A Visit With Gideon Gartner

I was privileged to work with Gideon Gartner briefly during the early Giga Information Group days (joining about a year in after its founding in 1995.) I was a newbie in the analyst game at the time, although in my prior few years I had done analyst relations formally and informally at two software firms. Gideon was an insurgent, beginning to transform the business model he innovated at Gartner Group a decade and a half earlier, and it was exciting to participate in a vibrant community of smart people deciphering technology trends. Yes, he succeeded, changing the siloed model of multiple services with a “one seat gets all” licensing model. That change is only now beginning to give way to revenue enhancement strategies, as the surviving big firms attempt to monetize in a finer grained way.

Gideon moved on a while later, and Giga was acquired by Forrester, where I spent a number of years as analyst and research executive. In those years I rarely saw Gideon, so it was a great pleasure to be invited to his beautiful NY home recently for a chat over breakfast. Gideon is as probing and feisty as ever, thinking hard about how the business is evolving, experimenting with the blog I link to above, and working on several books about a variety of topics – not least of which is the saga of the Gartner Group. It was a turbulent time, and a little of the detail is in Wikipedia here. If you’re curious about how the industry analyst business evolved, check it out. And watch his blog as he occasionally publishes anecdotes.

As for me, I’ve been pretty outspoken about how I believe the business is continuing to change, and had a good time talking with Gideon about how social media are affecting the model today and what that might mean for the future. I hope that he gets that book out sometime; I know I’ll want to read it. And so, I imagine, will many other people. Publishers take note: this is a book with a built-in audience. Get him while you can; he told me he hasn’t signed a deal yet.

About Merv Adrian
Gartner Research VP, technology analyst and consultant, 30 years of industry experience, covering software mostly, hardware sometimes.

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