This is a personal note about a professional decision. You might not be interested. If you are, read on. I’ll try to be brief.
I’ve had a very fulfilling two years as an independent analyst, succeeding beyond my expectations. I established (or continued) a respected brand, gathered several thousand twitter followers, drew 80,000 blog views in 18 months, wrote a number of well-regarded papers, keynoted events, conducted webinars and interviews, and was consulted by the largest companies in our industry as well as emerging, exciting smaller ones. I collaborated with other independents and made new friends everywhere. Financially, I had the two best years of my career. Valley View Ventures, my business agent, has made it smooth and painless on every side, and Fred Abbott is a great friend, mentor and business partner.
Whew. All that said, it surprises a lot of my friends and colleagues that I have decided to accept a position as a Vice President in Research for Gartner effective January 2011. So: Why?
First: if you’re going to take one more run at Big Firm research, it makes sense to do it with the biggest and best. I will be working with people I already know and respect, on the Data Management and Integration team, where I will get to work with colleagues and friends like Mark Beyer, Andy Bitterer, Donald Feinberg and Ted Friedman, to name just a few .
Second: I will have the chance to work with a huge primary research engine, which I’ve missed as an indie, and get back to working with users of technology again, which I have not done for years. The analysts on the team I’m joining each routinely perform and document several hundred user inquiries every quarter. Add the surveys and the primary data from the Dataquest side of the house, and you can see that I’m choosing a place where the opportunities for primary research are greatly enhanced.
Third: the chance to interact directly with users all over the world is an attractive prospect. Gartner offers me a regular diet of big conferences: speeches, one-on-ones and collaborating regularly with colleagues on a shared agenda – sounds like fun to me. I’ve missed it. And I can’t think of a better place to do it.
Fourth: I’m still deeply interested in how to reconcile the big firm, subscription research model with new age twittersphere and blogosphere media. I hope to jostle Gartner into tolerating my continued participation in the social media sphere I have come to love. There are no guarantees there – no doubt I will find myself bumping into barriers, and I have no illusions. But that happens everywhere. I’m going to take a crack at finding a way to make it work, and I think it can.
Finally, it’s a great moment. Not only is the macroeconomic picture turning up (and even if it stalls for a while, I’m confident that will pass), the information technology industry is more exciting and dynamic than it has been for years. I will have the best vantage point in the world. And a great platform to offer my thoughts from – and have them tested. I will learn, and (hopefully) teach more than ever.
That’s always been what this is about. When I worked in the vendor community, I had jobs that involved briefing analysts. Every time I came home from a briefing tour, I told everyone that analysts have the best job in the world. I still think so. And the best is yet to come – it’s going to be a great ride. I’ll still be here on my blog – hope you’ll join me.
Sage Circle interviewed me and kindly posted a recording of the conversation. You can find it here.