Different Analsyt Relations Tactics – what can go right and wrong

I’m live blogging from an analyst event in Waltham which includes partners. We are using a different tactic which allows the analysts to have 1:1’s with the partners behind closed doors, without us being there. Our premise is, that if our programs are good enough, we should be able to leave them alone and the programs and partners will stand up for what they are. This is working.

What is not working is 2 hours before the end of the day before the event (yesterday) 2 analysts couldn’t make it for real reasons, a funeral and some legal issues that needed addressing. This left moi holding the bag trying to scramble. As luck would have it, we were able to ask some local analysts to fill in at the last minute (thanks Anne Thomas Manes) and it went off without a hitch.

I’ve never had this happen before. Sure one here or there can’t make it or just doesn’t show, but you usually know well in advance. Since we solved it, I’ll point to my manager who not only helped out (thanks Amy Loomis) and my co-worker Amanda Kingsbury. Amy told me anyone can do good when things are going good. It’s how you perform when the chips are down that makes you worth your salt.

Who said it?

“Here’s my strategy on the Cold War: We win, they lose.”

“The most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the government and I’m here to help.”

“Of the four wars in my lifetime none came about because the U.S. was too strong.”

“I have wondered at times about what the Ten Commandments would have looked like if Moses had run them through the U.S. Congress.”

“The taxpayer: That’s someone who works for the federal government but doesn’t take the civil service exam.”

“Government is like a baby: An alimentary canal with a big appetite at one end and no sense of responsibility at the other.”

“If we ever forget that we’re one nation under God, then we will be a nation gone under.”

“I’ve laid down the law, though, to everyone from now on about anything that happens: no matter what time it is, wake me, even if it’s in the middle of a Cabinet meeting.”

“It has been said that politics is the second oldest profession. I have learned that it bears a striking resemblance to the first. Government’s view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.”

“Politics is not a bad profession. If you succeed there are many rewards, if you disgrace yourself you can always write a book.”

“No arsenal, or no weapon in the arsenals of the world, is so formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women.”

More Social Computing Education and Analyst Relations

In an effort to keep our A/R team in Software Group as up to date as possible, we did another education call, this time on podcasting. We were joined by Steve O’Grady and Cote of Redmonk who presented on the subject, and members of our own communications team who do some excellent podcasts.
Besides having the education, we’re moving on to how we can use this in the A/R discipline. Among the usages are announcements, standards discussions and other related events where it can be either educational or directional. It becomes a piece of the informational package around a technology, standards or announcement info that can be downloaded.

We currently have a series that covers some analysts that we’ve done podcasts with on our Analyst Inputs and Outtakes, and hopefully, the creative minds in our a/r group will come up with more creative ways to use this and the other components of Social Computing. So far we’re blogging, podcasting, have a wiki and are part of the greater IBM social networking programs.

Billions of Blue Blistering Barnacles, It be Talk Like a Pirate Day.

pirate flag.jpg

Aye maties, it be that time o’ year again, arrrrr. Talk like a pirate day. For you sorry landlubbers, here’s yer video ta learn the proper way to speak.

Time’s takin it’s tole on modern day pirates. The only vessel we’re a sailin’ is a desk. Arrr, the only booty to be raided and pillaged is the supplies treasure chest. Sixteen men an’ a copier mess — yo, ho, ho and a bottle of toner doesn’t stir the scuppers like ye ole days when there were dubloons to fight for.

Things not to do, let yer cell phone or any other treasure fall to the bottom of Davy Jones Locker in the head. Know whether the relief room is on the port or starboard, lest ye risk an embarrasin’ encounter. In a long meeting, don’t be the scurvy who floated the air mead….Save that for the poop deck. Get caught and ye walk the plank.

Avast! A Team Builders meeting off our schedule’s port bow! Scuttle yer productivity, mateys, and prepare to be bored-ed! To arms, me lads! The spoils of the snack machine shall be ours, to each in a fortieth share!Arrrr Scalywags, here’s some links to other pirate logs for tlpd.

Pirate Dictionary.

Talk Like a Pirate Day.

Pirate Day Links.

Real Pirate Info.

A Relatively Unknown but Useful Keyboard Function (for the function key)

Normally, I would have put this in the comment section, but it was an obscure discovery that I thought few would know and many might want to know.

Thinklight.jpg

I recently did a bloggerview with David Hill. In the course of the discussion, the thinklight came up. It turns on by pressing the function key (left bottom key) and the PgUp key (upper right key). A very relevant comment came up that it would be good to not have to use two hands to turn on the light. I saw this as a handicap issue for some, but it was pointed out that holding coffee (or a beer for some of you) in one hand makes it also un-accessible.

