Working in a heavily research backed environment is one of the things I really enjoy about my job. Experimentation and measurement are central components to making progress in any 'hard problem' type of area and with that comes both delight and disappointment. It demands a certain persistence to continue to try new ideas when seemingly promising ones fall through but the pay-off follows eventually. For me, that reward is actually making something better, getting it production ready, and see its impact take hold in the wild.
I love shipping things.
(this post was inspired by the the most delightful xkcd)