Wednesday, May 27, 2009

poems Some Detroit-inspired/inflamed pieces from past years


Detroit riots and rots,/deteriorates and/resists resurrection.//Detroit's distraught, a rut/of debt and death, a depth/charge of desolation.//Dry as snot. A driven/disaster. A drag to/avoid. My home. Destroyed.


An immense metropolis: The wary mother of an internal forest.


Downtown once was fresh. Environment once pristine. Ten millennia plus since last glacier retreat. River brought sweat salt gravel hope bootleg rum and not-so-distant ancestors. Indigenous people were just shunted aside. Our kind built dangerous dump. Tell the ice come back.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

FORRESTER blog repost Database Religions Dissolve into the Big Billowing Virtual Data Cloud

Database Religions Dissolve into the Big Billowing Virtual Data Cloud

By James Kobielus

Virtualization is a venerable old computing concept that has achieved new life in recent years.

Virtualization brings to life a new world of more flexible service provisioning while cleverly emulating the old world that is being replaced. Virtualization refers to any approach that abstracts the external interface from the internal implementation of some service, functionality, or other resource.

The promise of virtualization is that, no matter how scattered and diverse, all pooled resources behave as if they were a single unified resource, both for usage and administration. In a sense, this is the practical magic that Arthur C. Clarke identified with advanced technology. The external interface may conceal various facts about the implementations of the underlying resources. The virtualized resources may run on diverse operating and application platforms;have been deployed on nodes in diverse locations; have been aggregated across diverse hosting platforms (or partitioned within a single hosting platform, either through virtual machine software, separate CPUs, or separate blade servers); and have been provisioned dynamically in response to a client request.

When Noel Yuhanna and I presented on enterprise database virtualization last week at Forrester IT Forum, we took pains to point out that is not a radically new paradigm. In fact, database administrators (DBAs) have been doing virtualization for a long time and not realizing it. We’re all familiar with such database virtualization approaches as policy-based server clustering, massive parallel processing database grids, and enterprise information integration. In these environments, you can identify the virtualization layer as “single system image,” “semantic abstraction,” or some other approach.

What all these approaches share is that they make two or more repositories behave as if they were a single database for unified access, query, reporting, predictive analytics, and other applications. If you wish, I could drill down further into the layers of database virtualization--data virtualization, transaction virtualization, and platform virtualization--but that would be too much for a mere blogpost.

One twist that I didn’t have time to explore in depth last week is the notion that the traditional hub-and-spoke enterprise data warehousing (EDW) architecture is itself a form of database virtualization. The hub-and-spoke model transforms analytic data to a common “spoke-side” semantic access model, such as star schema or columnar. As such, this approach abstracts from the data models (usually 3NF relational) implemented at the EDW hub tier, the staging tier (perhaps file-based), and OLTP sources (perhaps hierarchical, XML, or what have you).

When you realize that each data-persistence approach has its optimal deployment sphere, you’re thinking database virtualization. At that point, you start to realize that the various database religions--relational is supreme, columnar is king, and so forth--are not absolute truths. They’re simply sectarian texts in a tradition of longer vintage: the evolution of truly all-encompassing data virtualization clouds.

Yes, I’m using “cloud” in this context because it best describes this new paradigm. Cloud-based virtualization is beginning to seep into analytic infrastructures. To support flexible mixed-workload analytics, the EDW, over the coming five to 10 years, will evolve into a virtualized, cloud-based, and supremely scalable distributed platform.

What are the outlines of this new paradigm? The virtualized EDW will allow data to be transparently persisted in diverse physical and logical formats to an abstract, seamless grid of interconnected memory and disk resources and to be delivered with subsecond delay to consuming applications. EDW application service levels will be ensured through an end-to-end, policy-driven, latency-agile, distributed-caching and dynamic query-optimization memory grid, within an information-as-a-service (IaaS) environment. Analytic applications will migrate to the EDW platform and leverage its full parallel-processing, partitioning, scalability, and optimization functionality. At the same time, DBAs will need to make sure that cloud-based DW offerings meet their organizations’ most stringent security, performance, availability, and other service-level requirements.

I won’t opine here and now on how much enterprise data will be persisted in public clouds vs. private environments that incorporate many of the same platform virtualization technologies. I’ll save that discussion for the upcoming Forrester reports that Noel and I are developing in virtualization of transactional and analytic databases, respectively.

