Know who you’re talking to:

  1. I’m a technical guy, spent 25 years as a hands-on consultant building networks for mostly midsize organizations.
  2. By any definition I am both a tech journalist, having written for print and web publications since 1987, and an industry analyst, testing products and writing reports. In addition I blog and tweet. If your company or division has separate AR, PR and social media groups I should be on all their radar
  3. I follow the data storage, server hardware. server virtualization, and data center networking areas.  It’s VERY rare I’ll have any professional interest in anything outside those market segments especially consumer products of any kind. Calling, or repeatedly emailing, about products outside those areas is a good way to get me to classify you as a time waster and put you on the email blacklist.  Note some email services like eTeligis are already on the blacklist and are deleted by my spam filter before I see them.
  4. As a matter of policy I honor all embargos, please label embargo lift date on all documents so I don’t forget.
  5. I’m happy to have off the record conversations especially with stealthy start-ups
  6. Yes I’ll sign an NDA

Emails Press Releases and the like

I see the vast majority of my email and respond to the ones I feel merit immediate attention. Don’t call me to see if I got your email unless you have a very good reason to believe I’m already interested.

Personal emails that mention why I might be interested from PR folks that have sent me 4-5 things I’m interested in without chaff inbetween work better than blasts from folks that don’t demonstrate they know me. An email that starts “Howard, since you blogged last month about XYZ I thought you’d be interested in our new client TEG that has a related product” will definitely get my attention.

I’m not interested in:

  1. Customer wins
  2. Staff changes unless you’re hiring or firing a friend of mine
  3. Channel programs, discounts, or other marketing programs
  4. Announcements that other analysts, that are my competition, have said nice things about you or your product(s).

You’re not a leading vendor of anything unless you are the number one vendor of that product AND the category is more than a year old.  I get at least two press releases a week from people claiming to be market leaders in online data protection.  If you’re number 4 you’re a follower. If you’re the only vendor there’s no market to lead yet.

While we’re at it if I have to think about what any word or acronym in your release’s headline is you’ve already lost. “Leading vendor of thing I never heard of hired guy I don’t know and announces east Podunk school district is really happy with their product” is a press release that goes right in the trash. I don’t do news and that means I don’t rewrite releases.  If I’m not interested enough in the product to have my own opinion I’ll write about something else.

I’m not the editor of NetworkComputing, InformationWeek or any other publication. I won’t help you place an article written by your client. Since I get paid to write there’s a conflict of interest there you know.

I am an analyst, my somewhat inflated ego leads me to believe I know as much about the areas I cover as any other analyst. I’m therefore not all that interested in getting an opinion from another analyst. If I want an opinion I’ll have one.

I am interested in survey data or market research as we at DeepStorage don’t do those ourselves.

Where and when I write

I blog twice a week at NetworkComputing.com, about twice a month at Deepstorage.net and write occasional articles for InformationWeek or another outlet.  While I may blog about a given new product I don’t do news and will rarely care about getting my post out before or during your introductory blitz.

Mostly I pick topics as they strike my fancy so a briefing may result in a blog post weeks or months later.

How I like to be briefed

Note that I make most of my living doing sponsored work which limits the amount of time I can spend doing briefings. That I didn’t ask you to set up a briefing on your client’s shiny new product may just mean I was busy.

I do an average of 6-8 phone briefings with vendors a week. Over the several thousand briefings I’ve done I’ve learned a few things that work for me:

I’m going to ask technical questions, have someone that can answer them on the phone.

If there is a PowerPoint deck, send me the deck the day before:

  1. I will have read it before the call
  2. I will print out and take notes on it.
  3. No showing me the deck via Webex or GoToMeeting is not the same. I won’t take enough notes to make up for not having the slides three weeks later when I feel like writing a blog post on your product and will just write something else.

WebEx and GoToMeeting are great for demos. If we’re not doing a demo and I have the deck the phone is plenty. If you make me connect to a Webex let me use the VoIP option. I have quality microphone and headsets. I dislike it when I have to connect to WebEx and also call in on the phone.

I’m interested in a conversation not a lecture. I will interrupt and ask questions. I’m from New York therefore not polite or patient enough to wait till the end.

That means you should avoid using a speakerphone as all but the most expensive speakerphones are half-duplex meaning you can’t hear me ask a question while you’re speaking.  Polycom style conference phones are the exception.

Unless I ask questions skip most of the material that defines the problem. I’m an expert, knowing the problem is my job. If I have to listen to some marketing guy that’s never run a backup how hard it is to be a backup administrator in today’s environment of exploding data one more time I may go postal.

We don’t have to discuss every slide. I may not want to go in order.

If you won’t tell me the price I’ll assume it’s too high.
I’d be happy to meet with you and whatever conference we’re both at, especially if you’re buying a meal. But be prepared for me to pitch our services to you as you’re pitching your products as being so fascinating as to demand a four blog post series.




Category : Working with DeepStorage

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