100 Replies to “Expect Changes at Mzinga”

  1. unfortunately, their delay in responding will cause even more rumor and speculation… which honestly, this ambiguity also is doing

    clearly you did reach out to them and you are right to still post this, I am just saying that this post and their lack of response puts their business development process on hold in the minds of anyone considering their technology

    lots of great people there – sorry to hear this

  2. The briefing will be in one week? That’s a long time to go. And why do they need to talk to an analyst first? Is that their approach of being open and transparent?

    Mzinga should have every interest in addressing any rumors right away.

  3. I have to disagree with Chris.

    If they did in fact agree to meet with him why is it bad that they have a few days to gather there data to properly answer any concerns?

    Though our online connection allows for rapid fire communication and fast answers, sometimes in a corporate setting it doesn’t hurt to get your facts straight before sending off hasty answers which you might have to apologize for later.

  4. I consider this absolute rumor-mongering.

    Posting unverified FUD onto the internet AS AN ANALYST is irresponsible. If you wanted to privately alert your clients via e-mail, v-mail, etc you could. This, instead, seems intended to raise your profile. To do something this way demonstrates the immaturity of this medium and, IMHO, of you.

    You’re a bloody analyst! Telling the world to stall deals until YOU can comment on Monday? Give it a break, mate.

  5. Ugh — Jeremiah, I respect your reasons for posting — I will say Mzinga is still full of super talented people and has enough technical assets, expertise and vision to build a killer business. The recent social learning release really is compelling, and from my perspective is a great proof point for the future of social apps being deployed in clever, business-value-creating ways.

    I hope the potentially alarmist nature of the twitterverse doesn’t stall growth that Mzinga has earned and deserves in the market.

    For the record, I did leave voluntarily for my own personal reasons (http://tinyurl.com/dhg8gc) which has left a temporary social spokesperson gap, but I suspect that Mzinga’s market challenges (and opportunities!!) are the same as any other small/mid sized vendor. It is choppy water out there in big-sized software deals, matey! Mzinga has software pros to steer their boat, and (to complete the bad boat metaphor) isn’t taking on water yet!

    I don’t doubt that there will be change to report after Monday’s briefing (though I have not been active on the management team since giving notice a few weeks back), but I challenge all of us to listen closely and not penalize a company that optimizes around its customers, opportunities and market conditions. Mzinga wanted to boil the proverbial social software ocean — and I hope that it will… But course corrections and shifts are common in tough economic conditions like this.. It still is a private company, which should allow it to tweak business models for scale, customer and stockholder value.

    Mzinga has solid customer relationships and great implementations out there. I think they are still in the top 3 or so in terms of revenue and customer count.. they have a flexible structure and a desire to grow this market — all of which are good for you and your readers!

    As we communicated via DM, I would be happy to answer any additional questions about the company as a now “outsider” once you are officially briefed.

    Meanwhile, I hope people still buy from the company this week — I’m telling you — the Social Learning Suite we announced a few weeks back is a solid step forward and proof of platform integration and unique, differentiated product building.


    Former CMO, Mzinga

  6. “I strongly recommend that any Mzinga clients or prospects stall any additional movement till they brief me next Monday.”

    Jeremiah, why post such a ridiculous statement that is based solely on Twitter rumors (that you pretty much started in the first place).

    Way to go.

  7. I have to agree — reporting on rumors before speaking with the company is likely to tarnish unnecessarily both their and your reputation. Ouch.

  8. Jeremiah, i follow your blog and tweets with interest and you have provided excellent insight but I found this post pretty irresponsible and if I am honest, I would question your motivations. For example, why state:

    “…Why this post? It™s my obligation to have my clients best interest in mind, and this is the fastest way for me to reach them, by using the tools where we™re already connected.”

    I have clients and I can reach them very quickly without making my thoughts public. And to advise people to put things on hold whilst you find out what is happening also makes me question what role you want to play through your blog.

  9. I agree with the Peter (and Edw3rd) who posted above. This doesn’t reflect well on you, Jeremiah. It’s a HUGE deal to tell clients/prospects to back off of buying, without any facts that warrant saying that. It reeks of you somehow trying to “punish” Mzinga for not getting in touch with you earlier. As I said, it reflects really badly on you as an analyst.