Expect those in Q3 or thereabouts. Thanks everybody who attended our preso last week in Vegas!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

poem Tormé


Faux Paris is as
good as being there. People
kiss oblivious.

Faux New York is so
obviously not to scale.
The model city!

Walking Mel Tormé
Way I supply the missing
melody and fog.

poem The Hard Rock


Big Deb the Vegas
waitress with the colossal
lungs could really sing.

Deb and the twenty-
first birthday girlie gave it
their best Benatar.

Earned a big tip by
saying nothing to me. Just
refreshing my tea.

poem Unspeakable


Vegas: the best god
damned museums anywhere.
The names, anyway.

Atomic Testing
Museum: Should I risk it?
Leadline my eyeballs?

Or the Erotic
Heritage: Endure a long
grinding and blinding?

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

TWEETLOG Mon May 18-20 so far

RT @jilldyche: #haiku @haikulove @twaiku. Haiku du jour: jk--"ANTIMAY: Memorial Day. It's honorary Summer. Spring's sunburned demise. "6 minutes ago from TweetDeck

RT @CompositeSW: #FITF09. Jim sees lots of opportunity in "database" virtualization: jk--Noel Y. and I copresenting on Fri on DB virt'zn.22 minutes ago from TweetDeck

RT @mikojava: Arrived in Las Vegas for #FITF09 in the cab on the way to venue: jk--Oh no, Miko's almost here.
Don't tell him SOA's dead.about 2 hours ago from TweetDeck

Newsgathering is rampant in Web 2.0. Newsvetting is everywhere as well. Newsreporting is ubiquitous. News"papers" not. Paper not essential.about 8 hours ago from web

#FITF09: Interop 09 happening a mile-plus down the Strip at Mandalays. I don't find Interop interesting anymore. Easy "temptation" to avoid.about 8 hours ago from TweetDeck

#FITF09: This morning Forrester founder George Colony speaks.about 8 hours ago from TweetDeck

#FITF09: Preparing for a busy day of 1:1s at Forrester IT Forum. Multitasking these plus other tasks/projects I
brought on the road.about 8 hours ago from TweetDeck

Twitter's char-count constraints lead some to think it can't both report and critique. I usually attempt former in first 70, latter in last.about 8 hours ago from TweetDeck

Tweeting from field is news gathering and reporting in one swift gesture. Vulnerable to "mindless real-time stenographic reportage" syndromeabout 9 hours ago from TweetDeck

RT @lorita: Just finished a great report from @forrester "To BW or Not To BW." jk--Thanks Lorita. Boris Evelson and I co-authored that one.about 9 hours ago from TweetDeck

Any flack can "report" what others say--govt officials & official lies, vendors & self-serving PR. True pro reports what they find on own.about 9 hours ago from TweetDeck

Twas then I realized that reporting not core of news biz. Gathering is. Hunting-gathering fresh meat/fruit. Stalking/slaying the news beast.about 9 hours ago from TweetDeck

Jerry ter Horst had me doing archival news searches a Google would nail these--nice guy (quit Ford admin over Nixon pardon)--smelly pipeabout 9 hours ago from TweetDeck

Ah yes, I remember my internship at the Detroit News Wash. Bureau in summer 1978; twas Jimmy Olsen-Kobielus, cub reporter, reading the wiresabout 9 hours ago from TweetDeck

Slower tech newsday on the wires than yesterday, now settling into the summer slough, next newsrush day in early/mid Septabout 9 hours ago from TweetDeck

RT @alyswoodward: @jameskobielus I'm only usually [in LV) for 72 hours!: jk--And then you're whipsawed by timezone and climate disruptions!about 9 hours ago from TweetDeck

RT @alyswoodward: @jameskobielus ahh, the sun over the desert, love it. The dry eyes/mouth/lungs, ugh. jk--Takes 48 hrs min to acclimate.about 9 hours ago from TweetDeck

Twittering about Twitter is like writing poetry about poetry: grooving on your own nerdishness.about 9 hours ago from TweetDeck

RT @kexpplaylist: People Got A Lotta Nerve by Neko Case #KEXPabout 10 hours ago from TweetDeck

Listening to Neko Case "People Gotta Lotta Nerve" from her great new album "Middle Cyclone." She says she's the brass section in any group.about 10 hours ago from TweetDeck

