James Governor's Monkchips

Blammo: Pulling The Trigger on a new Video Series about Data. Actuate as enlightened Patron.

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So data is at the nexus of pretty much everything awesome in tech right now. Hadoop is changing the world, Big Data is the air we breathe, businesses are finally waking up to the instrument-absolutely-everything-and-analyse-the-data-world.  The web has changed the world forever when it comes to analytics. If your business isn’t data driven get ready to be run over by competitors that you probably haven’t realised are competitors yet. RedMonk is not immune to the data contagion. We are currently hiring a data scientist and storyteller (watch this space) as we sell a our new voice + data plan to customers.

I have been working on a video series talking to issues around the changing data management and analysis landscape, and it kicks off today. The sponsor is Actuate, the People Behind Birt. I say sponsor but perhaps a better word is Patron, as per my take on the New Patronage economy. If this is pay for play then I am happy to play. Seriously. Actuate left the content totally to my discretion. I don’t talk about products in the video series, I just talk to the issues as I see them. Actuate will use the content to try and push traffic into its marketing funnel, but I have to say I am knocked out by the approach the firm has taken. Lets face it – a lot of analyst content paid for by vendors is just that – paid for- and it shows. RedMonk generally doesn’t do white papers because we are not about asking vendors for permission, we are not about quibbling over adjectives in publications, we are not about becoming a “message from our sponsors”. The message needs to be by us, for us. Its not our job to say how much vendor A rocks. Any analyst report without market context provids little or no value. I see it as the analysts role to provide market context, so if our reports don’t do that, well then… they are not analysis, they are PR.

We’re not going to go there, which is why I am so glad that RedMonk clients understand they’re playing a different game by different rules, because we’re playing a different game by different rules. To understand the new game you could do a lot worse than subscribe to Mike Maney aka @the_spindmd – this deck is hugely insightful about the new Social web of influence. Think Alcatel Lucent is staid? On the contrary – it has game.

So does Actuate. Lets face it – its easy for a new commercial open source startup to emerge around some code. The cost models and everything else make sense – especially with VC funding and an exit plan. But for an established proprietary player like Actuate to become an open source leader, as it has with BIRT, is much harder. New revenue models, new comms models, new everything models, and investors that don’t really understand how the world has changed because for them it hasn’t.

So I just want to thank Actuate for being a patron, and I really want the video series does drive some traffic. I’d appreciate it if you helped drum up some attention for it. Here is the first one – and yes I am sending you over there. The first topic is Using Visualisation For Discovery.

So finally back to the why of data. The punchiest deck I have seen on the value of data lately came from founder of Buyosphere Tara Hunt. It was written for company founders, but we all need to think more like them, because they are coming.


  1. Thanks for the callout, James. Really impressed with Actuate’s approach (and RedMonk’s, obviously). Hoping we’ll see more companies following their lead.

  2. Right on the money with that video. Exploratory visualization != explanatory visualization.

    How are people expected to engage with that video and the remainder of the series, though — just link to it? I was kind of expecting a comments + trackbacks/tweets feed, like here.

    1. its a tough one donnie. its old traditional marketing meets new school patronage. 😉 that is – actuate wants to try and capture some inbound. its funnel thinking. could have been worse – i was worried there would be a strict registration wall! but i think they’re happy to let me post to monkchips and redmonktv going forward so lets see what we can do.

  3. Where’s the inbound gonna go, though? Looks like a landing page but without any obvious next step, any call to action. Nothing else on the page to do, no closing page on the video, etc.

  4. Oh, NM. The video page had a link named such that I didn’t expect it to go anywhere useful, just a video listing or something.

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