  10. I also question your motivations, Jeremiah. What you posted is all but slander.

  11. “It™s interesting to note, that if I don™t hear from the company themselves, others will tell me, resulting in my asking questions in public.”

    … I feel like I’m in high school all over again.

  12. I am thinking about going on Twitter and spreading a rumour that Forrester analyst @jowjang is in trouble and owes Mzinga an apology otherwise he will face a reprimand from his employer. I might even advise that all his clients dont speak to him until we have all investigated the motivations behind his actions. It would be pretty irresponsible of me to do this though, wouldn’t it?

    Admit you were wrong to post this rumour, make your apology and we can all move on.

  13. This doesn’t sound like Jeremiah “reaching out to his clients as quickly as possible”, this sounds more like Jeremiah taking punitive measures against Mzinga for not including him in their business decision making process.

    Was he denied a consulting gig or something?

  14. Everyone

    Thanks for the feedback, I’m listening to it all, some of it, well, pretty painful.

    This wasn’t the reaction I was expecting, and certainly appreciate when the community comes back and self-corrects actions. This is clearly one of those situations.

    Believe me, I’m thinking this over, and appreciate the comments.

    sincerely, jko

  15. “This wasn™t the reaction I was expecting”

    What type of reaction were you expecting?

  16. I have to say that it is incredible that an analyst that is supposed to be “fair and balanced” is spreading rumors and speculation on the web – in “Twitterverse”. Whether the rumors and speculation is correct or not is beside the point. This is not something that I would have expected out of someone that works for Forrester, but I guess that now we know where their priorities stand.
    An apology is the least thing that can come out of this situation. Maybe you should take some classes in how to become a writer for the National Enquirer – oh, then again, it looks that you already have. Do you have any photos that you can doctor up?

  17. Edw3rd and Peter hit it right on the money. You are acting way above your pay grade. More Junior Analyst than not. And you’ve fed right into the perception most of us have with Analysts. Go get some more business experience.

  18. As the chairman of Mzinga, I am disheartened by your communications today given your position as an independent authority in the social media space.

    As a long-standing client of yours, we brief many Forrester analysts regularly, and keep you and your colleagues apprised of our business. We are happy to communicate with you directly about your concerns per our response today.

    I am encouraged by the sentiments expressed by the community and want to thank those who have spoken out about the importance of acting responsibly.

    Until we have a chance to speak directly, I feel compelled to remind our customers and the market that Mzinga is one of the most established businesses in the social media space, with a wealth of talented people who care about our clients and their success. We would hope you would too.

  19. I’m sorry Jeremiah, but it seems clear that this was a tremendous mistake on your part and possibly a breach of ethics.

    While the company in question obviously does not have it’s crisis communication managed, you have gone well beyond serving your clients and into passing unfair public judgement that has consequences well beyond your stated intent.

    All my best,

  20. Jeremiah, I think this just proves that you are like many people on Twitter right now, out to preach for your own sake / good. You’ve crossed the line of responsible journalism and I believe the responsible thing would be to apologize. It is clear the company rep wanted to discuss this offline via DM with you. Just because you didn’t get a response does not / did not merit your Twitter post.

    It’s just WRONG, in my opinion. Wrong use of forum/Twitter. What is wrong with email?

    I feel sorry for this company and honestly will use this as an example of how this self annointeds on Twitter can be dangerous to your company’s health. Shame on you, I think it’s an abuse of power.

  21. Why?

    I could not believe the tweet when I saw it earlier today–and the post feels like ‘shoot first, ask questions later’… because I’m certainly shocked and awed.

    The thing is Jeremiah, you know better than anybody how rumors spread on the interwebs. And this could seriously hurt a company–actually it likely already is.

    It doesn’t feel fair and balanced. It does feel irresponsible and damaging–I just can’t understand why you couldn’t wait until they could brief you and then report on it? Not talking months, just a few days.

    Really… why?

    Disclaimer: I know next to nothing about Mzinga. I find their name funny and their offerings quite interesting. That said, perhaps they, too, are shelling out millions in taxpayer money to fund bonuses, private jets and Vegas junkets. (see what I did there… I just started another rumor)

  22. Umm,

    I’m still waiting for an apology? Regardless of who you favor as a provider in the social media space, Jeremiah and perhaps Forrester have shown their true colors here.