Another dry morning in Vegas, following a night of continual waking to re-hydrate, irrigate the inevitable cottonmouth.about 10 hours ago from TweetDeck

@JAdP : Architecture is the bridge. Alignment anchors the bridge to terra firma at both ends. Vision ensures it connects the right ends.about 10 hours ago from TweetDeck in reply to JAdP

@rschmelzer: A lone wolf howling attracts more attention than one in unison with in or out crowd. If howls in odd harmonic with both, best.about 10 hours ago from TweetDeck in reply to

Realizing that crowds, in or out, crowd, i.e. cramp, and are to be avoided, unless need ferment of friction/discourse, then go mosh/mash.about 22 hours ago from TweetDeck

RT @rschmelzer: ... feel like part of the out-crowd. ...struggle to be accepted. What's the secret? jk--Realizing the out-crowd's a crowd.about 22 hours ago from TweetDeck

Thanking Shadi for Advils, taking a breather upstairs, getting ready for Sybase dinner, listening to Bill Callahan "The Wind and the Dove"about 22 hours ago from TweetDeck

RT @JoeBarkan: @jameskobielus There's no such thing as "too guitar-rocky." #FITF09: jk--I beg to differ. Guitar-band rock can easily overdo.5:04 PM May 19th from TweetDeck

RT @markmadsen: Five Reasons to NOT follow someone on Twitter: jk--Have no control over who we FOLLOW. Depends on each follower's view.4:35 PM May 19th from TweetDeck

#FITF09: Another shameless self-plug, related to previous tweet, but calling out my (guilty?) love of Enya's vibes ( PM May 19th from TweetDeck

#FITF09: Another closing thought on that session. Theme music was too guitar-rocky. No, I don't want hiphop or electronica. One word: Enya!4:24 PM May 19th from TweetDeck

#FITF09: Post-mortem on Cameron talk: Value-based architecture? No. Instead, value-based alignment. Architecture is tail, shouldn't wag dog.4:23 PM May 19th from TweetDeck

RT @passion4process: IT also needs to adopt bus. processes that monitor/track IT bus. value .

#FITF09: jk--BI applied to IT org/iniatives4:06 PM May 19th from TweetDeck

#FITF09: "Definition of [IT's business value] will change over time...As regards what the metrics are, ask business." Business POV rules!4:04 PM May 19th from TweetDeck

RT @passion4process: Bobby Cameron's purple bow tie -.... #FITF09: jk--It's cocked at jaunty, Sinatrian angle. How's that for Vegas cool?!4:01 PM May 19th from TweetDeck

#FITF09: Cameron: "Embedding key IT roles in the business orgs is what we see happening anyway." "Need to help by embedding resources."3:57 PM May 19th from TweetDeck

#FITF09: Cameron: "Challenge for CEO is based on how plugged-in they are.....When talking to CEO, should be focused on growth, EPS, etc."3:55 PM May 19th from TweetDeck

#FITF09: Cameron: "Wonderful opportunity for bring clarity to the problem [of which services should be shared vs. localized]."3:53 PM May 19th from TweetDeck

#FITF09: Cameron: "Can't optimize in our job unless you're connecting with the business." Optimization = alignment.3:50 PM May 19th from TweetDeck

RT @merv: Designing my template for PPT - easy to get swept away by the possibilities. Simple, simple, keep repeating....: jk--Pictoreality!3:48 PM May 19th from TweetDeck

#FITF09: IT talking in the business terms. Essential, but always a challenge, especially as IT deep-ends on nouveau clouds, virtz'n, SOA.3:47 PM May 19th from TweetDeck

#FITF09: Forrester's role-based avatars resemble a pantheon. Incarnations of the same principle: IT serves the business role.3:44 PM May 19th from TweetDeck

RT @jameskobielus: #FITF09: I see tweets by @passion4process, @mgualtieri, @gleganza, @pleclare, @rbkarel, @lauraramos, @akarlin, & yrs trly3:42 PM May 19th from TweetDeck

RT @gcolony: Cloud computing is over-stated. Cloud and local devices will share processing.

