If there is a single gotcha in hiring industry analysts its hiring someone that you later find out can’t write.
I can’t tell you how many times I have had the conversation with people that run analyst firms or research groups. “The candidate seemed really good but we couldnt’ get them to write”.
Perhaps they can’t write fast enough. Perhaps they don’t know how to express themselves on the page. Perhaps they just have some weird mental block. Just like some people are afraid of public speaking, some others are evidently afraid of putting their thoughts down in written form.
But those people are never going to be really strong industry analysts. They might make a great consultant with enterprise clients, they might make a great back room research manager, but they are not going to cut it as an analyst.
To be an analyst you have to be able to write. How do you know if someone can write, in volume, and structure their thoughts effectively? Simple: read their blog.
A corrolary of this, in answer to the question How Do I Become An Industry Analyst, is that if you do want to become an analyst, start blogging. RedMonk certainly wouldn’t hire someone without solid communications skills. I think other analyst firms, even if they plan to make someone stop blogging when they join, because they are part of the “dont get it” generation, will increasingly use the simple mechanism of reading blogs as part of their human resources programs.
At RedMonk we also like to think a sense of humour is a good thing. Sure we might hire a cold fish if they were incredibly well qualified but its far more likely we would hire someone that is going to fit into our emerging corporate culture – where fun and passion are touchstones, not afterthoughts. We want our clients to enjoy working with us. Readiung someone’s blog is a great to establish cultural fit before making an employment offer.
As we consider the future of the industry analyst business its clear that some deadwood is going to be cleared out, and I believe some bloggers will backfill those positions, either as independents, for the majors, or in one of the emerging federations. Things to do in the analyst business when you’re dead? Yes indeed.
You can also built credibility by being linked to by established analysts, or other well respected industry commentators. This credibility might add a few bucks to your starting salary.
Its not just my business that sees the value of bloggers. Morgan McLintic points out that being a blogger can help you get an internship in PR.
Want a job? Start blogging. Its the start of your portfolio for life.
This is the second post in a series. Here is the first.