    I had always assumed, that an Analysis was different from “The Media”. By the very definition of the word, I suspected an analyst to “analyze” the data before posting findings. (You know analyze = http://thesaurus.reference.com/browse/analyze, my personal favorite being “think through”)

    Instead, you’ve chosen to pander to the quick story for “hits”. This is something I might expect to see on Mashable or Tech Crunch but here? In the presence of intelligent contributors, and thinkers?

    Come on…. man up and be accountable.

  23. Big oversight to drop a communication such as this into the market place. Facts not fiction should be the mantra of these communications. Thats our strength – we can communicate the truth quicker than any other medium. This sort of statement damages the reputation of our on-line communities, does damage to Mzinga and clearly does damage to you Jeremiah. I note your later comment about “I’m thinking this over…”. Thinking what over? Apologize now, on-line and in person to Mzinga and even more so to the people that work there!

  24. So glad that you’ve shown your real colors. It’s a shame when so many within this nascent industry count on real research and data to make informed buying decisions. If I were your boss at Forrester, I’d can your ass!

  25. he is busy moderating another expert panel of social media experts at a social media expert conference

  26. The silence on jowyang’s tweets is deafening.

    With respect to the company, I am glad the rest of the Twitterverse knew where to go for the reprimand – this blog – and not Twitter.

    Just goes to show that despite all the technology – it’s still human beings behind a monitor and keyboard. And human beings make mistakes.

    I expect a long deafening silence and a Time Out..and a clarification/apology.

  27. I hate to pile on (again) here, but this incident really needs to become a poster child example of the dangers of our cherished new media. Analyst shoots without thinking (perhaps in a power-strutting fit of pique over being supposedly slighted), then seemingly wants to take time to “think it over” instead of issuing an instant, real-time abject apology. Live by the sword, die by the sword, in other words.

    The more time that elapses as he moderates the “expert panel of experts”, failing to respond further and/or to apologize, the deeper the damage.

    We really all should take a lesson from this.

  28. J, wow – I think you clearly overstepped here. Even if all true – its not your role to act as a “Reporter” with a hot story and break the news.

    We compete very vigorously with Mzinga – its a fair market – this is not fair at all.

  29. I will definitely be using you as a case study during my presentations of how not to use social media. I’d love to be a fly on the wall at Forrester.

  30. I strongly recommend that anyone stall any additional movement with Forrester until we know more about this…

    Or should we… Jeremiah clearly made a mistake here. Don’t we all make mistakes? are 2,3 or 8 hours of “thinking” going to make a difference and sink Mzinga? …please, yes Jeremiah made a mistake but really, even if we don’t hear from him until tomorrow, Mzinga will still be the same as it is tonight, in the morning… Has the immediacy of twitter already taken over how businesses are ran and do we have to have Jeremiah’s head tonight? One mistake….
    This being said, Forrester should definitely set some policy around what their analysts are allowed to post.

  31. I’m really outraged at J’s irresponsible post. Fortunately my fellow citizens have made most of my points for me. The damage you did to Mzinga’s customers, partners and employees is very bothersome, especially without even talking to Mzinga. I would love to understand your motives. I also compete with Mzinga but all it takes is 4 anonymous sources and my company would face similar circumstances. We’re in a small emerging industry and what is done to one is done to all.

  32. If Forrester doesnt fire you for this type of mistake, I’ll be shocked. You are working for a leading analyst organization. This is wrong on so many levels.

  33. I believe Forrester does have policy but Jeremiah may have forgotten his place in all the hoopla at sxsw. (in less than 140 characters – the guy thought his words were dogma). In fact, if you look at his previous Tweet posts, he mentioned about being a consultant versus an employee.

    I think he may have seriously damaged his reputation and on all things SM related – I don’t think you can reinvent yourself. Don’t forget this blog is Jeremiah’s and not Forrester’s.

    Sorry, JKO but a short mea culpa on here isn’t enough.

    btw, he was already introducing a new Twitter person from Forrester today. A ghostwriter, perhaps?

    Ah…the wonders of the interweb!

    You are right..this is the poster child how NOT to socialize in this medium. FAIL!

