We’re developing an important new capability within FirstRain this month and there are many opinions and ideas knocking around the brainstorming meetings. As you can see here the ideas come in vibrant colors, and one of our lead researchers has come over from Gurgaon for a couple of weeks to play a key role in the design process.
Getting everyone’s ideas on the wall, organizing them into themes, and prioritizing the groups helps us build a richer product implementation. We believe you just get better products if you have a robust brainstorming methodology as a team.
Per Technorati’s State of the Blogosphere Day 1 report – some fascinating statistics on who is blogging. It’s not the teenage unemployed geeks or housewives writing about their kids that the press sometimes imagines. It’s a business relevant, earning group, which is why blogs are rising so rapidly in importance as a source of news and the new wave of publishing – citizen journalism.
Did you know:
There are now a million blog posts a day – This is a huge source set of information
80% of bloggers write about brands and products – This is business relevant information
58% of bloggers are over 35 years old – The writers are mature, not kids
56% employed full time – And they are professional
51% make more than $75K/yr – And they are relatively wealthy!
And this is why the majority of our customers want us to bring blogs to the front of their FirstRain data.
I posted on Greenlight Capital and David Einhorn’s shorting of Lehman months back – David has been shorting Lehman for a long time based on his team’s analysis of the risk underlying Lehman’s business. He did what he thought was right and stuck to his guns despite being attacked by Erin Callan -then CFO of Lehman – and being made a poster child of the short sellers by the New York Times in June of this year.
After writing and researching that post my interest was piqued and so I read David’s book “Fooling Some of the People All of the Time“. It’s a bit wonky but provides a thorough, and thoughtful look into the research that goes behind the great short calls. I’m not talking about rumor driven shorting, I’m talking about months of fundamental research to model out a company’s business and study the discrepancies between what management is saying (and the stock is valuing) vs. what is really happening in the financials and the market of the company.
Given our business is about enabling our users to use the web as a broad, deep research base I love to read about the value of fundamental research to a portfolio manager.
Our users can comment on the web results we send them – marking them relevant or not relevant – and why. Ranjeet ran a word cloud on the feedback we’ve been getting – unedited – and I love the results!
Thanks to wordle.net for the word cloud.
The last two years have been a frenetic pace of product development – I’ll write a separate post on our approach there because it’s highly iterative and a little different – and customer appreciation of our product is very rewarding for the team. I have sent a letter (in email) to every production user thanking them for their business, for helping FirstRain get to this point and letting them know the new capabilities that will be in their hands in September.
The press release is on our web site – and has several customers named in it. However, the buyside is a secretive world and so most customers won’t let us use their names. I’m grateful to the customers listed who will!
I completely understand from their point of view – their research process is their critical IP – but it’s tough from a marketing perspective to not be able to name names. The press always wants to talk to a live person who is using and I have yet to find a portfolio manager who has the time or the inclination to take a lot of calls, unless they are a board member or an advisor. So be it – we just have to be persistent and creative in our marketing.