Meet the Gorilla support team!

Every month, the Gorilla support team put togeth­er several hours of live webinar broad­cast, help out over a hundred dif­fer­ent researchers, and run a range of work­shops with our keenest users to tweak and refine the range of new tools we have on the horizon. It’s a busy time, but we’ve managed to find a few minutes with them to get the inside scoop on what it’s like to keep the Gorilla engine running!

 

The team

The support team are a well-oiled machine: Megan runs the support desk, answer­ing queries from our users, Catri­ona and Johanna manage all of our doc­u­men­ta­tion, and Klaudia runs our Early Access scheme for upcom­ing tools. Our cus­tomer success improve­ments are run by Jade, Hannah organ­is­es our onboard­ing events, and Will runs our devel­op­ment operations.

 

How did you join Gorilla?

 

Hannah: I joined Gorilla straight out of my under­grad­u­ate degree. I was imme­di­ate­ly gripped by the concept of being able to do behav­iour­al research online — no more fussing about with indi­vid­ual pro­grams for each task, the logis­tics of in person testing, and, finally, the chance to get a rep­re­sen­ta­tive sample. How could that change psy­cho­log­i­cal research? Now, 3 years on, both our tools and our team have grown, and I’m still excited by the possibilities!

Klaudia: I used Gorilla when working as a Research Assis­tant in addi­tion to doing my master’s degree. I valued the tools for being effi­cient and user friend­ly, and I loved the help I received from the Support Team at the time. When I was looking for a full-time posi­tion after grad­u­at­ing, I knew I would like to work for Gorilla so I got in touch and asked them if I could join!

Catri­ona: After two post­docs, I started to realise acad­e­mia wasn’t for me. I decided to look for roles in indus­try that involved my favourite parts of research (problem-solving, using my tech­ni­cal skills, com­mu­ni­cat­ing com­pli­cat­ed things in an easily under­stand­able way). I had used Gorilla for my research and I had worked for a small company before my PhD, so when a posi­tion came up, I decided to apply!

Will: My PhD funding was for three years only (with no option for obtain­ing more) so when savings started to run dry in the middle of my fourth year, I knew I needed more than bar work to make it through. A friend men­tioned to Jo and Nick at Caul­dron that I was looking for work and “knew how to code”. They agreed to take me on for a couple of weeks to see how it went — nearly six years later and I’m still here. So I guess I did some­thing right!

Megan: As the major­i­ty of my under­grad­u­ate degree move online due to the pan­dem­ic, I used Gorilla for my dis­ser­ta­tion project. I had so much fun with it! Once I grad­u­at­ed, I saw Gorilla adver­tise a role within their Support Team and I couldn’t miss the oppor­tu­ni­ty to work on such an excit­ing product that I gen­uine­ly enjoyed using myself.

Jade: I’d used Gorilla in both my post­docs and I really believed in the company’s goals and values. Around the time that I realised the aca­d­e­m­ic path wasn’t right for me, and that I wanted to use my research skills in indus­try instead, a job came up at Gorilla. I was encour­aged to apply, so I did!

Johanna: I joined Gorilla during the last year of my PhD. During the pan­dem­ic, all my research had to be moved online, as labs were closed, and I learned how to use Gorilla from being a user myself. I always liked how intu­itive it was to build exper­i­ments, and how fast you could collect data and lit­er­al­ly watch par­tic­i­pants taking part in your study. 

 

What is your favourite part of the job?

 

Catri­ona: I love cre­at­ing new samples and tuto­ri­als for our users. It’s all the fun of experiment design without any of the pres­sure to publish the results!

Johanna: The problem-solving, def­i­nite­ly. I like trying out new things (for example, our new tools) and when I get stuck, even better, it forces me to think twice and find a way to solve the problem. This is also what I enjoy with answer­ing users’ ques­tions about Gorilla: helping others is the most reward­ing experience!

Klaudia: Being direct­ly involved in helping researchers to launch their studies and there­fore con­tribut­ing to progress in behav­iour­al science — it’s inter­est­ing and gives me enor­mous satisfaction!

Jade: I get to work in amazing team and use all my favourite research skills such as exper­i­men­tal design, data analy­sis,  and problem solving to support our users with their own research projects. Helping a user go from “I’m stuck” to “I know what I’m doing!” is so reward­ing! I can take all I learn from our users forward to my role leading Cus­tomer Success.

Will: As most of my time is spent with the devel­op­ment team, the support desk gives me an oppor­tu­ni­ty to see first hand the things users are having dif­fi­cul­ties with. This then informs our devel­op­ment work, so we can make the tools simpler/more intu­itive in the future.

Megan: I love that I’m always learn­ing new things. Inter­act­ing with users, learn­ing about their research and helping bring that to life within Gorilla is so satisfying.

Hannah: I get to work in psy­chol­o­gy, and spend my whole day problem solving research methods ques­tions, and helping others achieve their goals. Every day brings new puzzles to solve, and some cool research to learn about. My col­leagues have quickly become awesome friends. Hon­est­ly, dream job!

 

What is the most chal­leng­ing aspect of your job?