  34. MJ ~ “Don™t forget this blog is Jeremiah™s and not Forrester™s.”

    I would agree with this… but I think Jeremiah was acting as a Forrester employee when he made the following statement:

    “I strongly recommend that any Mzinga clients or prospects stall any additional movement till they brief me next Monday.”

    Clearly, he was making a recommendation as a Forrestor employee to his clients.

    I agree with others, he should be fired for this tasteless article.

    Sleep well, my friend.

  35. “I promise to be fair and balanced in my coverage towards Mzinga “yet with the interest of buyers and brands foremost”.

    Uhhmmm… after I tell you to stall. Because I am king of the world!!


  36. Hey @Mzinga Competitor
    It reminds me at “How told you that life is fair” 😉
    But seriously why is Jeremiah doing that?
    1) Because he is leaving Forrester anyway
    2) Because he is starting his own business
    3) He want’s to get fired and take some golden handshake

    Just watch the pattern:
    1) In order to keep up in Twitter Jeremiah is using an auto feeder. Not a big deal unless recently Google had a massive down and Jeremiah’s tweet were as meaningless as in the past like “Hey look at me I have dinner with – who cares”.
    2) Now some people seem to have similar Twitter accounts. Jeremiah like in Kindergarden ran to Even and ask to “take those others down” – because he feels his account is “compromised”.
    3) Now do another splash and abuse the role of an “analyst” oh well…

    So wait for the next. I’m sure is accusing the president for not taking him as CTO *LOL*

    I think we can all agree – even so Forrester as a traditional analyst and as such in deep trouble. This one is a “Jeremiah” not a “Forrester” story.

    Just my 2 cents

  37. I’m not saying I agree fully or disagree fully. I just want to point out three things.

    1) People are only commenting because they care about this blog, Jeremiah’s opinion and they want to make this the best industry resource it can be. They love you Jeremiah.

    2) “Wait until Monday” is not the end of the world. Few projects kick off overnight. Any clients that were already in hopper and ready to launch before Monday have a responsibility to ask Mzinga what’s happening Monday. And a smart Mzinga rep will be able to deal with this question truthfully and transparently. This isn’t any information that should kill a sale, and if the company is going belly up, not to warn potential clients would be irresponsible of both the company and those in the know not to share this information. This may not have been the best possible wording for a post, but it isn’t cataclysmic.

    3) Mzinga has been actively engaged in the conversation. I’m not saying the right people have been in all the right places, but I just received a comment from a Mzinga employee on my related post. They are engaging, I would bet they just took too long to get their ducks in a row (probably because of the staffing changes referenced in this post).

    4) This is not a Forrester blog. This is a career blog. This is an industry leader sharing his opinion. This is not a research company sharing a report. As we’re commenting, I think it’s important that we separate the two.

  38. I have to say, what an odd piece of apologia from jon burg above.

    This is **of course** a Forrester blog (and twitstream). JKO’s profile on Twitter says, at the top, “Currently employed as Senior Analyst, Social Computing, Forrester Research”. His blog identifies him, right under his picture, as ”
    Senior Analyst, Forrester Research, Social Computing”. And finally, this very post talks about “my recent Wave” (i.e., a Forrester product), and speaks several times of “my clients”. I really doubt he’s talking about his own personal consulting clients.

    You simply can’t separate JKO himself away from his Forrester role when he comments on social media, in **any** forum (Twitter, blog, SXSW panels, whatever). Even if you don’t know or understand that, he should. And he obviously does indeed, in that he attempted to leverage his Forrester “bully pulpit” perceived power through this amazingly hamfisted strong-arm approach to Mzinga, simply because they didn’t call him back quickly enough.

    As for JKO’s effort to block sales this week for Mzinga, yes, that sort of thing can very well be “cataclysmic” to a small company. It doesn’t take much to get a groundswell of rumor and innuendo to take on its own life. And it’s always the case that “bad news goes on page 1, retraction on page 29.” So come on. Don’t minimize the potential damage here.

    And no, we’re commenting not because we “love Jeremiah,” but because we see a **serious** and very disturbing error of judgment and professionalism here. Make no mistake about that. I’d have to agree with those who have labeled this a dismissible offense, especially with no apology having been issued.

