So Marillion maven Jon Collins from MWD has been thinking about what analysts do, in the context of reading everything Malcolm Gladwell ever wrote, and Wisdom of the Crowdstoo.
When I read the Tipping Point, I saw a lot of myself in the “types” as well. When I read Blink I thought – aha so that’s what I do: thin slicing… And Wisdom of the Crowds – its our future, we just need to invent it.
I am going to quote Jon in depth but read his article too:
Something else has also struck me quite hard about these books – that they seem to be written all about me, or at least me as an analyst. Now then, now then, this isn’t a cue for some over-indulgent self-absorption by a narcissistic blogger. Or perhaps it is – but let me explain what I mean. The books actually all seem to be written about the IT analyst business, and how it actually serves the needs of the IT industry as a whole. For example: the Tipping Point describes the law of the few, and talks about connectors (people who know lots of people), mavens (saddo geek types that write articles such as this one, delving into the detail) and salespeople (those who present information so to inspire others to act). These are all analyst traits. Freakonomics is about looking for the real drivers behind the trends, delving deep in the data to help the bigger understanding of what’s going on. That’s an analyst job if ever I heard it. Blink concerns pattern-matching skills, and the ability to reach conclusions with only a handful of facts: an essential trait for any public-facing analyst. Finally – and here’s the humzinger – we have the Wisdom of Crowds. This is less about the analysts as individuals, as it recognises that everyone can be, and often is, wrong. The clincher is when an IT vendor takes a room full of analysts, pays for a hotel room and a nice meal, pitches to them and then asks for feedback. Ah, there’s the rub – the collective feedback is probably as good as a vendor is ever going to get in terms of advice, which is food for thought if anyone’s worried about the analysts exploiting their position by getting the free meal.
I haven’t read Freakonomics yet.