Ongoing Lessons

Christine Overby [Posted by Christine Overby]

Last week, Jeremiah Owyang, an analyst on the Interactive Marketing team that I manage, caught flak for comments that he made on his personal blog about the community vendor Mzinga. As you might expect, we both have been communicating with Mzinga's Chairman Barry Libert and other members of his team. At the same time, Jeremiah has been reflecting on the conversation begun by the post. So have I.

 

All of us at Forrester have learned from this. We have a blogging policy. I’m using this as an opportunity to reinforce these guidelines with bloggers on my team. So are other Research Directors. Forrester will continue to update these guidelines regularly as we gain new insights. Treat your social media policy as a living, breathing thing – I think these are good words for analyst firms and clients alike.

 

I am thinking too about the relationship between our research – which is, well, highly-researched and planned – and our social media contributions which are more informal. Should an analyst refrain from stating opinions in social media because it’s more organic? I don’t think so. But can we modify our tone and conclusions to reflect the more spontaneous nature of social tools? Absolutely.

 

Analysts will continue to participate in the Groundswell. At the same time, we’re still learning like everyone else here. As such, I welcome the dialogue and your comments.

Comments

re: Ongoing Lessons

Hi, Christine. We've had a lively discussion on analyst bloggers over on my blog - 20 comments form some interesting folks. If interested, tyou can find it at http://snipr.com/equ5d

re: Ongoing Lessons

Christine,Analysts carry lots of influence within the business world and, I believe, should refrain from saying anything unsupported by the facts. If I were Mzinga's Chairman Barry Libert, I would be more than a little angry with Jeremiah Owyang and request disciplinary action be taken.I worked with Fortune 1000 businesses and contributed to our financial analyst reports. We would never tolerate rumor mongering or reporting based on rumor. What Jeremiah did, although not a Wall Street analyst, could have a likely might have affected Mzinga's brand and its short-term potential for maximizing revenues. I expect more from Forrester.I'm sure Jeremiah is smart and a nice guy and I have followed his writings for over a year. However, he made a horrible error in judgement. I for one cannot trust anything he says or writes, and he will need to create some terrific work to have any chance of regaining my trust.

re: Ongoing Lessons

I think this a great example of a pervasive Forrester arrogance. Jeremiah has become increasingly self- absorbed since joining. Not everything goes away with a rote "I'm listening" response.

re: Ongoing Lessons

Merv - Good to hear from you, and thanks for pointing to a great discussion. I hope that you are well.Lewis and Jack - It makes me sad to hear that we've lost your confidence. My hope is that our future actions after thinking long and hard about this win back your trust.

re: Ongoing Lessons

I was wondering how you charge large sums of money for expert input on subjects you yourselves have not mastered ie: "we’re still learning like everyone else here" Interesting excuse!

re: Ongoing Lessons

I think it speaks well of Forrester that you and Jeremiah have taken accountability in a public way. (Jeremiah posted an apology on his blog, too.) Especially in the realm of social media, yes, we are all learning, even practitioners and counselors. While it's true we hold industry watchers to a higher standard for good reason, no one is perfect. Your reaction has increased my confidence in Forrester. By the way, I've found Jeremiah to by very open to pushback and counter-opinions in our conversations.

re: Ongoing Lessons

Completely disagree! If Forrester and Jeremiah "talk the talk" then they must also "walk the walk"

re: Ongoing Lessons

Hi Hans, thank you for replying. I believe Forrester is indeed walking the walk in three ways: 1) being transparent; 2) being accountable; and 3) inviting our comments on this blog and on Jeremiah's.

re: Ongoing Lessons

Errare humanumest. Error is human.I do not know arrogant Forrester consultant. Some of them are really too expensive ;)I do not want to have consultants just writing back what they were told by software vendors (everything is great !). So may be you should split your presentation in two parts: "factual analysis" following Forrester rules and "personal statements" more subject to me as a human as think that and I may be wrong. As a european, I do not want forrester to become systematically politically correct. I want forrester to systematically assess open source in front of big vendors, ask the questions vendors do not want to hear and provide very good analysis, near to your regions habits.If the finance system is able to kill a company because of few lines in a blog, then I think, they should ask some questions about how they work. By the way, the finance system showed how trustable and controlled it is.So long live Forrester, be less expensive and stay arrogant when needed.