#FITF09. jk--Cloud's the resource pool.3:41 PM May 19th from TweetDeck

#FITF09: Any way to batch transform all of my previous tweet hashtags to the correct one?3:37 PM May 19th from TweetDeck

#FITF: I see tweets by @passion4process, @mgualtieri, @gleganza, @pleclare, @rbkarel, @lauraramos, @akarlin: multiple Forrester tweetstreams3:31 PM May 19th from TweetDeck

#FITF: How does business POV shape perception of IT? Remember J. Fallon on SNL as jerk IT support guy? A bit scary, a bit reassuring.3:27 PM May 19th from TweetDeck

#FITF: Bobby Cameron on "Making Value Core to IT's Business." Wants us to comment on "scary vs. reassuring" images. POV-shaped perception.3:24 PM May 19th from TweetDeck

#FITF: Tom's telling them about the legendary gauntlet that Forrester analyst candidates must run. Grueling. Excellent pre-onboarding.3:22 PM May 19th from TweetDeck

#FITF: Tom's striped tie doesn't do it for me. Accost him in the hallways and give him a piece of YOUR minds on the matter.3:20 PM May 19th from TweetDeck

#FITF: We give you actionable next steps to take back to your companies. We provide practical guidance. Take us up on 1:1s, you'll see.3:19 PM May 19th from TweetDeck

#FITF: Attendees will notice that every Forrester preso has upfront and closing slides that nail the value prop of that particular tech.3:18 PM May 19th from TweetDeck

#FITF: A lot of people in this room. Good turnout.3:16 PM May 19th from TweetDeck

#FITF: Protecting and promoting innovation. Uber-theme for Kobielus/Yuhanna Friday preso on enterprise DB virtualization (shameless plug).3:15 PM May 19th from TweetDeck

#FITF: At UPS, no technology strategy apart from business strategy. That's the fundamental value prop: IT entirely instrumental to business.3:14 PM May 19th from TweetDeck

#FITF: IT-role-based definitions of value? Value specific to your business contribution? How do you measure /communicate that? Justify job?3:12 PM May 19th from TweetDeck

#FITF: Value defn's: Pos: We're building a future we actually want. Neg: We prevent you from being the next headline on CNN.3:10 PM May 19th from TweetDeck

#FITF: "Redefining IT's Value to the Enterprise." Uber-theme of this year's Forrester IT
Forum. What's "value"? Is it indispensability?3:07 PM May 19th from TweetDeck

#FITF: Tom Pohlmann says we're tired of the economy gloom and doom. Yes, for sure. A lot of the moaning is hypochondriacal overreaction.3:06 PM May 19th from TweetDeck

#FITF: Wow. Side-by-side Forrester analysts co-tweeting the event. Mike Gualtieri tweeted the music issue on my mind. Sting's insinuation?3:04 PM May 19th from TweetDeck

@AskMrsHR: "Yoga, where have you been all my life. I feel great". jk--Same effect here. You can never be too calm, flexible, tensile.11:38 AM May 19th from web in reply to AskMrsHR

#FITF: "Expressamente Illy" over on first level. European-based company, or faux Europa, like so much Vegas? Mongrel Euro-American, like me?11:29 AM May 19th from TweetDeck

#FITF: Amazing the burst of energy/concentration that a little coffee buys you. The caffeine rush is the next best thing to an analgesic.11:26 AM May 19th from TweetDeck

#FITF: Noting the crush of press releases today. This week is the last of the spring season of vendor announcements. Prepare for summer lull11:23 AM May 19th from TweetDeck

"Larry Fulton... to Present on Six Principles for Addressing the Unique Challenges of Multi-site Integration" ( AM May 19th from TweetDeck

Last year's Vegas poems: "Jade" ( AM May 19th from TweetDeck

Last year's Vegas poems: "Neural Carpal" ( AM May 19th from TweetDeck

Last year's Vegas poems: "These Plains" ( AM May 19th from TweetDeck

Last year's Vegas poems: "Center of Conventions Exhibitions Conferences and Expositions" ( AM May 19th from TweetDeck

Listening to XTC "The Ballad of Peter Pumpkinhead," by the deliciously misanthropic Andy Partridge. "Dear God" "Making Plans for Nigel" etc.11:10 AM May 19th from TweetDeck

@chaskielt: I use "secret sauce" ironically. It's a multi-DB world, behind virtualization layer. Told Sybase that. No monoculture.11:06 AM May 19th from TweetDeck in reply to chaskielt

@alyswoodward: It was too noisy at the "Dos Caminos" restaurant for others to listen in. Could barely hear my own voice, over head pain.11:04 AM May 19th from TweetDeck in reply to alyswoodward