I sent the note to David as a design issue, and the following came back from one of his team members from the design center. I’ve used PC’s now for 26 years and didn’t know this:
Fn key lock function
The Fn key lock function gives the same effect as pressing and holding the Fn key and then pressing a function key. Start the ThinkPad Configuration Program. Click the Accessibility Options button, and click Enable for Fn key lock. You can also set up by typing PS2 FNS E at the command prompt. If the Fn key is not locked, you must press and hold the Fn key while pressing a function key in order to perform certain tasks. If the Fn key is locked, you can use the function keys as follows:

  • Press the Fn key once. Then press a function key. You can get the same effect as if you had held the Fn key down while pressing the function key. The Fn key has to be pressed again each time you want to use the function.
  • Press the Fn key twice. Then, for the rest of your session, you can press any function key without pressing the Fn key again.

What I've learned about Analyst Relations, or Some Guidelines to do the Job Correctly

I’ve been going about my business of analyst relations for a while now, but a recent event told me all vendors are not the same when it comes to this job.

We are in the middle of a Partner Survey with one of the big 3 right now, and we were sent a questionnaire to fill out. We dutifully filled it out, having taken up the better part of a week and a half of 4 persons time to do so. We answered in as complete detail as was asked and it came to 20 pages. We then had a 2 hour briefing to go over our program with the lead analyst. We figured that our questionnaire was self explanatory and decided to concentrate on the highlights of our program via a presentation, and to counter what we felt the competition would ding us on.

My first question was how would this analyst be able to read 14 twenty page questionnaire’s from the vendors. Reality set in for me as the analyst stated that we were the only company to fill it out, with possibly one other company that might. He explained that most answered the questions on the call. This to me was underperforming on the job. You have the opportunity to do what we did in highlighting your good points, and still have the answers to the program written out.  Were I the analyst, I would have docked points just for style right there.

Maybe it’s naive of me to think this, but aren’t you supposed to do not only what is expected, but to try to give above and beyond? on your yearly rating report?

So here is what I’ve learned.

Not all AR programs are dedicated to Analyst Relations. Many companies have a communications person to do multiple disciplines. This to me is acceptable in a small company, but many of those other major vendors are multi billion dollar firms. You should have a dedicated a/r team if you are serious about analyst relations. I’ve worked in PR. It’s a balls to the wall stressed out job that leaves little time for other matters, especially at deadline time.

We have to go out of our way to answer what the analyst needs. When they ask us for information, we are obligated to get it for them, in a complete manner unless it violates corporate guidelines. We should be up front about that too if it is the reason for not answering. If they take the time to develop a questionnaire, or ask us questions, we need to find the answers or the right executive to answer the question.

We have to understand what the analyst wants and try to think outside the box to get that done, try to provide what they are looking for and make it easy for them to understand. You get a free pass for not knowing everything when you first take a job, but pretty quickly you had better understand what the area you are responsible for is and does. The analyst may not understand exactly how your group works, so you have to either find a way (or a person) to explain it, or figure out what they are looking for and find a way to get it.

Get the right executive who can answer the question. Don’t waste anybody’s time by just putting someone on the phone. Get the most qualified person to answer the question. Unless the analyst demands to speak to certain person, it’s not his/her responsibility to know your org chart.

Other rants about performing.

If you’re in an MQ, Wave or some other form of “bake off” comparison, figure out what your group does better and highlight it. Conversely, figure out what the competition does better and be ready to counter it.

Go a little further than the other guy. This goes with figuring out what the analyst is looking for. Present it in a factual way that shows your best side. Don’t just do what you are asked and think you are done. Anyone can do the minimum.

Skip the fluff. Analysts are smart people and know their subject, for sure a whole lot smarter than most AR people, and better than a lot of executives. They’ll see right through this one and yes, you are wasting there time. Save the marketing pitch for others.

So I’m calling out our profession (I’m tempted to say this loosely after what I heard this week) to do a better job. Just doing your job isn’t enough.

September 11, 2001, Good vs. Evil

Another day that will life in infamy? The comparisons are there. America was attacked, on our home soil, and we retaliated.

I like to watch human nature. Here are my observations. Bully’s attack the weak. No response to 8 separate terrorist attacks on US in 8 years starting in 1993 emboldens anyone to take the next step. They even declared war on the USA in 1996 with no response.

Cowards attack and run and hide, or surrender.

Hero’s stand for what is right and do the right thing, despite what naysayers will snipe at.

Here’s another comment on human nature, from the beginning of man (actually since the fall of Lucifer from Heaven, but I’ll keep it to man for non believers in God), there has been a struggle with good vs. evil and/or right vs. wrong. There is too much evidence permeating our archives of history to deny it. We all have to face it daily, you can look within yourself to see the internal struggle to know it exists.

