But – we haven’t even been intermediated yet…
The argument begins like this:
In the chatter around Will the Borg be dis-intermediated? and The Governor, ancient Iraq and Gartner it seems that the main points for disintermediation are a) information is readily available via Google searches and the blogosphere and b) the large analyst firms are slow to recognize new trends and their insights and quality are subpar.
I would argue RedMonk makes a somewhat different case regarding information utlity, and its not to do with consumption per se, but information sharing, publishing and accreting. Its not about google searches, its about building communities of interest. That is- one reason I see issues for traditional analyst firms is that, at least from what I can see, their business models tend to view IT managers and decision-makers as passive consumers of information, rather than active creators. Or possibly of market information that will be anonymised and then sold on to vendors.
I would tend to think Rupert Murdoch and Tom Glocer (thanks Jeff, for the speeches!) have both got it right though, and the status quo in media businesses is unsustainable.
Murdoch had this to say recently.
Societies or companies that expect a glorious past to shield them from the forces of change driven by advancing technology will fail and fall, he warned. That applies as much to my own, the media industry, as to every other business on the planet.
Feed technology, and working methods, are working for us. Of course as an analog the Rupert argument only talks to analyst firms as media businesses, and certainly most firms in the sector are also consulting organisations, and some are events companies as well.
Another reason trad firms could be disintermediated is their taxonomy gets stale and they end up defending it rather than rethinking it, just as IT vendors end up supporting cash cow legacies to the detriment of newer technology markets. They can’t react to change quickly enough, when so much darned money is on the line. They have a model to defend, whereas we tend to look at all of the available models, and work with them. Who is talking about the X Internet? Forrester spend a lot of cycles pushing that rock uphill.
RedMonk also casts different nets in many cases than other firms. Stephen, for example, probably spends more time with grassroots developers than many Gartner analysts, and his analysis is coloured accordingly and usefully.
Why should Rational talk to us? Because we closely track developer issues, for one. Why should Rational’s customers or prospects talk to us? For the same reason.
But back to the nature of the business.
If we accept media businesses are going to change pretty drastically over the next years or so, and I would argue this process is well underway, then its the incumbents that are in the headlights, not small firms trying to do something different. Lets see if Dana’s model works before we count him out.
And as for the events business. Remember Comdex? Does anyone like Cebit? The reason people like Symposium is its about people. Rock on.
Finally I should say maybe RedMonk wants to be disintermediated. We want our information to be everywhere. We want others to aggregate it. Really simple syndication, not controlled by conglomerates, but by interested parties. Intermediation at the end points, not the center.
That’s one thing about feed/portal duality – is it an RSS feed, or is it a portal? I don’t know, but I do know we’re growing both feed subscribers and page hits.
If our customers and information sources, and collaborators start to tell us they don’t want to talk to use or our services, then we’ll worry. But thanks for the link.