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Dan Linstedt

Bill Inmon has given me this wonderful opportunity to blog on his behalf. I like to cover everything from DW2.0 to integration to data modeling, including ETL/ELT, SOA, Master Data Management, Unstructured Data, DW and BI. Currently I am working on ways to create dynamic data warehouses, push-button architectures, and automated generation of common data models. You can find me at Denver University where I participate on an academic advisory board for Masters Students in I.T. I can't wait to hear from you in the comments of my blog entries. Thank-you, and all the best; Dan Linstedt http://www.COBICC.com, danL@danLinstedt.com

About the author >

Cofounder of Genesee Academy, RapidACE, and BetterDataModel.com, Daniel Linstedt is an internationally known expert in data warehousing, business intelligence, analytics, very large data warehousing (VLDW), OLTP and performance and tuning. He has been the lead technical architect on enterprise-wide data warehouse projects and refinements for many Fortune 500 companies. Linstedt is an instructor of The Data Warehousing Institute and a featured speaker at industry events. He is a Certified DW2.0 Architect. He has worked with companies including: IBM, Informatica, Ipedo, X-Aware, Netezza, Microsoft, Oracle, Silver Creek Systems, and Teradata.  He is trained in SEI / CMMi Level 5, and is the inventor of The Matrix Methodology, and the Data Vault Data modeling architecture. He has built expert training courses, and trained hundreds of industry professionals, and is the voice of Bill Inmons' Blog on http://www.b-eye-network.com/blogs/linstedt/.

I've always felt that this blog (with the agreement from Bill Inmon, Shawn Rogers, and Ron Powell) is a place for me to express my guarded, guided, and best possible opinion about vendors, the industry, industry direction.  I've also long believed that vendors DO HAVE GREAT PRODUCTS, but sometimes their marketing and sales campaigns get a little over-zelous and advertise "features" that simply arent' quite true, or that the product doesn't behave in the situations they claim it does.

Recently however, I've been getting "flack" from certain areas of the industry because some of the vendors who read my blog don't like what I'm saying.  They are exerting indirect pressure on my friends and industry affiliations to "disconnect me, take me off the map." Claiming I have no right to share my information on this blog, and questioning if I should even be an industry analyst in the first place.

This entry is a question to all my readers (vendors included), and I hope you will respond with your thoughts and comments.

I always do my best to represent the vendor and the industry fairly, and when I receive a number of questions from customers about a particular vendor, I do my best to research the information before posting.  Now, I don't always get it right - but I'm not here to "slander" anyone, and I'm not here to out-right "bash" anyone either.  I hope that my blog entries have been fair, and forward - and oh-yes, I'm human, so I'm positive that I have errors and omissions - to which I have always offered vendors and readers alike to post corrections.

By the way, FULL DISCLOSURE:  the ONLY "marketing articles" I've written for money from a vendor are in Teradata Magazine, and for IBI and their SSIS "plug-ins" for data connectivity.  Come to think of it, the ONLY other place I've collected money for "material" is from TDWI for teaching classes.  In my daily life, I teach a lot of courses professionally around systems design, data warehousing, very large database systems, SEI/CMMI and Project Management, and so on - but we all have a job right?  I've not collected or been paid any money by Microsoft, Oracle, Sybase, IBM, Pentaho, Informatica, or other vendors I've wroked with and helped in the past - at least from a context of sitting on their boards (which I don't), or writing marketing articles for them, or writing paid research pieces for them.

I've always tried to keep a level head, and offer a "no-nonsense, cut through the marketing, approach" to all my entries, and I'm sorry if any of these entries appeared otherwise or were mistaken for other pieces.

Question #1: Does the above disclosure make me biased?  I would have to say, yes - to some degree, but then again BIAS is the way we live our life.  The act of having a job and earning an income makes all of us biased.  But what's your vote on this?

Question #2: Is this blog a place for professionally guided opinion?  Or should this blog be "controlled" by vendor pressure or any other external pressure?  Should I say what the vendors want me to say?

Question #3: I've always tried to make this blog a place where I write "more than a sound-bite", as I don't like to echo news elements or other pieces.  Should I change the format of this blog to be more "sound-bites" and less thought and consideration?

Question #4: Do any of my readors (other than vendors) feel as though I've intentionally blogged something here with intent to harm?  If so, let's discuss this.

Question #5: Should I continue offering "MY OPINION" (based on free speech) on the blog and continue writing about vendors and disclosing vendor names? Or should I never mention any vendor ever again?

Question #6: TO VENDORS: have I written anything about ANOTHER vendor that you've found interesting or helpful?

Question #7: Should a Vendor have enough power to shut me down, force me to remove blog entries, and try to cut me off from the industry?  (this is what is currently taking shape)

I could clearly see problems and issues if I went around bashing, and offering slander, but I just can't see that this is what the blog is about, and certainly: I do not live my life this way.

So there you have it, I'll put it to my readers - please REPLY with comments so that we can take a vote here.  Tell us all what you think about this.

