Friday, March 23, 2007


Responding to Bill Barr and his thoughts on Industry Analysts

More thoughts on Bill Barr's blog posting...

In thinking about it, I am not sure that influence is all that important anymore to me. I think I could afford to give up a little bit in exchange for having more time to spend with my family. Every morning, the joy I receive from being able to put my son on the school bus is beyond description. If I could also be there when he gets home, that would be even better. Being in Kindergarten is a magical time in life and to see his face light up when he describes how he got Super Green and went to Treasure Chest is the type of influence we should all focus on. I think our perspectives on work/life balance are somewhat distorted.

My understanding of the industry analyst profession is that travel is somewhat limited. Of course they travel to conferences, probably more than I ever would get to do in my day job. Conferences happen to be in pretty nice locations such as Florida and California and when it is cold, I can appreciate being inconvienced in this regard. Analysts do also take on consulting assignments, but unlike an industry consulting such as Accenture, McKinsey or DiamondCluster, travelling is not really about commuting as your gig lasts for a week and then you get to see new places. Imagine if you lived in a really cool city such as Miami and you got a traditional consulting assignment where you had to fly every single week to some boring place such as Denver or Maine, it would get pretty tiring. As desperation sets in, you start to crave the mediocrity of having a fulltime corporate job so as to feel normal. If I had to hop a plane say once every other month with the acknowledgement that I probably would see different cities each job, I think that would be cool.

I still have a little bit of personal development before I even consider becoming an industry analyst. I am great at understanding both at a high-level and detail pretty much any technology in existence. I could do a great job of doing 1/2 hour briefings with any Fortune enterprise client where I get them to consume 20 minutes of time just talking about themselves and close out the remaining 10 minutes with cliche phrases emphasizing the importance of having a strong ROI, gaining business buy-in, start of small and being incremental, etc.

I still though have to figure out how to distill things down to ordinary understanding. The essence of an issue in that I probably would stuggle attempting to explain why every enterprise needs to embrace SOA in thirty seconds to an non-technical IT executive (Is this an oxymoron?) or other hype of the minute fill in the blank technology is still elusive. One of the traps that I always fall into is going down and not coming up for air. In terms of personal development, I was thinking about visiting Pratt & Whitney and finding someone there to allow me to moderate a conversation with someone equally clueless at Boeing. I could talk about why Boeing should only consider Pratt & Whitney engines, do lots of hand waving and talk about my experiences in the airline industry. After all, I have been a frequent flyer on many occasions. Hopefully this employee of Boeing could also tell me that he understands the corporate culture even though he has never been on an airplane in their lifetime. I guess it would be sufficient though if this individual did live in Seattle and Chicago and had a couple of Boeing employees as friends.

I haven't had the joy of having a conversation on something where I was utterly clueless with another individual who was equally clueless as I. Once I get this type of experience under my belt, I will be prepared for being an industry analyst...

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