As many of you know, Techdirt is the public face of our Techdirt Corporate Intelligence business, providing customized daily news, information and (most importantly) analysis to a bunch of companies. When we're pitching the service, we often get asked how we're different from the big analyst houses like Gartner. The Gartners of the world focus on being "quotable," while we try to be useful. That is, they provide big reports that they want to sell to a bunch of folks that will allow them to talk about how big this or that market is or what companies are in what "quadrants" in their magic quadrant chart -- which is not very helpful for making decisions. It's only useful for telling either the press or investors how big Gartner says your market will be, so that they'll write an article about your company or invest in it. Our focus is less on the big strategic report, but in giving daily analysis that's customized and put in context for that specific customer, so they can actually use it to do their job today. Of course, some people point out that Gartner will also make recommendations on what tech vendor to pick in some cases -- but again, this has always seemed to be more of a "quotable" situation. It allows you to tell your boss that Gartner said to pick this vendor, rather than actually weighing the pros and cons yourself. But, now, according to former Gartner analyst Vinnie Mirchandani, Gartner has admitted that you're probably better off just flipping a coin to choose a vendor. It's nice of them to realize that many companies spend way, way too much time trying to choose a vendor (absolutely true), but it really does say something when they admit they're no better than a coin flip. Of course, it may be even more telling that Gartner's own analysis of the uselessness of their recommendations may be wrong as well. Vinnie goes through the coin flip process... and suggests companies would actually be better off using dice.
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