Alex Genov | USA

Alex Genov | USA

Title: Head of Customer Research

Company: Zappos

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Beyond research silos: A call for holistic person-centric research approach in business


The talk will introduce a new way of thinking about how companies approach understanding their users, customers, consumers, fans, followers etc. – in short, understanding the people whose lives they affect.  

The new approach and mindset are applicable to companies of any size – from rebellious startups to established “captains of industry” type corporations.


The new research mindset introduced here challenges calcified assumptions about how we approach understanding customers. 

These assumptions are most vividly apparent in large companies whose bureaucratic structure developed through the years establishes silos and sharp boundaries between understanding people for sales and marketing purposes versus understanding people for product design and development purposes. 

Once we realise that the final object of our understanding are real people with real behaviors, emotions, motivations, goals, etc., we will recognize that our customer research has to have a common business objective and a coordinated and complementary sets of methods across the whole organisation.

The talk will highlight a cross-functional, cross-silo research case study from Zappos – a company that was built and operates on challenging common wisdom and the status quo.

  • Practical takeaways:
  • Understand the person, not the “shopper” or the “user”
  • No organisational silos when it comes to customer understanding
  • Use complementary research methods
  • Inform the business as a whole
  • Company culture matters

About the speaker

Alex is an experienced customer research professional who applies his Experimental Social Psychology background and his passion for research, design, and innovation to solving important customer and business problems. 

His professional goal is to help teams create remarkable products and services which make people's lives easier and more enjoyable.

Currently Alex is leading Customer Research for the Zappos Family of Companies. In previous positions, he was responsible for research and usability of the products and services for companies like TurboTax (Intuit), State Farm Insurance, and the Active Network. 

He has over 15 years of relevant experience – 5 years of academic research and over 10 years of customer research in the software industry.  Alex received his PhD in Experimental Social Psychology from Clark University.   His areas of research include: defining and measuring emotions, individual differences, usability, and consumer segmentation.

Alex will be speaking at: