I wrote a post last week about the positive impact Twitter is having on industry analysts collaborating across company boundaries. It seems to me the more ideas we share, the more ideas we peer review, the more we make ourselves available, the better the business will be. But of course- I have bias towards open.
What about those that see the world differently. What is the flip side to my argument? Just ask @merv. He recently wrote a post, that when I read it didn’t surprise me at all, although I have not yet come across the behaviour:
Colleagues have recently told me of a disturbing AR/PR practice they’ve run into of late: some vendors have asked them to refrain from tweeting about the plan to have a briefing. Why? They don’t want others not being briefed to know about it.
But this “pssst…don’t tell anyone we’re talking” thing is something else entirely. It smacks of gamesmanship, of opacity, and feels like the inverse of the suspicion some AR folks have about whether some analysts will talk to you if you don’t pay. This isn’t “All The President’s Men” here – we’re not meeting in a garage at midnight to talk about the fate of the country. Get over it. Don’t make me complicit in some private clique.
Well said Merv. I have always found the notion of a private clique defining what is good for the enterprise to be the wrong way to go about things. It already worried me that industry analysts have access to privileged information that we’re not able to share with the market, but which two or three hundred of my colleagues in the analyst business have access to. Considering the amount of expenditure the analyst business claims to influence I have always found the potential for conflict of interest rather too high for the kind of “default to NDA” that is now illegal in the world of financial analysis.
But the behaviour Merv identifies take this chilling effect to a somewhat obscene level. The first rule of vendor briefings is… don’t talk about vendor briefings. That is just crazy. If vendors want to make me third tier and not brief me then so be it, but please be upfront about it. Of course you have resource constraints, particularly in these parlous times, and you can’t invite everybody to everything. I know some vendors are more top down in their messaging, and prefer not to talk to RedMonk – that’s ok, if sometimes annoying. But trying to cajole colleagues at other analyst firms not to say who they are talking to – that way madness lies.
Secrecy has a cost of administration. Why make your life even more difficult by trying to make the analysts you work with keep even more secrets? Its a law of diminishing returns.
Come into the light, people. Its nice out here – with full transparency and disclosure. Really it is.