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Former Director of Cornell Survey Research Institute Founds Research Startup

Yasamin and Student

Former Director of Cornell Survey Research Institute Founds Research Startup

It seems simple: if you want your business to succeed you need data on your customers, right? While many businesses – from start-ups to multinational corporations – are aware of the value of survey research, businesses continue to struggle with conducting surveys that yield accurate results. Fortunately, survey research happens to be Yasamin Miller’s forte.

As the founder of Yasamin Miller Group (YMG), Ms. Miller works with clients to create surveys using a multidisciplinary approach. Her team blends computer science, data science, and information science, along with market and survey research, to produce insightful results and inform data-driven decisions.

“The purpose of our company is to offer the best quality data collection to help our clients in both the private and public sectors to meet their research needs,” Yasamin says. “YMG’s goal is to make sure we’re offering the best solutions at the best prices.”

Yasamin has over 20 years of experience conducting survey research. With degrees in statistics and computer science from McMaster University, and employers like Stanford  and Cornell on her résumé, she is well aware of the meticulous work that goes into creating a thorough, valid, results-driven survey. While at Cornell, Yasamin founded the first automated full-service computer-assisted telephone interview survey facility.

Recalling her initial experiences at Cornell, Yasamin says, “at that time, Cornell had a pencil and paper shop [for surveys]… I quickly realized there was a need for an automated shop. I put a small proposal together for the Dean of the Industrial and Labor Relations School… and grew it from the initial idea to a very successful, nationally recognized survey shop. I oversaw all business development, client relations, study planning and implementation, ensuring quality control, and staying ahead of the technological changes in the field for over 20 years.”

While overseeing the Survey Research Institute, Yasamin realized that the most effective survey research would come from pulling talent from data science, information science, communications, market research, and branding. In 2015, Yasamin decided to pursue this multidisciplinary vision by founding her own company, Yasamin Miller Group. With the flexibility that comes from integrating all these areas, Yasamin is now able to better serve clients.

Yasamin could have chosen anywhere to begin her business, but decided to stay in the Ithaca area because of the world-class research that is conducted at Cornell University as well as Ithaca College. Yasamin also recognized the strong support startups receive in this area. YMG became a member of Rev: Ithaca Startup Works in 2016, and Yasamin believes Rev’s support helped her company grow.

During Rev’s Woman in Entrepreneurship Conference in February 2016, Yasamin was able to network with other women entrepreneurs in the area, sharing advice and business strategies. The conference inspired Yasamin to register YMG as a Disadvantaged Business Enterprise, one of the many certifications New York State offers to support small businesses and startups.

Yasamin’s team is constantly working to apply the most current technologies and methodologies to survey research. YMG is currently working to develop mobile applications to push out surveys.  This work is being conducted on behalf of the federal government, which she believes may well revolutionize the way we conduct surveys moving forward.  YMG is also looking into new ways to utilize social media for survey research. Yasamin says “the future is going to require us to look at different ways to collect data, as we’re always going to need data to make informed decisions.”

Yasamin is optimistic about the future of survey research. “It’s challenging, which makes it fun and exciting… with my new company I can blend the private sector and the academic sector to come up with solutions that we couldn’t leverage before.”

YMG aims to work with clients that share its values and incorporate those values into the work it produces. Be on the look out for a future piece about how startups can integrate client values to foster strong relationships and create meaningful work.