The Parameters of Good and Evil

We judge based on what we are familiar with. Here is what the world generally views as the good side.

Here are three of the biggest mass murderers in history, who most generally view as evil.

Mao.jpg hitler.pngStalin1.jpg

Deliberately plotting to kill other innocent people without provocation or to protect oneself is evil (not to mention the 6th commandment). So I’ll put the act of 9/11 in the evil column. Now most don’t want to face this decision… that we shouldn’t judge. Worse, some want to politicize it or dream up conspiracy theory. But don’t most think that the murder of 6 million Jews as evil, or 10’s of millions of Russians or Chinese murdered at the hands of Stalin and Mao evil? So the evidence equates the hideous attack on the twin towers as evil with evil intent.

Here is a timeline to the attack of the Wold Trade Center Towers.

To many people are afraid to call evil evil, to excuse… or worse to forget. You have to treat a coward, a bully or evil the same. You must stand and fight back, to stay the course for right vs. wrong until you overcome and fully defeat it, or it will come back time and time again. So we either stop this evil or our way of life, freedom of religion, women’s’ rights, democratic society and yes, even the right to dissent will be gone, and we will wear burkas and cower to evil.

This is a tough fight that is not like a battle over borders. It is an enemy that peeks in and out of caves and safe houses. But we must overcome the political overtones and stay on the side of good and right, or suffer the fate of the alternative. Besides being evil, they clearly state that they want to kill Americans and all infidels (those that won’t convert to Islam). That’s all Americans (and other countries for that matter) regardless of race, creed, religion, gender or whether they are adult or child.

Not politically correct I know, but neither was 9/11. We have the chance to right a great wrong. Let’s not miss the opportunity.

What’s goin’ on

The Marvin Gaye themed Blog today.

7 more Windoze security updates today, bringing the total to well over 20 in just the past couple of weeks. I wonder if this happens to Sam, Mark Hurd, Michael Dell…they get paid a whole lot more than me per hour to sit and wait for updates.

Oil – went to $67.50 and it’s approaching a level that it could fall even more. This is good news/bad news right before an election. It was the main problem point in an otherwise good economy. So depending on your stance in the election, your point is either strengthened or weakened. One thing of note is a place in the Gulf of Mexico I’ve been following lately – area 181 that has more oil than we could need for a while. Combine that with the lack of hurricanes, diplomacy in Iran rather than threats to nuke Israel and summer travel being over, prices could go a lot lower. Environmental good news update, I found out that ocean floor oil seepage is far more than any oil spill, and nature has cleaned that up for thousands of years. Also, Katrina didn’t dump any oil into the water, though it did cripple oil production.

HP is under inquiry for board of directors leaks to the press leaks. Too bad, I thought that they were cleaning up the act. This looks more like “he looked at me, she’s on my side of the room, he/she touched me” kid fighting. All companies have issues and infighting, but you have to find a way to not air your dirty laundry. This is PR hell and takes the focus off of the good work they’ve done recently. Customers and analysts have long memories for this nonsense. This is a festering sore that has to be healed or will be a problem for a while.

The launch of Atlantis is on hold for a Fuel Cell problem. We need to keep making progress on our programs, but the reality is the moon mission is not being handled from the ISS.

The opening game for the NFL tomorrow night is the Steelers (fresh off of a Super Bowl Victory) vs. my team the MIAMI DOLPHINS! Ben or no Ben, everyone is picking the Steelers.

What is Apple up to on the 12th?

The same thing that Microsoft wants. Control of the Living room and the entertainment lifestyle. There will be announcements about a new iPod phone or a service but look at the Big Picture.

Here’s the big picture, check all that apply:

1. mickeymouse.jpg

2. check #1.

3. All of the above

Who is the largest Disney Stockholder? one guess.

Steve_Jobs.jpg

So look for code talk about new products, but read between the lines at how “lifestyle” and “entertainment” will change and how Apple is looking to “help” the media experience.. Don’t fall (too much) for the iPod phone with some downloads or a touch screen iPod. Yes that would be cool, but those are only building blocks. Look for how they want to compete for taking over the entertainment center and work their way back to the office (with Intel machines). It will be with better content and delivery.

And what better known content than Disney? They’re pretty much the King of entertainment (I take exception to Eisner’s view of entertainment, but over the years they have been solid). Apple has a better media interface than Windows, and from what I can tell Linux too.

Apple has been very profitable with the iPod/iTunes model. Sell both the hardware and software by controlling the content. Offer better content and DRM is still a nuisance, but you’ll put up with it a bit longer as Apple milks the cash cow. Move that model to the living room and you have the media center hardware and can sell iTunes like Disney movies, working better or cheaper with Apple. Oh, and Jobs collects on the Apple and Disney side. Hey, I don’t blame him, he personifies the American dream. Wish I’d thought of it.

