I came across Richard Monson-Haefel’s blog today and I am impressed.
Its the first blog I have seen that opens the kimono about the working life of an industry analyst at one of the major firms, in this case, Burton Group. How, for example, research agenda planning processes work, in When Analysts Collide.
The restriction of the kind of working environment Richard describes is one of the reasons I am very happy to be working more independently. If me or Stephen spent three days researching a topic and didnt even get a blog out of it, I would fear for our future… but I understand that adversarial peer review has a role to play in the industry analyst business. A vicious peer review was a famous and well established part of the Meta Group hiring process. If you got through a session presenting to the firm’s senior analysts without them tearing you and your idea a new one, Meta was confident you would thrive in their mountain goat environment.
A big difference at RedMonk is that we look to the community, rather than just our internal colleagues, for peer review on our ideas. We’re more bazaar than cathedral. The community (hopefully of many eyeballs) tightens up our thinking and irons out our bugs. That is one of the reasons we value our super platinum mega value readers so much. They don’t pay us money, but they do drive our research forward. People like Stephe Walli, Jaime Cardoso, Mike Champion (now there is a chap that will force you to be rigorous through incredibly polite disagreement), Gary Edwards (when 2c is worth a lot more than that), Bobby Woolf and Bill Higgins (IBMers that aren’t client types but push us hard on issues like patterns, SOA and standards), James McGovern (enterprise architect seeks open source analysis for friendship and maybe more, must strong sense of irony), The Two Neils (work at a competitor, or is MWD a collaborator? Both.), Alex Barnett (dragging us all into the future). One of the people I am writing this blog for is Ryan Tomayko, because he says my technical analysis is ok, but my analysis of the business I work in is really interesting. Well now you can add Richard to your blogroll).
So that is how RedMonk works. And this is how Burton does.
You should look to industry analysis on a blog like tecosystems, but Richard is doing something different with his blog. Let me explain: while RedMonk uses blogs as a primary mechanism for our conversations with the market, to underpin a collaboration with those outside our firm, as a primary publishing vehicle, other industry analyst firms take a different approach, based on their history.
What Richard is doing is opening up the business with a blog that takes the venerable daily diary form. The blog helps to demystify the business, which has to be a good thing. I really like it when Richard calls out, for example, the importance of admitting you don’t know the answer. Analysts in my experience HATE doing that – but oftentimes saying “I don’t know” is the only way you can really help your client.
Welcome to my blogroll Richard, and welcome to my community.