Bob LeDrew

Poutsch: A New Way to Ask and Answer Questions

By: Bob LeDrew | July 16, 2013 | 

Poutsch- A New Way to Ask and Answer QuestionsBy Bob LeDrew

How do you build the next big thing? And how much of being the next big thing is in your control?

These are the questions that have been rolling around in my head since I heard about Poutsch, a new website and iOS app that is designed to be an easy, attractive, and slightly gamified way of making – and sharing – public opinion surveys.

I remember the explosion of Twitter on the social media scene, and I also remember confidently telling people the same thing was going to happen with Foursquare. Well, I didn’t quite get that one right. And that’s when I started to reduce the number of predictions I made.

So I am NOT going to say that Poutsch is the next big thing, but it is an interesting enough utility that I got myself an interview with cofounder Felix Winckler.

What is Poutsch?

The idea, for Winckler and his cofounders Etienne Adriaenssen and Melchior Schölle, was born during the Arab Spring. They saw debates raging on various social media platforms, but there were precious few numbers that could be attached to those debates.

First, traditional polls are kind of boring. You generally end up answering a list of questions on the same topic. Secondly, traditional polls are not really social – you don’t really know who the other people are and you can’t interact with them. And at the end of the day, the poll is not for citizens to express themselves, they’re more of a corporate way to take a picture of a small group of people’s opinion at a given time.

They decided to create a site where you could ask one question at a time, structure those questions in a number of ways, and use the social and gamification tools we’re all familiar with to make the process of asking and answering questions fun and (dare I say it) viral.

And where this tool gets really cool is when you use their widget to embed a question in your site (same way you would a YouTube video), any re-embeds don’t go back to Poutsch, they go to YOUR site. That’s nice, because it drives traffic to you, not to them.

Success Metrics

According to Winckler, they are: First, maintaining the growth we are having currently, which would be a nice thing, and more importantly, building use cases for the platform, having more publishers using the platform, political parties, activists.

So now here’s the question: What’s the proper trajectory? Is the only way to grow explosively? Are companies that build and grow more gradually risking being ignored or discounted? Or are they the ones with better long-term prospects?

A Poutsch Question in Action

P.S. We’re just a little more than a week away from our free webinar with email marketing genius, DJ Waldow. Join us on Thursday, July 25 at 11 a.m. CT. Register by clicking here.

About Bob LeDrew

Bob LeDrew is principal consultant at Translucid Communications in Ottawa (Ontario, not Kansas). He's been doing communications in one form or another since 1987, and in addition to his consulting work, teaches regularly at Algonquin College and Eliquo Training and Development. He's also the creator of The Kingcast, a podcast dedicated to his favorite writer, Stephen King. He enjoys cycling, animation, whisky, and playing guitar. He usually only does a maximum of two of those at one time.

  • GJA communications


    • bobledrew

      @GJA communications Hello Drew! My stalking indicates you’re from Guelph – don’t suppose you know any musicians down there do you? Some good musical friends are from Guelph. Be interested to know what you think if you give the tool a try.

  • A lot of people have been trying to crack the nut of unscientific polling on the web. Curious to see where Poutsch goes with this, and if they’re able to do it. I really like the embed option, which makes it a lot easier to get your audience to respond.

    • bobledrew

      AmyVernon I like the fact that the traffic counts go to you, and not to them.

      • bobledrew I feel as if there’s an “In Soviet Union … !” joke here, but I’m coming up empty.

        • bobledrew

          AmyVernon bobledrew In Soviet Russia, traffic embeds you!

  • Isn’t this also what SeeSaw is kinda sorta maybe doing?

    • freddela

      jasonkonopinski Would that mean any team in the polling space must stop everything and explore another space?

      • freddela Absolutely not!

        • freddela

          jasonkonopinski freddela Great. Btw, SeeSaw is doing a great job too.

    • bobledrew

      jasonkonopinski I can’t tell for sure, since they’re only iOS and I’m an Android. The display of results seems a bit different, however.

    • jasonkonopinski My understanding of what SeeSaw is doing is it’s more about your friends/acquaintances giving feedback in decisions, less about actual public sentiment.

  • MelkiSch

    Thanks very much Bob for covering Poutsch in your blog!

  • Gini Dietrich

    Lindsay, it’s DEAD

  • Interesting info here, Bob! Reading and learning…….

    • bobledrew

      biggreenpen Glad you found it interesting.

  • Being someone who hates surveys for being almost always flawed and biased by the creators I see the same handicap here. Granted you gave an ‘other’ choice but you still chose the 3 types. I might choose 3 completely different choices than you for the exact same question.
    Also I don’t know the people who answered so I don’t know their qualifications to answer the question. What if everyone who answered was an oilfield technician clueless on startups?
    Definitely interesting but as I said I see the same flaws as traditional surveys aside from the single question and having names associated with the answers.

    • bobledrew

      Howie Goldfarb As I understand it, the goal is to have people answer with their identity made public (although the Poutsch folk offer people the option of answering anonymously.) To get around that, you can filter out anonymous respondents, then examine the identities of those responding, if that’s a concern. 
      As to the quality of the choices offered, that’s entirely on me as it is on anyone using the tool.

  • Interesting (and fun…yes, I still have time for fun) survey tool, Bob.
    I mirrored a poll from my website and though it has only been a few hours, the results from Poutsch are most certainly on-track.
    Started a second survey to see if results remain consistent.

    • bobledrew

      SJSnelling Neat idea! Be sure to report back please.

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