Jeffrey Mann

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Jeffrey Mann
Research VP
14 years at Gartner
26 years IT industry

Jeffrey Mann is a research vice president for collaboration and social software at Gartner Research. Mr. Mann focuses on social software, team workspaces, the collaboration market and knowledge management. Read Full Bio

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New Year’s Anti-Resolutions for 2012

by Jeffrey Mann  |  January 1, 2012  |  Submit a Comment

For the last several years, I have done blog posts on what I call my anti-resolutions for the year. Many bloggers publish their predictions and highlights around this time of year. So I won’t. If lots of people do something, that usually is a good enough reason for me not do it.

My resolutions are “anti” in a couple different ways. Happy new year! The main one is that these are not things that I intend to do, but are hopes and polite suggestions about what other people should do. As well as being much easier, it seems to be becoming a thing. Anti-resolutions also suite the way that analysts work; we rarely do stuff, but we comment a lot on what other people or organizations should do or have done.

Most of the resolutions are also “anti” because they describe something that I hope won’t happen rather than new things that should happen. I am generally not a grumpy person, but there’s a lot of undesirable activity going on out there. After reading this, please stop it. Thank you.

  1. Stop finding new ways to SPAM me. I have unsolicited email kind of under control. I’ve signed up for the don’t call me telemarketing lists. I really would rather not have to do that for Twitter, SMS, and other channels.
  2. Don’t think that a social media policy should be a long list of things NOT to do. It is OK for a list of anti-resolutions to sound a bit negative, but for social media policies it’s not a good idea. Describing what people should do, and they the organization encourages social media participation needs to be a part of any policy document.
  3. Please don’t ask me how to improve your position in a Magic Quadrant. The answer is simple: create a great product that people need, sell it a lot, and provide terrific support for your users. It really is that simple. There is no specific feature you can add, or partnership you can sign that will move your product to the upper right.
  4. If you want to set up a time to talk to me, tell me where you are likely to be. I live in Europe. I move around a lot. I have little trouble juggling time zones in my head. Matching up calendars will be easier if I know what time zone you are in.
  5. Don’t make me “like” something before I see what it is. Increasingly often, when I see a potentially interesting game, video, minisite or promotion on some social media site, the only way to see what it actually is requires pressing the Like button, or becoming a fan, or following the brand. How can I know if I like it before I see it? Please don’t ask me to commit before coming clean with what you’ve got.
  6. Don’t diss the vendor-customer relationship. I saw a truck go by on the highway this week that epitomizes this puzzling behaviour I see from more and more vendors. It said “All our customers are our partners!” What is wrong with being a customer? This statement assumes that being a partner is somehow more noble or exalted than being a mere customer. I don’t agree. Accepting someone’s money in exchange for providing a product or service is a great responsibility. Being a partner is a different relationship, where both parties expect to benefit from a third party because of their collaboration. Whenever a vendor starts talking about a “partnership” when they are trying to sell me something, I want to ask “So if I make a bonehead decision, will you lose your job?” That’s what being a partner means.
  7. Make noise about revenue and user adoption, not investments. Here is a tip for startups: I am far more impressed by a company that crows about its sales, revenues or customer growth than when it issues a big press release or (heaven forbid) throws a party to mark a big round of venture capital investment. Sure, it is nice when an investor believes enough in you to invest in your future. But it is far more significant when customers give you money because they believe you can help them. If I only ever hear about your ever larger VC participation rounds, it makes me think you are probably heading for a crash, because investors like to get returns on their investments, the kind that can only come from happy customers.
  8. Don’t think that Silicon Valley is like the rest of the world. Every time I visit clients in the Bay area, I notice how things change as I enter the SV Bubble. Within that bubble, reality shifts a bit. In the SV Bubble, SharePoint is irrelevant because no one uses it. Inside the bubble, privacy is a legal matter and not about not being creepy. Mentions on TechCrunch really matter there. VC investments seem to be more important than revenue numbers in there (see previous point). Ties don’t exist. It can be pleasant inside the Silicon Valley Bubble. Just don’t think that it is the real world.
  9. No one will “Reply all” to more than ten people.
    Please?

Happy new year everyone.

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