  39. Jeremiah –

    I am deeply disappointed in your lack of leadership and professionalism here. You have stepped past the line as an analyst by a long mile in my opinion and experience.

    You can’t be an analyst at a leading firm by day and a radical blogger at night and think the two voices can be autonomous (hmmm….this post was done during working hours, right?)

    Also, shame on Forrester Research for not giving you ethical and legal training that might have avoided this damaging post.

    @Jon Burg – two things:
    1) people are not commenting here because “they love you Jeremiah.” They are commenting because they are offended and pissed. There is a big difference.
    2) disagree with your 4th point. They are not distinct, separate black and white worlds.

  40. @peter – I’m not apologizing for anyone. I’m just suggesting that JO is a trusted resource, and he has his following because people value his opinion. This is a career blog. There is a fine line between a career blog and a corp blog. Read the “About” section. Check out the email address.

    This is getting enough negative attention. I have met with Mzinga. As someone working at a major digital agency, this would not persuade me not to work with them. This would be cause for further investigation. We’re all entitled to our opinion.

    I think the most productive debate we could have right now is not one of dismissal, but positive action moving forward. That’s all.

  41. I’ve got to say, I’m impressed. I’m impressed with all that time you have to comment..

    46 comments from which 90% is about “did J go wrong?”…

    people get pissed, people get offended, people get intrigued = people get emotional..

    there is one thing I know about life is that getting all emotional during such events is not good. It won’t change the past, it won’t help the future.

    So please, do yourself a favour and spend your time more productively. I think J got his feedback about this post and it’s more than he thought – is it? honestly? – and now all we can is just wait and see what happens next…

    till then, chill…

  42. Arvind – Im glad you’re impressed. These comments ARE productive. Consensus is that people are upset because a rogue arrogant analyst crossed the line in this emerging medium. Let them speak. You’re entitled to your opinion – or not.

    Doing NOTHING is worse. If you don’t vote, you don’t get an opinion. You know the saying.

    I’ve got to say – the title of this blog “Web Strategy” is quite apropos. Piss ’em off in a forum and get at least 49 or so people to comment on your blog. If that was the motive – it sure works. This is, after all..the gist behind the New Media phonomenon!

    What also works is that folks (like you, like me) are not neophytes in social media. We may not be Senior Analysts but give us more credit.

    Now let’s all try and fix this mistake – somehow.

  43. @MJ – yeah, doing nothing is worse. But hey! Some people said that he could/should send this info via mail not publicly… so maybe you should too? 🙂
    (just making a point, nothing more)…

    I’m still a beginner in this market but it seems to me like you thought that JO is some kind of God who can’t make mistakes and one – huge, but still, one – mistake makes him a ZERO. That’s what those comments says. If you had a possibility to throw a rock he would be probably dead by now…just think about it.


  44. Wow.

    Just to point out I do have an interest here in that my company is a client of Mzinga’s but nevertheless….

    I’m not going to add to the litany of misery that Jeremiah is at least having the balls to not delete from his blog.

    Twitter, presumably, has distributed this rather extraordinary faux pas with virus like speed given the number of comments here, far outweighing the norm.

    Twitter has the effect of making those within the industry capable of posting what appears to be News but is in fact comment. It also has the effect of gathering ‘fan clubs’ around people, which may give an over inflated sense of what those “flashes” are worth in the wider spectrum. there’s a lot of ego pressure involved.

    I would hazard a guess that Jeremiah is preparing a contrite and somewhat humiliating post in which he explains his actions. I would suggest to all nay-sayers who want to post saying how disgusted they are, they’ve never seen anything like it etc, etc, that… I’m guessing he’s got the message. Therefore don’t fire up your ire any more than you have to, and calmly await further developments.

    I would also politely point out that all of us make professional mistakes, and before commenting, rationalising your thoughts re: casting stones might be in order.

    …awaiting fallout with interest, and feeling a certain human sympathy for our Forrester colleague here.

    (And definitely not ceasing trading with Mzinga!)

  45. Jeremiah, I respect your work and find pretty much every Twitter post to be insightful and incredibly valuable. But to me, this post shows that you need to be humbled. When you are talking about “rumored” changes, you need to leave it at that. There are people’s jobs on the line. People with child! People with dreams! People that are passionate about their job.
    The beauty of Social Media is it allows people to be human-and to err is human. So I will throw you a mulligan for this one. However, Social Media also self regulates-I would be remiss if I didn’t call you out. Telling companies to stop buying from Mzinga is not your job. Your job is to analyze, not be passing judgement on who companies should be doing business with based on “rumors”.