Thank-you kindly, with all due respect,

Daniel Linstedt


Posted May 7, 2009 8:39 AM
Permalink | 6 Comments |

6 Comments

Daniel, you're wrestling with some profound issues here, and they are the heart of the professional ethics and practices of industry analysts. It will be interesting to see what kind of input you get.

There has been a lot of discussion about what happens when "name" analysts" for big firms blog. Many of them would have quite different profiles from you, and there are special issues that come up. I've talked about this on my blog here:
http://bit.ly/Mpljl

It's the most clicked-on piece I've published!

Hi Dan,

This is pretty interesting from an Analyst Relations perspective. Vendors who try to "silence" people, especially in the age of blogs, twitter, etc. are self-defeating imho. Good firms and good A/R programs respond to negative analyst commentary by directly addressing the concerns, and providing access to products or customers so that analysts can verify the facts beyond vendor .ppt claims.

"lightning round" answers to your questions: 1) everybody's biased, including that vendor 2) if your blog becomes vendor controlled, people won't read it 3) same as #2 5) how are you going to talk about interesting goings-on in the industry without ever mentioning a vendor? 6) Yes - all of us vendors love to be written about, but it's more helpful from a business perspective to read insights on [other] vendors 7) no, and it just doesn't seem to me that "shutting people down" is practical in a web 2.0 world.

fight the good fight re: your communications platform, but make sure you give the vendor a fair opportunity to address your comments of course. I've seen these things get incredibly ugly but they've always blown over.

-Lance
Pentaho

Another question for you - does the location of the blog matter?

Matt Asay has two blogs, one for topics related to open source, Alfresco, OSBC etc and another for personal stuff. But that's not really what I'm asking.

Is there any assumed difference in content between a blog on a company site vs a blog on wordpress or blogger.com? Is a company blog taken to be more 'official' than a public one, no matter what any disclaimer might say?

James

Hi Dan,
The truth is everyone is biased as you mentioned. Most vendors have the capability to lie through their teeth, however, in nice marketing speak that can have varied interpretations ... and an "out".

Analyst groups have their own agenda. They are the ones who need to appear unbiased and they do put out really decent stuff at times and complete BS at other times. The truth is their best interests are in keeping the vendors happy for advertising dollars. Most often the quality of the output of information is dependent on the individuals producing it. The main issue with the information they output is that the consumer of that information (senior execs) more often than not, do not have the capacity to relate to or to comprehend the information and make technology decisions based on it. Most large organizations are guilty of this.

It is people like you and me, who are capable of influencing change in the vendors as we actually use their products and help our customers make informed intelligent selections. As users of their products and influencers, it is in their best interests to not have issues with blog posts from technologists, especially those who know what they are talking about. I also have no issues with vendor bashing, especially when they make "tall" claims.

In reality, I do not believe it is possible for a vendor to pressurize and control a blog entry unless they own it and/or are actually willing to compensate for it. It has been tried and it does not work. The resultant is always negative for the vendor.

As far as question 7 goes, it would be the equivalent of a vendor trying to sell poison to its customers and partners to consume - not in its long term best interests.

There are quite a few readers/subscribers to information that you are providing, so please continue writing. The worst case scenario is that the blog will have to be moved elsewhere where a vendor has no control over it, which is .... a piece of cake.

Regards,

Sanjay

The only people who aren't biased are those that haven't really used the software! I think you have to talk about vendors and express opinions about those products, especially when it is based on experience, this tends to bring in the most traffic. Without vendor and product names as keywords and strong opinions you have a perfectly safe blog with 5 readers day.

Have a read of ex-Gartner Vinnie Mirchandani taking Gartner to task for not saying anything on their blogs:
http://dealarchitect.typepad.com/deal_architect/2009/05/gartner-blogs-er-markets.html
http://dealarchitect.typepad.com/deal_architect/2009/05/more-on-gartner-blogs.html

The analysts gaining more influence these days are those expressing opinions in the public domain and inviting debate. What some vendor marketers are slow to realise is that they are worse off when no one is talking about them. After Larry Ellison spent time in his Oracle conference presentation explaining how Exadata was better than Netezza the Netezza sales shot up thanks to the publicity.

Personally, I like people who give advice and analysis, whether it agrees with the Vendor or not. As long as you have good reasoning about what you say and why, the vendor can always comment on your blog on where they believe your analysis is incorrect. The web (and hence blogs) are a great way to come to collaborative understandings.

However, if you comment without good reasoning, then that is a different issue.

For example, if you talk about the wonders of Vendor A and why their widget is so good and then you say "and Vendor B just doesn't hold water against Vendor A", I think that would be different than saying "Vendor A is so good for these reasons and I believe Vendor B falls short because of these reasons", then I think that is reasonable.

In fact, I wish the news media would follow the unbiased approach to advice and analysis by doing "This is what A believes. This is what B believes. This is why we agree with A and why B does not agree with this." Then being intelligent people, we can come to our own conclusions (sorry for the diatribe on the media, but I see this as the same issue!).

Under FULL DISCLOSURE, I know Dan (a little), and have a hard time believing that his advice and analysis would come without good reasoning.

Keep up the good work!

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