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What is this Industry Analyst Gig?

James McGovern, ever curious about industry analysts, asks for more details in five questions.
While today marks only my 3rd week on the job, here’s some answers. Steve and James can add more detail. But, these are my views so far (the standard disclaimer applies: these are my thoughts, rather than The Word of RedMonk…what/where-ever that is ;>):

  1. Pay? I get a salary and bonuses.
  2. Getting Clients? Since RedMonk makes the majority of it’s money off subscriptions (companies buy blocks of our time to do consulting and other “micro” level work…briefings are free), we have to offer business value to clients. That is, we have to help them be better or, in the crude way I like putting it: make more money. Getting clients, then, is working the network of people you know and then trying to impress people in briefings, blogs, conferences, and one-on-one. By “impress” I mean do have a conversation with them where in the end they think, “oh, I should get more advice and consulting from this person/these guys.” Cold-calling isn’t on the list.
  3. The Growth of smaller firms? No one likes putting their cash flow out in public. RedMonk built up enough cash to hire me, so they seem to be doing well. I’m lucky to be involved with them ;> I don’t have data on other small firms; I’m not that plugged in yet. In a more abstract sense, I’m a strong believer in “Small is the New Big”. As a new generation of management comes in (people my age entering management), this trend/thinking will increase, as that new generation is highly suspicious and not too excited about large companies…unless they’re cool (Wal-Mart vs. Target, for example), but that’s another post.
  4. Conferences? Putting on traditional conferences seems too costly without enough payoff (to clients and us) for the way we do business. I don’t suspect our clients would find much value in them — other than swanky digs ;> Now, what I’m interested in doing is helping out with unconferences and even starting our own. I need to get some experience under my belt to figure that idea out, but it seems like the way to go, and definitely inline with the previous point. One of the key points that mirrors my idea of “open source analysis” is that anyone can come to an unconference (for free) and anyone can try (with the blessing of the crowd) to set the agenda. That’s one of the kinds of conversation that we thrive in and help our clients squeeze maximum value from.
  5. How to interact with industry analysts? There’s three ways that I’ve found people interact with us:
    1. Briefings: a company/group tells us about something they’re doing (usually a product). We ask them questions to get an understanding, and give a fair amount of free advice. The goal of the interaction is to give us information (to get “on the map” and for viral/Word-of-Mouth marketing) and get a sense for what we think and could do (for hire).
    2. Consulting: a company/group wants to run something (product management, marketing, biz relationship, and other strategy) by us. We discuss every aspect in great detail. The goal of this interaction is to use RedMonk’s advice to improve and/or make better the topic in question. See “make more money” above ;>
    3. Blogs: well, here we are…. People leave comments, links/trackbacks, or their own posts, and we carry on a blog-conversation. The goal here is to do what humans do: talk, socialize, and hash things out.

    And, of course, there’s face to face.

There you have it: overall impressions from the past 3 weeks.

As I’ve said to many people, I’ve been having a great time. The exciting thing about starting at a new job is that there’s never a boring moment. While I certainly haven’t reached my zenith when it comes to maximizing my output, I feel like the way I use my time is valuable. That’s the a great benefit of being small: there simply isn’t room to do irrelevant, or even half-relevant things. In that sense, being at a smaller firm feels very Agile: the positive pressures of YAGNI, high customer interaction, and open-ended planning pay off if you can structure your organization accordingly.

Categories: The Analyst Life.

Comment Feed

3 Responses

  1. When are we getting a Red Monk podcasts?

  2. Sometime soon. Nailing down all 3 people can be difficult 😉

  3. So how does one know if they should bother applying for a position if they don’t have any idea on compensation? Stephen posted that many folks who applied in the past made more than him but how were they supposed to know?