These are indeed “interesting times” to be an influencer of any form, not least as we see the democratisation of influence – interestingly, not a term that has yet been adopted particularly widely. It is a timeless truth that every human being has an opinion, which is expressed more or less willingly; what has changed is the mode of expression, the Internet providing a voice louder even than the loudest rock band in the universe.
Whether or not this is a welcome change is a moot point, particularly for organisations who have made their money controlling the flow of such expression, such as news organisations and, indeed, industry analysts. The fact is that the guy in the bar now has global reach, and the rest of the world has to deal with that fact.
To the point – what can we learn as industry analysts? To me it’s simple – our role and privilege is to spend time learning about what is going on, and to draw insightful conclusions that can then be fed back for the common good. While many may have time to think about aspects, it is a rare luxury to be able to do this as a career, without the distractions of what many would consider to be a real job. We’re standing on the shoulders of giants – one set of insights and conclusions serve as inputs to the next level of analysis, and thus can we all move forward.
So, I don’t feel in any way threatened by these developments; rather, I revel in the fact that the number of fire hydrants to drink from is increasing. Welcome indeed, for example, to the vendor analyst relations blogs such as those from Carter and Skip; or indeed AR professionals like Jonny and David, and all the rest (I said it was like a fire hydrant!). I would love to say we have a monopoly on how things are evolving but the truth of the matter is that nobody does, so all help as we evolve our services into the future is gratefully received.
In the future, then, we shall continue in our role as aggregators of opinion and behaviour, and offer our findings back to the community in the way we do now. It’s an eminently scalable model, and for now we believe, adaptable to what the wonderful world of influence throws our way.