Do Industry Analysts Matter?

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Conventional wisdom says, “Yes”. But we are generally skeptical of conventional wisdom at Atlassian. We like it when people try new models that are more customer friendly and by doing so, are successful. Like transparent pricing and product information.

Industry analysts are often viewed as a necessary evil, which may not be fair always. But there’s always a question: who paid for their opinion?

That’s why I really like the analyst firm Red Monk who says:

    “You should, in our opinion, be skeptical of all of the research you read. Every piece we publish is free to anyone, and every piece will disclaim who’s paying us and who is not.”

I also like what Red Monk focuses on:

    “We’re very open about the fact that we’re primarily oriented towards bottom up adoption. In practical terms, this means that if your main goal in life is getting on a CIO’s radar, we’re not the firm for you. There are plenty of firms that will (try to) do that for you. Our focus is instead on the grassroots, the bottom up adoption that’s made successes of projects that you may have heard of like Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP. Those projects, in case you hadn’t heard, didn’t get to where they are today by virtue of CIOs.”

So here are my disclaimers: Atlassian has not hired Red Monk, James Governor [Red Monk #1] gave me a T shirt and some stickers, and I had to pay for my own lunch, and his, while at Java One. But we did get to spend some time together last week in San Francisco here…
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Sun, who does pay Red Monk to do work, gave them a community day venue at Java One. It is remarkable that Red Monk did not pay for this incredible opportunity. Jonathan Nolen and I attended, and it was well worthwhile because it was not a prognostication platform for Analyst Speak but rather an open exchange facilitated by the Monks.

5 responses to “Do Industry Analysts Matter?

  1. Pingback: tecosystems » links for 2007-05-14

  2. Jeff,

    Rather than ask the question “Do industry analysts matter?” you should ask “Does the advice and opinion I am reading [or listening to, or paying for] matter to me?”

    Why? It’s about perception and context.

    A few responses to that question might be “It depends on who is giving the advice. Do I trust this person? What are his/her credentials? Does s/he have relevant/actual experience and expertise to answer my questions? Does s/he have references?”. A cynic such as myself might add “What is his/her agenda?” and “Does s/he have a stake in the outcome of my decision?”.

    The same questions apply, whether the advice originates from consultants, employers, employees, family, friends, strangers, service providers, media outlets or your government.

    When you seek advice, you’ll naturally give more weight to the opinions of those whom you perceive to be reliable, trustworthy resources. And even more weight to those who align with your own beliefs. For some, those resources include analysts/consultants with whom they agree, or who force them to see things from a different perspective.

    As an aside, debating whether a particular analyst, or analyst firm’s opinion is “right” or valuable is about as effective as debating the validity and value of Roe v. Wade. There is no right answer – only that which you perceive to be right. And, more often than not, you’re going to prefer resources that align with your own perceptions, biases and agendas.

  3. Joe — Agreed. Trust, expertise, background matter. Your points are all valid. I was instead focusing on the prevalent knee-jerk tendency to use analysts or rely on them. Clearly I think James and Red Monk are taking a refreshing approach. Thanks

  4. Pingback: James Governor’s Monkchips » The future of music: Duane seeks lead guitarist

  5. Pingback: Open Source Links: 14-05-2007 | Commercial Open Source Software

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