Since we’re getting all nostalgic and stuff, I figured I’d dust off the rationale I posted the day we announced that I was joining Securosis. That was over 4 years ago and it has been a great ride. Rich and Adrian haven’t seen fit to fire me for cause yet, and I think we’ve done some great work.
Of course the plans you make typically aren’t worth the paper they’re written on. We have struggled to launch that mid-market research offering. And we certainly couldn’t have expected the growth we have seen with our published research (using our unique Totally Transparent Research process) or our retainer business. So on balance it’s still all good.
By the way, I still don’t care about an exit, as I mentioned in the piece below. I am having way too much fun doing what I love. How many folks really get to say that? So we will continue to take it one day at a time, and one research project at a time. We will try new stuff because we’re tinkerers. We will get some things wrong, and then we’ll adapt. And we’ll drink some beer. Mostly because we can…
The Pope Visits Security Incite + Securosis
When I joined eIQ, I did a “POPE” analysis on the opportunity, to provide a detailed perspective on why I made the move. The structure of that analysis was pretty well received, so as I make another huge move, I may as well dust off the POPE and use that metaphor to explain why I’m merging Security Incite with Securosis.
Analyzing every “job” starts with the people. I liked the freedom of working solo, but ultimately I knew that model was inherently limiting. So thinking about the kind of folks I’d want to work with, a couple of attributes bubbled to the top. First, they need to be smart. Smart enough to know when I’m full of crap. They also need to be credible. Meaning I respect their positions and their ability to defend them, so when they tell me I’m full of crap – I’m likely to believe them. Any productive research environment must be built on mutual respect.
Most importantly, they need to stay on an even keel. Being a pretty excitable type (really!), when around other excitable types the worst part of my personality surfaces. Yet, when I’m around guys that go with the flow, I’m able to regulate my emotions more effectively. As I’ve been working long and hard on personal development, I didn’t want to set myself back by working with the wrong folks.
For those of you that know Rich and Adrian, you know they are smart and credible. They build things and they break them. They’ve both forgotten more about security than most folks have ever known. Both have been around the block, screwed up a bunch of stuff and lived to tell the story.
And best of all, they are great guys. Guys you can sit around and drink beer with. Guys you looking forward to rolling your sleeves up with and getting some stuff done. Exactly the kind of guys I wanted to work with.
Securosis will be rolling out a set of information products targeted at accelerating the success of mid-market security and IT professionals. Let’s just say the security guy/gal in a mid-market company may be the worst job in IT. They have many of the same problems as larger enterprises, but no resources or budget. Yeah, this presents a huge opportunity.
We also plan to give a lot back to the community. Securosis publishes all its primary research for free on the blog. We’ll continue to do that. So we have an opportunity to make a difference in the industry as well.
To be clear, the objective isn’t to displace Gartner or Forrester. We aren’t going to build a huge sales force. We will focus on adding value and helping to make our clients better at their jobs. If we can do that, everything else works itself out.
To date, no one has really successfully introduced a syndicated research product targeted to the mid-market, certainly not in security. That fact would scare some folks, but for me it’s a huge challenge. I know hundreds of thousands of companies struggle on a daily basis and need our help. So I’m excited to start figuring out how to get the products to them.
In terms of research capabilities, all you have to do is check out the Securosis Research Library to see the unbelievable productivity of Rich and Adrian. The library holds a tremendous amount of content and it’s top notch. As with every business trying something new, we’ll run into our share of difficulties – but generating useful content won’t be one of them.
Honestly, I don’t care about an exit. I’ve proven I can provide a very nice lifestyle for my family as an independent. That’s liberating, especially in this kind of economic environment. That doesn’t mean I question the size of the opportunity. Clearly we have a great opportunity to knock the cover off the ball and build a substantial company. But I’m not worried about that. I want to have fun, work with great guys and help our clients do their jobs better. If we do this correctly, there are no lack of research and media companies that will come knocking.
On the first working day of a new decade, I’m putting the experiences (and road rash) gained over last 10 years to use. Whether starting a business, screwing up all sorts of things, embracing my skills as an analyst or understanding the importance of balance in my life, this is the next logical step for me.
Looking back, the past 10 years have been very humbling. It started with me losing a fortune during the Internet bubble. selling the company I founded for the cash on our balance sheet because we couldn’t find enough customers. Trying to start two other companies – to no avail. Then getting fired (or laid off) three times. Quite a decade, eh?
Yet, I persevere. I lived through that and had lots of successes as well. Each of those experiences helped me get to this place and become ready to do this. And I’m ready. So hold on, it’s going to be a great ride.