True, “You heard it here last” is the sometime motto of this space, but a week’s a bit much in this case. I’ll finger travel as the culprit – no surprise there – but also cite distraction. Every time I sat down to write about the news, you see, there was someone choosing to focus on a different angle.
Which reminds me: the news, if you haven’t heard it. RedMonk is expanding into the green and sustainability market, as signalled by the addition of Tom Raftery. With James, Tom will be working on our Greenmonk, the blog that grew into a product line.
Those “distracting” reactions to the news have been, generally, immensely gratifying. The new hire – who makes RedMonk 50% Irish, please note – has been nothing but recommended to us since the move. Other commenters focused on the novelty of the medium: much of the hiring back and forth transpired over (currently besieged) Twitter. And still others simply wrote in to wish us well, which was appreciated.
It was not until I read Jonny Bentwood’s interview with James, however, that I felt – finally – ready to comment. Because to me, this is as much about the green as it is about the green.
If you follow me.
While I make no claim to James’ level of passion on the subject, green issues are and have been a significant part of my existence for some time. I dutifully recycle, I buy from manufacturers that are committed to reducing their environmental footprint, I’m working on my bottled water habit, and I’m one of the few that believes that higher gas prices are (in the end) a good thing. Hell, even the seafood I eat here in Maine is only that which I know is responsibly harvested from sustainably managed fisheries.
That said, as the monk responsible for making certain that we get paid every month, I would not be on board with this direction were I not convinced that it had the potential to be a sustainable, profitable line of business with growth potential.
Do I know what direction the business will take, or if it will take off? Nope. As MySQL often says of its decisions, this is an experiment. But it’s an experiment with a solid thesis behind it, not to mention dollars. If I had a nickel for every time green had been mentioned in the past few years, I’d be doing quite well. And now, with oil well north of $100/barrell, well, let’s just say that we’d prefer to not keep leaving all those nickels on the table.
So please join me in welcoming Tom to RedMonk. Now, for those of you that are customers, curious, or bored, answers to a couple of the questions I’ve been asked since the news broke:
Q:What does this mean for RedMonk? Will you be focusing less on software,open source or the other subjects that I care about (i.e. not green stuff)?
A:No, not at all. You’ll still get all of the software coverage you’ve come to expect from us. Indeed, one of the reasons Tom was brought in was so that that specific scenario would not become an issue. RedMonk is now and will remain our core business going forward, and our commitment to it remains unaffected. Well, except for the fact that I had to spend five minutes adding the Greenmonk blog to the header above.
Q: Can I use my software hours to pay for green consulting?
A: The answer right now is probably not. In future, you’ll see us add products to the services page that incorporate both traditional RedMonk services and those added by Greenmonk, but at the moment they’re two individual lines of business. But talk to us if you have a specific need; as always, we try to work with customers to keep things as simple as possible.
Q: Do you feel that there synergies between green issues and software? Or is this just a business play?
A: Well, as discussed, it is absolutely a business play, but there are most certainly synergies between green issues and software and undoubtedly you’ll see those play out. I don’t what to pull a sweeps week style cross-promotion stunts or anything, but neither will we ignore the obvious and ongoing overlaps between the software that can make the world a greener place.
Q: Why did you add green and not, say, formal hardware coverage?
A: As with any other business opportunity, there are a number of factors that go into the decision: market opportunity, costs, resource availability, organizational fit, personal interests, and more. But you’ll just have to trust me that we’ve considered a great many options, in detail. If you’re still skeptical, ask James whether or not I make decisions such as this one lightly.
We simply believe there’s a business here. Whether or not we’re right about that remains, obviously, to be determined, but the forecast seems promising. And besides, we’re not done yet.
Q: With Greenmonk, James has folded his spare time blog into the business: should we expect the same from you?
A: No. It’s unlikely that we’re going to add Red Sox analysis as a line of business.