James Governor's Monkchips

A RedMonk Service: match-making smartups and suppliers?

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That’s right, “smartups”, the get it people, the kind of folks the RedMonk network tends to attract. People that get things done, often by cutting through process. Smartups (of course someone already thought up that neologism, although my meaning is a bit different) may actually be departments or guerillas within much larger firms, or just a single developer or a druid walking down the street.

We often deal with people that are incredibly talented, but also resource constrained-many of our best insights come from those folks. But we also deal with firms that have effectively limitless resources in comparison – the IBMs and Microsofts of the world.

Sometimes we help smartups within those large corporations to make change happen. The thing is, we’re very good at having conversations with smartups and knowing what is going on, while big vendors invariably find it difficult to focus there. Of course we’re not so good at talking to the mainstream and late adopters- the area in which Gartner’s awesome firepower is amassed.

Should we then formalise our ability to find great opportunities for leading edge software and hardware, and great great hardware and software, as loaners, or freebies, or cheap, or free-supported? At the moment RedMonk tends to do this on an ad-hoc basis, as “part of the service”. But it pays to document the value you bring (one reason Cote is so excellent is his perverse enjoyment of documentation, he makes it part of his flow). Then you can find new ways to automate or market it. RedMonk doesn’t do enough of this, so I thought I would throw this out there.

One way we might move forward with such a service would be to subset and augment an aggregated online RFP microformat service. The data would be free for technorati style aggregation, while RedMonk’s edge would be our relationships with the folks that wanted something, or could supply something, or the the new opportunities we saw.

We like innovation and seeing things put into practice. So we’d surely like to help. Am I barking?

One of my ambitions for this year is to start transforming RedMonk from a group of really smart people into a platform. Where is the RedMonk API anyway? I can see Stephen’s eyes rolling now, but that’s the old dialectic for you. It could be that formalising our enviable position as a nexus for innovation, capital and so on is the way to go.

Stowe Boyd takes no prisoners but he has some really good insights. One of them is giving the notion of advisory capital a name. I think the service I am thinking about could be seen in the light. But it also clearly plays into vendor relationship management (bulldogged by Doc Searls) in that the approach I envisage is very much two way. Vendors want to attract the hottest ideas, which puts the people with those ideas, and the skills to implement them, in a very strong position.
Open source and SaaS are both accelerating the need for smartup matching. Sure open source can bring down some costs, but what about hardware, or software that isn’t yet freely available? It may be that Amazon’s EC2 and so on to some extent obviate the need for intermediaries. But not yet. And I am willing to bet social will still be a big part of the equation.
So what do you think? Am I making sense?

In case you’re wondering the picture above is a match-making machine, courtesy of T’ai Li.

disclaimers: IBM is a patron. We already do smartup matching there. Microsoft is a client.


  1. Redmonk as Redheads – “matchmaking machine” – I like it. You definitely need to push “via:” in this scenario …

  2. […] I recently asked about a RedMonk innovation match-making service. I didn’t get so much as a morsel of feedback on the idea from my colleagues, so I assume it was a duff idea. Or maybe they just don’t read my blog.  […]

  3. […] valuable asset. I don’t know SAP so well, but I am already doing match-making there. We also match-make across organisational boundaries, but sometimes insiders need outsiders to make things happen. It can be be […]

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