@mikojava: Miko: the tweetup was last night. But I'd very much like to see you again. Give me a holler when you get here.11:03 AM May 19th from TweetDeck in reply to mikojava

#FITF: Strong attendance and customer interest, in soft economy, shows that Forrester events deliver value. We don't take that for granted.11:02 AM May 19th from TweetDeck

#FITF: Great opportunity to meet Forrester analysts, and for us to meet each other. We're so big and diversified, not all of us have met.11:00 AM May 19th from TweetDeck

#FITF: I've always found industry events a superb opportunity for deep-dive research. Even better when top analysts present latest research.10:58 AM May 19th from TweetDeck

#FITF: Today, e.g., various cloud (Hammond, Rymer, Staten, Wang), storage (Reichman), green IT (Mines), EA (Gilpin, Heffner, Leganza) topics10:56 AM May 19th from TweetDeck

#FITF: Forrester has an exciting agenda for this event. Many analysts have great topics. I'm still working out which ones I can attend.10:52 AM May 19th from TweetDeck

#FITF: Anybody who wants a preview of mine and Noel's preso, "Enterprise Database Virtualization," is urged to engage us in 1:1 sessions.10:51 AM May 19th from TweetDeck

#FITF: Doing work outside Zeno, waiting for the event to formally open. Checking my 1:1 requests: data warehousing, advanced analytics, BI.10:49 AM May 19th from TweetDeck

Wondering why TweetDeck won't load this morning. Wondering when columnar database vendors will stop trying to promote that as secret sauce.9:28 AM May 19th from web

@akarlin @pleclare: Thanks for hosting the Forrester TweetUp. Let's do more.1:15 AM May 19th from web

At TweetUp, Friedberg talked up Kognitio's "trusted cloud" notion. I call it "transparent cloud." See right thru: hosting, security etc.1:13 AM May 19th from web

Wondering how Steve Momorella of @cvillenews got my Twitter name. Probably through @ohjko. I doubt that latter's sister Sonya will follow.1:00 AM May 19th from web

Dodged the usual crazy foot traffic on Strip. Showed 'em a lilttle of my Red Grange moves. Had my music: Arthur and Yu: "Lion's Mouth."12:50 AM May 19th from web

Had to bug out early, splitting headache. Tried my walk outside for air. Didn't help. Did I mention that Vegas is an oven? Even at night.12:47 AM May 19th from web

At TweetUp, met with Steve Friedberg, @StevePR104. Steve's a networker's networker. Also writes articles for TDWI, other pubs. Good guy.12:46 AM May 19th from web

Brought my laptop to the TweetUp, in a restaurant/bar. Learned we were to do everything there but tweet. Beginner's misunderstanding.12:44 AM May 19th from web

Tonight at Forrester TweetUp, chatted with Laura Coronado: @lollieshopping. Asked if she's a "fashion victim," when I meant "fashionista."12:41 AM May 19th from web

Expecting strong turnout for Forrester IT Forum. Everybody's starting to emerge from the recessionary funk. IT budgets starting to perk up.12:38 AM May 19th from web

Did some Forrester internal bonding. LIFO more useful than Myers-Briggs. White wine more fish-friendly than red. Las Vegas hotter than hell.12:35 AM May 19th from web

Yesterday wore me out, but my son graduated in cold rain at UVa, has the Camry, is going to new acting job10:40 AM May 18th from TweetDeck

In transit to Forrester IT Forum, Detroit airport, helping daughter long-distance with anti-virus, not eating yet, working on webinar slides10:37 AM May 18th from TweetDeck

poem Antimay


Memorial Day.
It's honorary Summer.
Spring's sunburned demise.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

poem Embalm


Spirit is second-
hand balm, recycled mist of
communal refresh.

Spent energy is
the release of pent-up breath
and remembered hurt.

The exhalation
returns the body to its
natural blackout.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

FORRESTER blog repost Self-Service Business Intelligence Depends on Automated Data Discovery

Self-Service Business Intelligence Depends on Automated Data Discovery

By James Kobielus

If you tuned into my Forrester teleconference yesterday, you heard me discuss the end-to-end infrastructure necessary to fully support mashup-style self-service business intelligence (BI).