 

Will: Some­times a user will want to do some­thing that really isn’t pos­si­ble in the online envi­ron­ment. Even when you know you’ve exhaust­ed all other options, saying “This isn’t pos­si­ble at the moment” is still really hard. It moti­vates us to always be inno­vat­ing, to stay on top of the latest devel­op­ment in the online world. One day, we’ll be able to “actu­al­ly, you’re in luck…”

Jade: Whilst our tools are really pow­er­ful, users are so inno­v­a­tive and they often come up with ideas for their research that our tools don’t cur­rent­ly support. It’s hard when some­thing is only pos­si­ble with script­ing and a user doesn’t have con­fi­dence with doing that them­selves. However, our new suite of tools are expand­ing to include as many common requests as pos­si­ble. We’re start­ing to be able to say “yes! you can do that!” even more than ever before. It’s so exciting!

Hannah: Some­times, our users need help taking a vague descrip­tion of a research par­a­digm, and trans­form­ing that into some­thing you can think about screen by screen — only then can I start to help them with using our tools! Gorilla can do so much, so it’s always rough on the rare occa­sions that we find some­thing it can’t do. Our list of new fea­tures to add is never-ending — we love being able to say yes!

Johanna: Not to miss meet­ings or forget working hours: some­times, I become so pas­sion­ate about build­ing an experiment, that is is hard to keep track of all the other things going on!

Klaudia: Having to under­stand com­pli­cat­ed design and advis­ing on advanced fea­tures — it keeps me stim­u­lat­ed and helps me grow though!

Catri­ona: Finding the clear­est and most intu­itive way to explain fea­tures to our users. It can be a multi-stage, trial-and-error process, but when you help someone reach a point of under­stand­ing, it’s very rewarding!

Megan: It can some­times be tricky to figure out exactly what a user wants to achieve, espe­cial­ly when the exper­i­men­tal design is very complex. But I love being able to help them reach that ‘Aha!’ moment, and I always learn some­thing along the way.

 

What do you love about our users?

 

Megan: Their cre­ativ­i­ty! Our users are always pushing the bound­aries of what Gorilla can do to bring their research online. It’s amazing to be a part of it.

Klaudia: That they come from such various back­grounds, doing lots of cool research and you get to support them in that process. Also that they are kind and gen­er­ous in showing their grat­i­tude — that really encour­ages you to do your best at work!

Jade: I’d been active­ly doing aca­d­e­m­ic research for 9 years — I know that our users are dealing with all sorts of stress­es in their work life. But they’re so pas­sion­ate about their research projects, and so kind and full of grat­i­tude when we help them get unstuck. The cre­ativ­i­ty and inno­va­tion that they show us in their work is phenomenal!

Will: Our users are inno­vat­ing just as much as we are. Seeing the way people combine dif­fer­ent things togeth­er (in a way I couldn’t have envis­aged) and the inno­v­a­tive research they’re making pos­si­ble online… it just con­tin­ues to be an inspiration.

Catri­ona: They used to be my col­leagues and stu­dents, so I under­stand their strug­gles! They’re under a lot of pres­sure but they still have the drive and passion to do research that increas­es our under­stand­ing of the world, which is really admirable.

Johanna: I find it fas­ci­nat­ing that our users are working in so many dif­fer­ent places across the world, in so many dif­fer­ent fields and on so many projects, but all of them are using Gorilla! To learn from them is some­thing I really enjoy.

Hannah: Almost every one of them is absolute­ly lovely. It’s great to be part of this amazing research com­mu­ni­ty. Every­one gets stressed by tech, espe­cial­ly close to dead­lines. Being able to help out? Priceless!

 

 

What is your favourite random fact?

 

Hannah: Just one? Sea otters have pockets for their favourite rocks. Snakes are born with a small tooth to help them escape the egg, it drops off after they hatch (not all snakes, some snakes are live at birth). Whoops. Two facts. Sue me!

Klaudia: Pen­guins spend a long time search­ing through piles of pebbles to find the smoothest, most perfect ones. They then present the perfect pebble to their love inter­ests to attract and com­mu­ni­cate their inten­tions for start­ing a family. Adorable! 🐧

Megan: There are a species of jel­ly­fish that can revert their cells back to a pre­vi­ous stage in their life­cy­cle. In perfect con­di­tions there is no limit to how many times this can happen. Basi­cal­ly an immor­tal jel­ly­fish! Mind blowing.

Jade: Male bower­birds attract female bower­birds with elab­o­rate decor. He’ll build a bower, which is a hut-like struc­ture filled with care­ful­ly arranged colour­ful trea­sures he’s col­lect­ed such as berries, shells, leaves, and feath­ers. They’ve even been observed cre­at­ing forced per­spec­tive optical illusions!

Catri­ona: In the Greek version of the Sponge­Bob SquarePants theme song, ‘SquarePants’ is not men­tioned until the last line. This is because ‘SquarePants’ in Greek has 8 syl­la­bles (Tetragonopan­telo­nis)!

Johanna: Arabian horses have one less lumbar ver­te­bra, one less rib and one less tail bone than all other horses. It makes their appear­ance quite unique.

Will: One of the first mods that came out for Skyrim (ten years ago?!?!) replaced all of the spiders with bears. It’s good to know that other people dislike spiders as much as I do!

 

Inter­est­ed in joining the team?

We’re often on the lookout for smart, helpful people who like Science, Tech­nol­o­gy and Getting Things Done to join our team — if that sounds like you, check out any current vacan­cies on our careers page: https://gorilla.sc/careers/