

1- You need to thoroughly check the credentials of your panel sub-vendor.

2- You need to ensure that your employees are not corrupted by unfair means.

In India the second point is being completely missed – many USA and Europe based panel companies have opened offices in India – they hire Indian vendor managers to buy samples from local panel vendors when needed. A very unfortunate trend is being seen – ‘dubious’ panel vendors are actually BRIBING the vendor managers to get projects. The quality provided by such vendors is not hard to guess.

Vendors should be selected by someone higher up in the management and NOT vendor managers!!

A wrong choice in partnership would spell DOOM for your business.


At one point in the movie the protagonist gives an emotional burial to one of the players. What was so striking about the scene was that amidst bloodbath amongst the players – the protagonist has not stopped being HUMAN!!

Most of the online panel companies are just looking to make money – which is not wrong at all – but what are we giving back to the industry is my question. How are we contributing towards creating best practices for the industry which has given us name, fame and money?

All business owners in the online data collection industry should ponder over this fact and raise their voices against the ‘wrong’ practices which are plaguing our industry.

Don’t stop being HUMAN!!


The protagonist was lucky to have a former winner as her coach who gave her life saving tricks. She was also fortunate enough to get a dress designer and publicist who made her looks good and win sponsorship.

Like in the movie we are not born with the power of knowing everything. We need people who can guide us achieve our dreams – someone who can with his experience help you tide over problems.

So start searching for your mentor if you haven’t got one!!

Now you have a choice. You can comment, share, or implement. I prefer if you implement, but I’ll appreciate all three – Akshay Kanyal