ARmadgeddon asked so I am responding.
While there are circumstances where secrecy is needed-notably in advisory consulting- it is often overused.
There is no reason why we couldnt podcast more briefings. Indeed- Dana Gardner is building a business in that space. The likes of David Berlind and Dan Farber at ZDNet are driving a notion that the conversation should be recorded, to ensure both parties are properly treated.
The flipside- a very senior executive once told me something in a briefing that appeared on my blog. Unhappiness ensued. I wish I had known the quote was off limits. I even pushed back at the time and asked if he stood by the statement. But then I was the bad guy for reporting it.
It goes back to this:
“In today’s Web 2.0, conversations are in the open: blogs force corporations to rethink the line between what needs to be protected (actively) and what can be left in the wild.”
Tell us what needs to be kept secret and we’ll respect that. But that means you need to know what your pearls are.
We would happily delete a section from a podcast, whether a briefing or not, if there was a danger of collateral damage.
Its probably best to avoid saying something in a briefing that you wouldn’t want to see reported though. That just seems like common sense to me – even if it is, say, FUD against a competitor.
Of course we allso protect the confidences of our customers’ customers. We will talk to end users on an NDA basis.
Of course we would prefer it if those conversations were fair game too. Enterprise adoption proof points are gold dust.
In the financial analyst sector there are now laws in place against selective disclosure. The industry analyst space has no such legal constraints, but I personally would be happier if there were.
I also don’t think business done in dark smoky rooms tends to the public good, and as the majority shareholder at RedMonk I am not letting down my shareholders by respecting and encouraging the public good. We believe in transparency. For personal reasons and because we think it makes good business sense.
The information should be made public – that’s the purpose of a briefing isn’t it?
Taking this a bit further – I don’t like pre-briefings far in advance of the actual news. In fact I have even been considering a policy that RedMonk would only take pre-briefs from clients, to enable us to take calls from press and so on when the shoe drops. But otherwise we’re just keeping someone else’s secret, for a month or something, then you have to do a bunch of dat tracking and othersuch, to make sure you don’t mess up.
We want knowledge we can use. I want to blog the news. I want to tell people what I know.
Secrecy incurs management and administration costs.
Of course if we were a white paper analyst firm we might want time to get a puff piece ready before the announcement date. But we’re not a white paper analyst firm. We’re an advisory firm.
Secrets are barriers to participation, which is not the preferred RedMonk way.
Can we keep secrets? Absolutely.
A related though not synonymous iussue: will we sign blanket NDAs – we dont like to, but if we have to to come to a conference or something we will.
Tell us something is secret and it will remain so. But please have a good reason, for your own sake as much as ours.
Finally I want to stress one more time in case I wasn’t clear.
Secrecy is appropriate in some contexts, and our business depends on it to be honest.
But there is no reason many of our briefings couldn’t be podcasts.
disclaimer: I am terrible at recording all the briefings we take. I wish I did better. Cote is a much better at documentation.