James Governor's Monkchips

RedMonk As a Pilotage Company

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Waterfront Scene

From Wikipedia:

“A pilot is a mariner who guides ships through dangerous or congested waters, such as harbours or river mouths. However, the pilot is only an advisor, as the master remains in legal, overriding command of the vessel.

Pilotage is one of the oldest, least-known professions, and yet it is one of the most important in maritime safety. The economic and environmental risk from today’s large cargo ships makes the role of the pilot essential.”

I had just finished a call with a client today, first day back from my vacation, when it struck me that often RedMonk is tasked with helping to steer a big ship in a different direction. Not easy- but often essential in business. I tweeted accordingly:

redmonk as a pilotage company. we can steer ships large and small into port. we know the local waters and can help avoid obstacles.

The Wikipedia definition, frankly adds a lot to the thought… “the pilot is only an advisor”. We can’t of course make our clients take our advice, but that doesn’t lessen its value.

I also really love the painting I found on Flickr… Waterfront Scene, 1934, oil on canvas by Pino Janni, so redolent of hard work and long days. RedMonk identifies and works with practitioners, the makers and doers. We spend as much time with with longshoremen as ship’s captains – which gives our advice a solid grounding in practice.


  1. RedMonk As a Pilotage Company http://bit.ly/bDJ1vO no.. not Pinotage… 😉
    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  2. Although the nautical reference is nice idea, given Red Monk’s business model I don’t see you as the pilot. The pilot steers the ship, takes responsibility, has liability and practical experience in a particular port. I would see Red Monk more as the guy in the port that you might buy a map from. Maybe even a secret map that no one else has that will help the pilot steer through port. The secret Red Monk map was drawn up from watching other pilots steer through that and other ports.

    I don’t mean to be negative or burst your bubble but really when was the last time you ‘steered the ship’? Steering a ship and giving advise on how to steer a ship are very different things.

    I generally enjoy your posts but perhaps you ‘steered’ a little off the reality course.

  3. points well made Randy. We do indeed usually provide guidance – we can help with the rudder but we don’t parachute in consultants and take over the business process.

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