  46. This is a case study of the worst social media has to offer (Jeremiah’s desire to flex in a public forum) and the best social media has to offer (the reaction of the masses). Several lessons to be learned here, curious to see Jeremiah’s positioning.

  47. After reading that “apology”, it wreaks of:

    “I have been asked by my employer to write something, but do not believe that I an in the wrong”.

  48. ENOUGH already. It is clear to me that this post was an attempt to protect his customers from potential problems. This was not posted out of spite, but in fact from an apparently deep concern for the future of Jeremiah’s clients.

    Intentions should matter. We should be a little more understanding and forgiving; Jeremiah is only human. We are all human. This type of ‘mob’ behavior demonstrates that fact completely.

    How many have to join in to pubicly criticize one of our own before this madness ends? This space is for learning and feedback, but this was way overboard. Talk about intimidation…

  49. I can’t be bothered to write this post, because it will benefit no one that reads it, yet it will, and please do think about that point.

  50. Wow. Jeremiah stepped in it big time, and then tried to wipe it off his foot with a single tissue, only because he *thought* he *ought* to, not because he really believed he stepped in it. As someone else said, it merely (for some of us) confirms our view of analysts (shouldn’t that be 2 words? 🙂 )

    A tin ear, and zero actual real-world business experience. Mzinga would, I believe, have a *strong* legal case against both Forrester and Jeremiah for this posting.

    Remember, the proper order is “Think, write, THINK AGAIN, post.” Not “Write, post, maybe think, ‘apologize'”

  51. I’m Totally BLOWN by how -ruthless- some of you are about someone’s mistake. It’s as if you have never made a mistake. Rather, you sit high upon a hilltop, not even as wolves, but as cannibalistic sheep.

    I’ve long admired social media’s ability to show one’s colors as I’ve long believed “it all comes out in the wash”. Some of the above comments are testaments to this and I’m glad you’ve outed yourselves.

    Perhaps you follow, without question, every recommendation by any individual or organization. I fail to understand this.

    Next time you step on your ass, I hope you are shown more compassion than you have for Jeremiah.

  52. “I™m Totally BLOWN by how -ruthless- some of you are about someone™s mistake.”

    When the mistake could cost the jobs of many — you better believe one would have the right to be “ruthless”.

  53. A NYT or WSJ reporter quotes a source after he/she calls for the other side of the story. You have safe harbor if you quote your source with an absence of malice. None of the posts mention the L word, but you can bet the L word in on everyone’s minds. The L word is lambchop.

  54. We are all upset about the global economy and concerned for our future in these rocky times. Jeremiah is speaking his opinion in the format of a blog and is actively seeking commentary. I don’t believe it’s necessary to attack him for stating an opinion. This isn’t part of an analyst report (where, by the way, he gave props to Mzinga). These are indeed troubling times for everyone,and software is no exception. Mzinga team – I’m sending you good thoughts and fully expect to see you pull through to compete in some deals to come 🙂

  55. While I feel (somewhat) sorry for Mzinga, I have to laugh at the comments here. What is wrong with you people? Jeremiah is a poseur and always has been.

    He takes a simple, obvious idea that other people have thought of and states it (and in mangled grammar, at that, as someone pointed out above). I met JO briefly just after he left PodTech and he tried to worm his way onto a panel he was not invited to be on. At that time, I made the decision to steer clear of him because I could tell he was all smoke and mirrors.

    A couple of months after that, he wrote a blog post once where he used language that gave the impression that he had created something that in fact, *I* had built. But he managed to make himself look responsible.

    Those are the only two “interactions” we’ve ever had (and one was really just me reading about something on his blog), but they were enough to turn my stomach.

    Which is better? To spout platitudes and hyperbole? Or to teach your clients to think about things in a way that empowers THEM to have the insights needed to engage their communities.

    I am a social media consultant. I have developed successful, substantive content for my clients. The result is that you can find a lot more about my clients online than you can about me. THAT is the way it should be.

