For some reason or another - happenstance, patriotism, the Mayan Calendar - for the last decade or so I’ve completely lined up my professional life changes with that of the American Presidential election calendar.
In 2004 I was working at In-Stat, and after 7 years decided it was time to make a change. In 2008 I’d been working at ABI Research for almost 4 years, and I’d started to talk with my friend Om and future boss Paul Walborsky about getting GigaOM into the research business. And so this year - on Election Day 2012 - it makes sense to me that I’d let people know about the new direction I’m taking.
Which is this: I’ve decided to start my own research company, NextMarket Insights.
Before I tell you about my new company, I have to talk a bit about my old one. Leaving GigaOM as a full time employee was the toughest professional decision I’ve ever had to make, because I really love the company and the research group we created in GigaOM Pro.
When I came on board in early 2009, we had this crazy idea of trying to disrupt the research business by offering a low-priced, high-quality subscription research product that allowed individuals to put it on their credit card. It was pretty different from what most tech blogs were doing at the time (and still is), and even more different than that of what traditional tech research has been doing.
We received positive feedback from the market, sold thousands of subscriptions, and learned alot in the process. It was a blast for me, as I’d never got to help create a research company from scratch, and that’s exactly what we did. I was in charge of the research, which included recruiting analysts, setting up the research focus areas, working with editorial to set up our report topics and, over time, and also helping to create a new enterprise business which would help satiate a growing demand from corporate research buyers.
It was all great fun and I learned a ton.
But in the process I also learned something about myself: I like creating new products. I guess I kinda knew that all along, as it was something I had always done during my career at In-Stat and ABI Research, but GigaOM made me realize for the first time that maybe I should do it for my own company.
So that’s what I’m going to do. Last Thursday was my last day as a full time employee at GigaOM (but I’m still staying part of the family - more on that in a minute), and now I’m setting about creating a new research company. The focus will be, broadly, emerging technologies, with a focus on disruptive consumer and business technologies.
More specifically, my passion as an analyst has always been on how new technologies are create disruptive change across industries, and how this change results in gatekeepers and incumbents being challenged n marketplace after marketplace, resulting in large opportunities for entrepreneurs.
In essence, it’s what I’ve been focused on my whole career as an analyst.
Of course I know alot of research firms specialize in just consumer, mobile, or enterprise, or pick-your-poison. I also know that emerging technologies is fairly broad. But I also truly believe trying to better understand how large-scale trends such as social, crowds, new interfaces, as well as new distribution, manufacturing and commerce technologies impact the various consumer and business markets is important. It’s also what I’m passionate about.
What I’m also passionate about is seeing how many of these technologies I write about I can actually leverage myself and for my company. Whether it’s new digital publishing tech, e-commerce platforms, or whatever, I want to explore how I can actually employ them myself in my new venture.
After all, part of the reason I like to write about democratizing technologies - and why I decided to make a go of it myself - is that I think these technologies really do make it easier and create less friction in getting to market, and I want to test this out on a daily basis in the biggest way possible.
And the good news for me is that I still get to be involved with GigaOM, a company I continue to be a big fan of. They asked me if I wanted to continue to contribute and curate for them, and naturally I saw a big win-win in having a great first client, while also giving myself freedom to build my own thing.
So that’s it. Since I’ve only really just started on this venture (even as I’ve given this step in my professional life alot of thought), I still need a little time to create some actual research and build a website. I do anticipate the NextMarket Insights site will be ready in December (you can sign up here if you want to be notified), so stay tuned.
In the meantime, check out posts at GigaOM, as well as over at Forbes, where I’ve signed on as a contributor and where yesterday I started to lay out a vision of what I’ll be looking at at NextMarket Insights in the coming year.
I’m thankful to Om, Paul and everyone GigaOM for the opportunity to work at one of the coolest companies in Silicon Valley, glad I get to continue to be part of the extended family, and now I’m looking forward to the next four years and beyond.