One of the key features for BI mashup is automated source-data discovery, which spares information workers from having to find new data sources or fresh updates from existing sources. Instead, the user simply relies on the BI and back-end data virtualization infrastructure to perform these critical activities as ongoing background tasks. Once new sources and feeds are discovered, transformed to a common semantic model, and published to a BI-mashup registry, all the user needs to do is drag and drop them visually into their mashed-up reports, dashboards, and other analytics.

Automated discovery is not only key to BI mashup, but to trustworthy data as well, because it helps detect and remediate anomalies across disparate data sources. Only a few vendors on the market today provide strong features for automated source discovery. One of them is Composite Software, which recently released an appliance that performs these functions. Another is Exeros, which is the closest thing to an automated-data-discovery pure-play in the market today.

Or, rather, was the closest thing, until IBM announced this morning that it is acquiring Exeros. I’ve been following Exeros for several years and have long considered them a strong candidate for acquisition by a leading BI, data warehousing (DW), data integration (DI), or data quality (DQ) vendor. On IBM’s part, this acquisition makes great sense as a complement to its InfoSphere and Optim portfolios on the data management and governance side of the house.

It will also fit nicely with IBM’s Cognos portfolio as a key enabler, potentially, for BI self-service mashup. As I stated on my teleconference, some vendors are further ahead on putting together a completely mashup-enabling end-to-end BI solution, and Cognos is among them. You can download the teleconference slides from Forrester’s website, listen to my streaming audio, and/or wait for my forthcoming report for more in-depth thoughts on this topic.

Now the ball’s in IBM’s rivals’ courts regarding whether, when, and how they plan to add automated source discovery to their BI portfolios.

Monday, May 04, 2009

TWTR-EXTRA imho Hardcopy news won’t vanish but like hardcopy photos will materialize only when we hit print, which will be seldom


Like all of you, I’ve been following the decline of traditional journalism, and the increasingly frantic efforts of the industry to save itself in the face of the greatest nemesis of all: the Internet. Just this evening, I read excellent discussions on all this by the ever-stimulating Jason Pontin and Clay Shirky.

Just today I noticed that the New York Times is threatening to close down the Boston Globe (didn’t realize the former owned the latter) if the Globe’s unions don’t make serious contract concessions. I have no position on this dispute, but, after seeing longtime Seattle and Denver papers bite the dust, it’s clear to me that the days of every major city having its own dedicated daily newspaper are coming to a close. Why is this unthinkable? Does every major city have its own major league baseball team? Its own world-class research university? Its own internationally renowned symphony orchestra? Its own locally owned chain of department stores?

In the newspaper business, what’s coming is almost certainly a new order where we have national daily papers with city-specific local news sections. Just as Macy’s grew into a nationwide department store chain in large part by acquiring shaky local store-chains, it’s not inconceivable that the New York Times might become a truly national newspaper, inserting, say, a substantial daily Boston section for distribution in New England, a Detroit section for southern Michigan, a Dallas-Fort Worth section for north Texas, and so on. This is not unprecedented: indeed, the Washington Post has an excellent array of local news sections for communities throughout the District of Columbia, Maryland, and northern Virginia. Like many people, I often turn primarily to my region’s section (Fairfax County) and only get to the “A” section (national and international) later, or not at all, on any given day.

Another, almost inevitable feature of the coming order is that some of us will continue to pay for the convenience of having a daily hardcopy of a subset of the news that most interests us dropped off at our residence first thing in the morning--or at various intervals. There are plenty of reasons why we may want this to continue, such as having it to read over breakfast. But there are also many reasons why we will insist on not being delivered sections that we never read and don’t want (e.g., I’ve long since lost interest in sports, and routinely toss it unread; others don’t care for business; many people couldn’t care less about international; and op/ed pages are almost never looked at in most households). Many of us would gladly scale back to a weekly hardcopy paper that only publishes a summary of the news and features we care about--and only comes, say, on Sunday, when we actually have spare time to read it, and only comes bundled with coupons, comics, special glossy magazines, and other cool things.

But most of us will prefer to access most of our news most of the time online, and only online. Many people will only desire a hardcopy now and then, and only of particular stories. In those cases, that hardcopy will issue from their own printer, not from huge printing presses staffed by contentious union members.

