As a Research VP, Matt Light advises IT Leaders clients daily, conducts constant research, and travels to speak at summits and Symposium every year — or, as he likes to say, “Join Gartner and see the world.”
From Matt’s manager, Audrey Apfel, Managing VP, IT Leaders: Matt helped establish our PPM research long before the IT Leaders role was established. He has a long string of “firsts” for our research and our business, including the PPM Magic Quadrant, the original Vision events, the Research Community (which he still leads) and other things I have probably forgotten along the way! Matt’s willingness to take on a heavy workload (including always being on the leaderboard for most one-on-ones at Symposium), travel to any corner of the world and, in general, persevere through lots of uncomfortable change, are just a few reasons why I appreciate his continued work on and with the PPM team.
What brought you to Gartner?
I came to Gartner after working at a Bay Area software startup and ComputerCurrents. I had moved back East to join another software startup, managing content of an online database of consumer product reports. When that startup went under, a stroke of luck brought me to Gartner Group — when it was still a “Group.”
What roles have you had at Gartner?
In my earliest role, I wrote articles for Ed Younker’s “Inside Gartner Group This Week,” interviewing analysts and incorporating their research, often paraphrasing for “lay” readers (i.e., business management). I’ve also spent time in Consulting, Marketing, as a Quickpath “duty analyst,” as an AppDev Research Director, as a “‘Zeic” (AD webzine editor-in-chief), Research Community chair (several years and counting), PPM Summit and Vision event research chair and I project-managed the launch of Real Decisions (now Gartner Benchmarking) after we acquired it — and some other stuff.
Tell us about an interesting experience you’ve had at Gartner or something you’d like to share.
I’ve had so many favorite experiences at Gartner.…They include a rare Research off-site, and a trip before Brazil Symposium. At the ‘90s off-site at the West Palm Beach Club Med, I was playing poker with Joe Baylock, Bill McNee and a bunch of others (some may remember names like Braude, Percy, Kirwin), when the subject arose of a cross-Gartner five-year “Scenario” report, looking ahead to 2001.
My Silver Award for Research came from my recklessly volunteering to ride point on developing, with many analysts, the 100-page report, 2001: An IT Odyssey. (Plus, I won $50, mainly from what some thought a bluff.) Another memorable experience I would never have had was a riverboat ride in Manaus, Brazil, where the cold mountain river, Rio Solimoes, flows together-but-separate with the warm, leaf-steeped Rio Negro to form the mighty Amazon. Although the rivers run in the same channel, it takes four miles for the dark acidic jungle waters to mingle with the clear cold mountain water. And then there was my visit to the holy city of Kyoto after a Gartner conference…. and so many other memorable Gartner experiences.
What’s kept you at Gartner for so many years?
Where else can you have so much fun facing new intellectual challenges every day, enjoy the stimulation of colleagues (many smarter than yourself) in a research meeting, then make lunch in your own kitchen, walk the dog, and head off to New Orleans, Cannes or Perth, Australia?
What advice would you give to someone just starting out in their career at Gartner?
Just keep doing your best and have patience. The company’s larger now, but its entrepreneurial heart is still beating strong. Your dream opportunity awaits — maybe a year or two further down the road than you’d wish — but you’ll get there if you just keep truckin’ on.
If you are interested in joining our team, search for an open job here.