    But JO and his buddies in the echo-chamber are so busy blowing themselves and each other (see the first comment) that they have fooled themselves into thinking they matter.

    Wake-up people: the only mistake JO made was in being too obvious with his usual poseur M.O. Finally a little transparency around here!

    The more relevant mistakes, sadly, were made by Mzinga and Forrester.

  56. Does captain arrogant the analyst expose himself to any legal liability by this musing??

  57. I held off on commenting yesterday because I wanted to think my thoughts through clearly.

    Qualifications: Mzinga is competitor. Haven’t met Barry Libert. Have no financial or other interest in Mzinga.

    The Point: Both the Twitter post alleging financial problems based on undisclosed interviews and heresay and the blog post demanding attention and discouraging customers were amongst the most unprofessional behaviors the industry has ever experienced in this environment.

    This type of commentary affects a lot of people – their employees, families, friends as well as customers. As I understand it, JO’s role is as an industry analyst – not a financial analyst. And as I also understand it, Mzinga is/was a client. At a minimum I look back to Barry Libert’s promotion of JO as one of his favorite follows on twitter. The bond seemed close to the outside world.

    The type of comments made should never be made at all. They should never be made casually. They should never be made for purposes of anything other than objective analysis of the industry – never personal motivation. The consequences should always be considered – the innocent people who are impacted.

    And at a minimum, the sanctity of client relationships should always be honored. Assuming that Mzinga is a client, my gosh. How would any client (or prospective client) view this objectively? Can we imagine any other analyst or analyst firm doing something like this?

    Everyone in the industry should be very disappointed in what happened here. It was about as unprofessional as anything that we have ever seen. Unless there is a heightened level of objectivity in our industry, the industry is going to experience a complete lack of credibility – fueled by this kind of behavior. If Jeremiah is a recognized leader – what can the financial industry, marketing industry and customer groups be thinking about now?

    This was very serious. Barry Libert’s comments above were more than gracious (and restrained). Though a competitor, we have nothing but respect for what the Mzinga team is trying to accomplish. And they have done it nothing but professionally.

    Apologies are important. But this goes beyond apologies. It is just very serious in all respects – not limited to Mzinga and Forrester. The comments were completely unnecessary and ill-conceived. I hope that it can get sorted out and that the damage to all can be minimized – Mzinga, JO, Forrester, and the industry as a whole. Hat’s off to Barry Libert for being so restrained.

    Complete lack of good judgment from someone upon whose judgment the industry depends.

  58. Jeremiah,

    This brings back real bad memories…

    As a former CMO at a fairly successful software startup (eRoom Technology – acquired by Documentum in 2002), I can tell you that when an analyst starts doing what you did, business gets impacted for the company that you are slamming.

    In our case we were readying ourselves for an IPO and as part of that we became customers of analyst firms that we had not been previously associated with. One of them was a firm where the analyst in charge of collaboration software had consistently written great thing about us. Needless to say that after becoming a customer the love fest continued. Two days before we were supposed to file our S1, the market crashed. We raised $20M from our customers and went into a “hunkering down” business mode.

    When the annual analyst firm contracts came up for renewal, I eliminated many of them. The next thing we knew was that the analyst who had been our champion for 4 years all of sudden decided to publish a paper, without giving us an opportunity to debrief, saying that we were in financial difficulties and warning customers to stay away from us.

    Some did…

    Thankfully another prominent analyst (from a competing firm)who had been a true believer in how we solved customer problems volunteered to help us in specific sales situations. And fortunately we became the largest software M&A transaction in 2002.

    Analysts had a mixed bag reputation to start with, and I believe that the industry was looking forward to a new generation of analysts with 2.0 principles to fix that reputation. While I respect your thinking around many of the topics you write about, this incident clearly does not help in rebuilding confidence in the process.


  59. I should have disclosed that I was employed by Shared Insights (one of the predecessor companies that led to Mzinga), to be the first Chairman of the Community 2.0 Conference. I have not worked with them since then.

