David Vellante (@dvellante) is co-founder of The Wikibon Project. David graciously accepted our invitation to answer our infamous “Around in 10 questions” interview – many thanks to him for sharing his insights!
- What are your coverage areas?
Infrastructure 2.0, cloud, virtualization, servers, storage, networking, security, information management, sustainability, CIO strategies
- What are your opinions of the IT Analysis Marketplace and where do you see it going?
The IT analysis market is dominated by a small number of large players however because of the Web, the influence model is shifting.
We see peers as the most trusted source of information and analyst communities that can foster information sharing amongst peers will
become increasingly useful to practitioners.
- What’s your typical day like?
Wake up, do something cardio, check the Wiki for recent changes, fire off some tweets and emails, say goodbye to my wife and kids, get to
work, check some emails, check twitter activity and other news, meet with users, get briefed by vendors, meet with staff and Wikibon contributors, write something in the wiki or the blog, help some clients, work until 2AM and crash or crash early and up at 5am.
- Now, c’mon, tell me an AR horror story?
End user emails me and says he/she wants to post something but a vendor won’t like it. I say it doesn’t matter – if the piece is good
it’s good. User posts the piece. Vendor calls and goes ballistic pointing out all the flaws in the piece. The community chimes in and
we spend a week debating the merits of the piece and finally decide on a final conclusion that gets published. AR contact says they are not a fan of our model and recommends that management never doing business with us.
- How do you position your firm? What is your business model? (where are your revenues coming from, mix between users and vendors?)
We are a research firm that uses a totally different model. We are a community of business technology practitioners that solve problems
using an open source sharing of free advisory knowledge. We make money in three ways: 1) Consulting with both users and vendors on an SoW basis; 2) Underwriting support from vendors who see value in our model and want to help users get access to good information and 3) Supplying syndicated content to partners such as Infoboom and SiliconAngle to better serve their users. Our revenue is split about 1/3; 1/3; 1/3 from these activities.
- What is your research methodology, in 255 characters or less?
We combine primary research directly with our user members with financial modeling and technology research. The main difference is our methodology is an open and iterative process where we seed an idea and that idea is evolved through a collaborative process using tools such as the Wiki. We have regular meetups with our users to support the research agenda and share ideas.
- Any favourite AR professional you’d like to mention? Any why?
Rob Callery at EMC because while we are small he makes us feel big. Always responsive, very informed and an advocate for his firm. He
doesn’t just provide access, or tout the ‘party line’ rather he provides perspective and challenges us in a way that provokes thought.
- Any hobbies or favourite restaurant / food that you’d like to share?
We have an organic garden and grow lots of fruits and veggies. I very much enjoy planting, harvesting and preparing food from the garden
with my wife and kids. My favorite restaurant on the planet is Siro’s in Saratoga Springs, NY—because when I’m there it’s August at the spa.
- What is your biggest challenges for the upcoming 6 months? And for the next 30 minutes?
[Our biggest challenges are always to: 1) keep the community engaged; 2) develop kick butt content for users and 3) grow our business so we can fund new areas of innovation.
- Is there another analyst (a peer in your firm or with another firm) whose work you rate highly?
There are many within my own firm and outside of Wikibon. One Ireally respect Greg Schulz of StorageIO. He has a wide range ofknowledge and has both a technical and business perspective that Ifound quite valuable. But I want to stress there are many good peoplein this business – we’ve come a long way.