Ray Wang Leaves Forrester – What’s Next?

I rarely cover comings and goings, in vendor firms or in analyst firms, but this simply could not pass unremarked. Ray Wang (whose excellent blog is here), a longtime friend and colleague, has left Forrester Research. I was the hiring exec at Forrester when John Ragsdale brought him in, and enthusiastically approving the hire was one of the best decisions I ever made. Ray’s energy, focus, commitment to service, and ambition exceeded any I have encountered before or since.  He pioneered extraordinary, effective deliverables, collaborated with anyone and everyone, and has an unrelenting focus on value. As a manager, my usual comment to him, on one stellar performance review after another, was “Slow down. Make sure you have time for your family.” I’m glad he claims to be doing so now. But somehow I wonder…

Ray will continue to make a huge impact, I’m sure. We all await his re-emergence eagerly, and I know he will continue to be a thought leader that anyone interested in enterprise software would do well to keep track of. He will, I have no doubt, work harder than ever. I know I’ll be in close touch.

The Forrester response to Ray’s departure, in Connie Moore’s blog post, was brief but kind. In its own way, it demonstrates some of the constrictions Ray can now break free from. Connie’s note is warm and generous, and very focused on client questions: who will cover Ray’s space? Will you hire someone else? And those are good things.

But this is a blog. Client questions might have been better addressed in a direct note to clients; others reading the blog will likely not be interested. It’s also of note how few readers commented – this is in stark contrast to the dozens of tweets, blog posts and comments on blog posts found elsewhere (like the thoughtful post by Carter Lusher on Sage Circle) about Ray. He will be leveraging the more open world outside, where an individual analyst can outdraw an entire research firm (Carter blogged on that too, with Jeremiah Owyang as the example.) I’ve talked about this issue before and see little movement yet in big firm blog policies. And for that reason, I’m sure we’ll continue to see highly visible analysts depart the major firms. As the economy begins to improve things should get quite interesting. Sage Circle think this is business as usual. And it is. But change is coming.

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

3 Responses to Ray Wang Leaves Forrester – What’s Next?

  1. Zachary Reiss-Davis says:

    Merv – this is a really interesting post about this topic, but I wanted to let you know that for some reason all of the links within it are broken. (And I wanted to read the Carter Lusher post)

  2. Merv Adrian says:

    So sorry to hear that. I will fix in a few hours. Not at home right now.

  3. Merv,

    A very astute, dry, yet wry observation regarding Ray’s departure. I agree that with the eonomy finding it’s running shoes again in the next couple of quarters that the release of “rock star” analysts and magneto analysts will make for a curious story line with competitors or perhpas with a new player….yet to be named. Comfort Research anyone?

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