So on the 12th we’ll see if it’s another lame announcement about an lame iPod docking speaker, or selling move movies and hardware. Note, I’ll give Microsoft a D at their try at this; xBox, windoze media software and a large install base and a whole bunch of Wintel boxes…they shoulda had a much better share of the consumer marketplace.

September 2, 1945, The End of the Pacific Theater, WWII

300px-MissouriSurrender.jpg

After a long battle with an enemy that would fight to the death rather than surrender, Japan signed an unconditional surrender to end WWII in the Pacific Theater.

Unlike the battle in the European theater which had previously ended, the Japanese fought on even when the result was known to both sides. It was a greater honor to die fighting, and the ultimate dishonor was to surrender. The US had to make an ultimate statement to convince Japan of the futility of fighting on, that total destruction awaited them if they didn’t give up the fight.

180px-Vjday_kiss.jpg

There was much happiness in the streets that it was over, but much work remained. The Allied forces occupied western Europe and Japan for some 10+ years (and still have a military presence) to help rebuild them and turn both into economic success stories as they embraced freedom, democracy and capitalism. I wonder if these lessons will be learned in the middle east?

Caught in a Time Tunnel

I haven’t blogged much this week as a very interesting experience happened to me and a number of people across the US. I have mentioned that I worked the storage industry 15 years ago. It was a small company in Boca Raton that capitalized on the success of the IBM PC. The company was bought out by the AIWA division of Sony and later folded. I lost track of most of my

co-workers, occasionally finding each other at trade shows, but a few of them contacted me via my blog.

The employees went to any number of companies that include Fujitsu, Compaq (HP), ADP, Ziff Davis and Good Morning America, Disney, LSI Logic, IBM, Lenovo, NetApp, Ingram Micro, Gucci and a few who started their own businesses. (Sorry if I missed some of your companies, not intentional).

The interaction exploded this week with an innocuous note about a reunion, and the communication shot out of a cannon. People added a couple of people they knew until a big list of ex employees were chatting as if the 15 years never happened. It was quite interesting hearing about what everyone was doing, almost like an online college reunion. I read other’s blogs and personal pages. It seems as if everyone has move on to bigger and better things. Who knew that we had that much talent while we were scrapping against the big boys of the industry!

There was a common thread to most of the communications, that being the owner of the company whom I’ll leave at eccentric. Everyone had a story about this owner, and many had multiple stories. It was genuine book material which is what the corporate attorney told me when we worked there. From day one, he kept track of the bizarre behavior and was in disbelief at the antics, saying to me once that he should write about this one day.

Everyone opens and closes chapters in their life. I thought this one was closed, but was delighted that it returned. I was genuinely happy to hear from everyone (almost as it now is described below). As it turns out, others also study the martial arts, some changed careers, there was a funny story about engineers setting up an electric eye cam with speakers in their back room to know when the boss was coming (who said IT guys aren’t creative), and at least one went on to stay in the storage industry.

It brought me back to a different time in my life where I cut my teeth in a lot of techniques that I use today to get my job done.

The story unfolded more this year, as I ran into the former owner of the company and while we had our differences, I decided to extend my olive branch and it was accepted. We discussed racing and life and he even commented on my postings and of the email remembrances. It was quite nice to see that through years, time and maturity (by some of the employees) we could reconnect as humans. Instead of employer/employee status, we were just guys.

One went on to be very famous (Gina Smith) and I was able catch up with at a conference and it was like we were still at CORE.  She was quite gracious and we enjoyed the short time we could spend together.

Unfortunately, it is more than I can say for one of the employees who couldn’t let her emotions go and grow up. One whom I pity was a misandrist who wouldn’t take the olive branch (Sondra).  Like the story above, I offered to bury the hatchet to no avail, and she sent me hate mail in response to my offer to move on.  She was in technical writing and actually worked for me in marketing for a while, but never was able to let go of her hate and responded with ad hominem attack which was very revealing. She didn’t mature from that period, and time stood still for her as far as we were concerned. The dichotomy of the situation was she wanted to be one of the boys while professing to be a feminist, a bipolar relationship with men.

It is funny to me that both of the above two spent time working for me.  I wrote a reference letter to PC Week to do what I could to help Gina.  Little did I know that she would go on to be very successful.  Conversely, despite any attempt to help Sondra, whom I also would have helped in her next endeavor were rebuffed.  That is the way life turns out.  We all had a great time with everyone else in the remeniscing of our days at CORE and the stories about our encounters with the owner.  Only one person couldn’t move on with life.

Anyway, as for the rest of us, it was good to bond based on the time we had spent together earlier in life.