“Do what you love. Know your own bone; Gnaw at it, bury it, unearth it, and gnaw at it still.” – Henry David Thoreau

This site focuses on market research and the behavioral economics surrounding cultural organizations.

My “bone” is aiding visitor-serving organizations in their quests to educate and inspire audiences. This site provides public gnawings, buryings, and unearthings regarding how people perceive, behave, and make decisions about cultural organizations – informed by market research rather than popular hunches.

 

What is Know Your Own Bone?

Let’s start by declaring what this is not: Know Your Own Bone is not another “Here’s What I Think!” website.  There are plenty of opinion websites available for those seeking subjective geek speak. Know Your Own Bone is a data-informed website about business-related best practices for visitor-serving organizations to aid in achieving both their mission-related and financial goals.

Know Your Own Bone shares data and analysis about how cultural audiences think and behave. While organizations may have the specific expertise to declare a matter important, it is the market that ultimately determines a matter’s relevance. Know Your Own Bone focuses on operations from the outside-in (i.e. audience centric) rather than the traditional inside-out way of approaching leadership. As a result, the data and analysis that I share sometimes busts outdated industry myths and serves to challenge the dogmas that tend to govern cultural organizations.

I’m honored that this website is frequently cited as a primary source within the industry, and is required reading within several graduate and professional programs.

 

Why write Know Your Own Bone?

I’m the Chief Market Engagement Officer for IMPACTS Research & Development, a private company that provides predictive intelligence to inform development, economic, marketing and policy strategies. I have been granted permission by sponsoring organizations and clients to share the data that appear on this website. Often, their publication on Know Your Own Bone represent the first time that the data have been publicly shared. In my work at IMPACTS, I keep my eyes peeled for interesting data that I think will be of broader interest, and then ask the company for permission to share it with fellow nonprofit and cultural professionals. I like to think of myself as a private-sector/nonprofit-sector double agent.

I publish Know Your Own Bone because I’m often in meetings with access to insanely awesome, blindside-the-nonprofit-CEO data and analysis – and often the same data would be extremely valuable to others in the industry.  Part of my mission is to make helpful data, analysis, best practices, experiences, and information available to the nonprofit and cultural communities. I also partner with my colleague to bring large-scale market research to individual organizations seeking a tailored, deeper dive.

 

What kind of content is shared here?

You won’t catch ads or paid endorsements on this website. I am careful about what is published here. For good measure, each article is edited by at least one IMPACTS colleague to help correct for my own unintentional biases and verfiy that I am sharing and explaining the data appropriately. Three types of articles are published on this site:

DATA & ANALYSIS

Information on audience perceptions, behaviors, and expectations based upon data provided by IMPACTS Research & Development.

THOUGHT FUEL

Professional analysis and insights based upon previously shared data and current happenings within the cultural industry.

FAST FACT VIDEOS

A combination of new data and thought fuel, these short videos for cultural executives are less than three minutes in length, and aim to make key findings more accessible and shareable. These videos are accompanied by articles that dive deeper into the information. The videos themselves are housed on my YouTube channel.


 

 

How did you start Know Your Own Bone?

I started Know Your Own Bone in 2009 as I was moving from Seattle to Los Angeles to get my Master of Public Administration at the University of Southern California. It started as a blog, and in the way that most blogs begin: With a person in pajamas consistently aggregating industry findings and writing out assessments. When I was hired by IMPACTS in 2011, the website evolved from a “blog” to a living “resource website” sharing primary source data, with a majority of readers in leadership positions within cultural organizations.

Today – and thanks in large part to Know Your Own Bone – I am honored to work with amazing clients around the world, participate in “pinch me” board meetings with brilliant minds, conduct international keynotes, provide guest lectures and serve as required reading for graduate students, and happily host over 70,000 page views from fellow cultural center nerds on this website each month. If you’re interested, here’s more about my career path.