Guidewire Group CEO responds to criticism

Mike Sigal, co-Founder and CEO of the Guidewire Group, has posted the following comment in response to my criticism and questions about the Group’s recent survey:

Hi Constantin,

Thanks for the critiques. Our goal as a research firm is to provide information that will explain emerging technology markets, so your feedback will help us develop more robust products in the future. I’m going to post a couple of general comments in response to your post and others as an update to the original post, but I wanted to answer your questions directly:

1) The primary goal of the survey was to explore why and how corporations were adopting blogs. That’s why we promoted the survey via press release and to the blogosphere…because we wanted folks who were blogging to answer it. The fact that such a large percentage of the sample were either already blogging or had plans to blog (and frankly the fact that a huge percentage of the adopters started in 2005) is what lead us to conclude that corporate blogging has already turned the corner into hypergrowth.

2) No guarantee. That’s why we were explicit about the sample and methodology. What surprised us was the distribution of titles/roles that responded to the survey.

3) It’s relevant to the corporate world because there are actual examples of ‘real’ companies that are using blogs and other social media tools for significant business benefit. There were terrific examples at BlogOn. Given that most coverage of blogging outside the blogosphere has been extremely light on corporate case studies, benefits, etc., we wanted those folks trying to learn something about social media to know that SOMEONE is looking into it. Hopefully it will cause MORE people to look into it.

4) The reaction at BlogOn to our annoucement (we only showed the adoption curve…the Executive Summary was put on everyone’s seats so they could read it) seemed pretty positive. In my at-the-show conversations with attendees and speakers, they we’re all pretty enthusiastic that we were drawing attention (both via the show and the survey) to corporate adoption and benefits, rather than the same old debates about journalists vs. bloggers, media transformation, etc. We’ll be posting the podcasts and webcasts from the show in the near future, so between that and the folks you mentioned getting back to their offices and deciding they want to post about the survey…I’m sure you’ll be able to come to your own conclusions.

Again, thanks for the feedback. And if you have suggestions about what we should investigate and/or how to improve our methodology…we welcome them!

Mike Sigal
Co-Founder and CEO, Guidewire Group

7 Comments

  1. I posted a comment on the BlogOn site on the Guidewire data supporting my sense that corporate blogging is an increasingly significant phenomenon, and that it was “validating” the data were emerging that bear this out.

    However, after reading Constantin’s post, I actually felt stupid about my comment. But thinking about it for a few minutes, I concluded I stand by my post.

    Here’s why.

    While I agree the quantitative reliability criticisms are well-founded, I believe the greater significance of both the Guidewire and Edelman (arguably pseudo-) surveys are the qualitative significance in the findings. Let’s not forget the thesis of Clayton Christensen’s classic work The Innovator’s Dilemma: the disruptive innovation advantage goes to first-movers who act when the least is known about the market. Sizing disruptive markets is fraught with faulty (and mostly understated) data. Eight plus years after his book, I’d hope we’re getting better at sniffing out innovation and not being blind-sided by it.

    If the blogging disruption to messaging and communications hasn’t already occurred, I believe it is clearly a market work-in-process.

    Kip Meacham
    http://rsspundit.blogspot.com

  2. Constantin,

    I am with Kip on this one, I think we are in a process, and while the data is not completely up to scratch yet, I think each data point is inspiring other people, bloggers and companies to do a better job. That’s why your constructive feedback is so valuable, next time researchers can learn from the experience.

    On a related topic, I think a company called informative seems to be furthest along in the process of understanding how to use data from blogs in a quantifiable way. Check out my post on this one:

    http://blogsurvey.backbonemedia.com/archives/2005/09/customer_insights_comparison.html

    Regards

    John

  3. We are currently using a vlog to ramp up to the realease of our latest documentary film project. We are holding work-in-progress screenings to get feedback as well as raise awareness to this particular issue of corporate responsibility, accountability and conscious consumerism. This month with the release of the new iPod with video capabilities, our VLOG was a featured podcast on the Apple iTunes Music Store which is bringing about 6,000 hits a day. Hopefully this will help garner connections around the globe to further the spread of the film’s message. We are pleased with the power of viral marketing and the use of the internet to get out there.

    Peace,
    Jamie

    Aquaries Media Corp.
    http://www.aquariesmedia.com

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  6. As a lead researcher with the EuroBlog2006 survey (www.euroblog2006.org) I, too, am interested in this discussion. We are trying to capture the opinions of PR practitioners across Europe and whilst it is in some ways hard to disagree with Constantin’s criticisms it also important to acknowledge the very real difficulties in addressing a truly representative sample. For a start, we don’t know – and no-one else knows – how many PR practitioners there are in most European countries (and we certainly can’t come up with a definition of PR that holds across every country). Nor can we do much about fundamental cultural factors that seem to dispose practitioners in some countries to be more eager to fill in survey forms than there colleagues elsewhere.

    The survey team, which will present to a conference in Stuttgart next March, would be very inetreted to hear any (constructive!) ideas for acheiving a representative sample. That notwithstanding, we are confident that our work will be of real value both to academics and practitioners.

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