  60. Phewww, glad to see today’s apology. But, methinks the egg cannot be put back together. When i read this piece I sighed – your reputation with was dinged significantly. Though not in the market right now for a product like Mzinga i recognize the difficulty organizations have in making purchase decisions for this type product/service and how tough it is for companies selling them to keep sales above costs. Given your position you should have never allowed yourself to post materially impactful information that is unsubstantiated. You must have a maillist of clients, send it to them, but don’t post it publicly. “…not going to start rumors and I™m not going to speculate without first talking to the company.” was specious, the weapon was the post overall, particularly this zinger “I strongly recommend that any Mzinga clients or prospects stall any additional movement till they brief me next Monday.”

    I learn a lot from your blog and I appreciate your insights. This post detracted from your credibility with me.

  61. Francois, me thinks this sounds all too familiar now. PR firms and analysts are the NEW financial analysts and hedge fund managers. Who can we really believe these days?

    While JO posted a succinctly worded apology, it was not nearly ‘remorseful’ – he will let time heal this wound and will hope it gets buried in the sand (tweets).

    I have alerted several corporations about the need to publish Corporate Social Media guidelines which very clearly states that ”when you get on FB or Twitter or whereever” on company time, you are subject to blah blah blah.

    I clearly expect this to be a very good example for the case. Perhaps for that, we should thanks Jeremiah.

  62. I would expect Forrester has an official blogging policy — Charlene Li has written research in the past and posted guidelines on her blog. My employer, Gartner, has a blanket social media policy that applies to employees both on the clock and off it — you can find it here. I’d be surprised if other analyst firms that allow blogging didn’t have similar policies.

    The issue, I think, is not so much that JO mentioned the rumors, as his advice and the presumption behind it. If he’d written, “I’m hearing a lot of rumors about changes at Mzinga, and I don’t know what’s going on there. There are always lots of rumors that accompany management changes at a start-up, though, so don’t panic, just remember to do financial due diligence on any start-up that you’re considering doing business with,” I don’t think anyone would be taking pot shots at him here.

    One of the key lines that separates industry analysts from bloggers (and journalists) is that analysts are not driven by “the scoop”. Bloggers gain attention by being first and by being controversial. Analysts are valued for measured responses, not shooting from the hip. Analysts (IMHO) can blog gut reactions and superficial takes and personal opinions, but have to be careful to note that it’s not thorough analysis and they’re not advising anyone to take meaningful action based on that.

    Jeremiah has apologized. We don’t know what Forrester management has asked him to do or not do with regard to the situation, so it’s probably worth cutting him some slack. I wouldn’t be certain that the next move or what he can say or not say, is at his discretion, and we probably can’t know what he wants vs. what Forrester wants, so further public flogging on whether or not his apology is adequate is probably of limited value.

  63. As a competitor to Mzinga, I have to say that I had the pleasure of meeting Barry Libert who was presenting at Harvard Business School a few weeks ago. I came away from our conversations deeply impressed by Barry and his vision. As such, I’m sure any changes being made are sound business decisions and will result in Mzinga being a more formidable competitor. Bring on the competition!

  64. Lots of emotionally charged emails above. Some I can understand, some I question if they are warrented.

    It’s important to look at intentions, was Jeremiah trying to hurt or help the company or his clients? I say he was intending to do the right thing, but fumbled along the way

    Although premature, three days later Mzinga announced letting go of the CEO and laying off 18% of the workforce.


    His style in delivering the information didn’t come across right but he was right afterall.

  65. This is the price of a very narcissistic occupation. I do not feel one ounce of ‘sorry’ for Jeremiah. From what I see, Forrester is leading the charge among research firms – to tarnish the value of quality research in a social media world.

    In fact, Jeremiah is not the only analyst at Forrester to engage in such poor, immature, inexcusable behavior (via blog, twitter, etc.).

    Merv Adrian (a former Forrester analyst) is starting a great discussion on this issue in a blog post titled: “Analyst Bloggers – Threat or Menace?” http://mervadrian.wordpress.com/2009/03/19/analyst-bloggers-threat-or-menace/#comments

    When will Forrester management realize that their brand is greater than that of any individual analyst? This behavior is a slap in the face of ‘research’ and will continue to hurt Forrester in the long run unless they take serious and immediate action to govern how their analysts use personal blogs for conducting and syndicating ‘so called research’ outside of traditional research processes. Totally inexcusable and I hold Forrester management more accountable than any analyst – because they SHOULD KNOW BETTER. They have been conveniently ignoring these issues for months.

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