Newsgathering will still be done by large institutions, descendants of today’s newspapers and magazines, but will become more of an aggregation of loosely shifting groups of “reporters,” sometimes known as bloggers. Opinions and analyses will come from this same huge global pool of knowledgeable individuals, many of whom will make little or no money directly from their published viewpoints. Many, if not most, of these “journalists” will multitask that work alongside paying “day jobs,” doing so to further some personal passion or supplement some other business model. For example, IT industry analysts have long contributed articles to trade papers in order to strengthen their “branding” as analyst/consultants, while making only a pittance from their “journalistic” activities.

I see that as an important model of future journalism. For years, I’ve had trouble explaining to people how my graduate degree, M.A. in Journalism from the University of Wisconsin, prepared me for my ultimate career as an analyst. I’ve never actually had a paying job as a journalist, though I’ve been a freelance IT writer for many years. More and more, though, it feels like I’ve never really left the field I trained for.

Instead, my field has returned to me.


Saturday, May 02, 2009

TWTR-EXTRA Imho IT analysts & journalists the same--skills, place in industry ecosystem--folks move back and forth between


I’ve been noticing the recent tweet-backs between Curt Monash, Lance Walter, and Seth Grimes on the topic of what constitutes an IT analyst vs. an IT journalist. I thought I’d replay their tweets for you (stripped of time-sent and reply-to dimensions...sorry ‘bout that, but I’ve kept, per each tweeter a sequence from most to least recent). Then I offer my summary commentary of all that:

Their tweets:
  • @CurtMonash: "That's the main benefit I see to being categorized not just as an analyst, but as a journalist too." "I want companies to be supportive if I pick a news-cycle approach to publishing on some specific story or topic." "Not sure I know when I'd want a big analyst firm to view me as a journalist. What am I missing?" "Exactly. I break news now. And a lot of the commentary published by the trade press is subcontracted to working analysts." "I don't mind being categorized as both press AND analyst. (And increasingly that's happening.) It's the either-or that causes trouble."
  • @lancewalter: "I think a lot of "pure" analysts are also blurring the journalist line (good thing) cuz of blogs, syndication, death of print..."
  • @SethGrimes: "I suspect some analyst firms don't want to legitimize rival, independent analysts so they ignore us as journalists."
Now Kobielus’ kommentary:

There’s no such thing as a “pure analyst” and never has been. IT analysts and IT journalists play the same role in the industry ecosystem. There’s no clear demarc between the two fields.

We all publish or perish--that’s our primary business model. We’re all essentially reporters--in other words, we research, analyze, publish, and speak on the new things that are going on in the IT world. Clearly, there are many distinctions among us: some “reporters” (analyst/journalist) have more specialized beats than others, some report on a more regular basis than others, some go a bit deeper and broader in the research than others, some do more consulting and speaking than others, some have bigger firms marketing their offerings than others, some are better known than others, some have better access to the movers/shakers than others, some have more industry/vendor background than others, some have more corporate IT background than others, and so forth.

The working relationships among IT analysts and journalists are entirely symbiotic. One open secret in this industry is that many IT analysts began as journalists, and many have essentially stayed journalists by continuing to publish widely in the trade press. Another is that IT journalists are often excellent analysts; if they weren’t, their reportage would be subpar and they wouldn’t stay in that line of work for long. Yet another is that IT journalists often rely on IT analysts for perspective setting, information, leads, and quotes. And, of course, analysts “market” ourselves in great part on our ability to be featured prominently in journalists’ stories.

As I said above, we all play the same basic role in the IT industry ecosystem. From vendors’ point of view, analysts/journalists are a key channel for getting their go-to-market messages out to customers. From users’ point of view, analysts/journalists are a key channel helping them to make sense of those messages. Clearly, as an intermediary in this flow, analysts/journalists, as a community, provide an “information brokering/filtering” role that is indispensable.

Some analysts/journalists have more influence than others--no one denies that. We’re a huge community of many voices. Each of us, analyst/journalist (individually and/or as firms, large and small), is in a constant struggle to get our viewpoints out and to strengthen our brands. Hence we turn to blogs, podcasts, Twitter, and other channels to underline those brands. Each of us is in business as well--these are our careers. None of us is “the final word” on anything.

That said, I’m a huge fan of most other analysts/journalists in the industry. There are lots of smart people who do excellent work, and I’m constantly learning from everybody else. This is an extraordinarily stimulating line of work to be in.

Curt, Lance, Seth: Tweet’s back in your courts.