Can new Advisories penetrate Gartner Inc. at all?

I’m sometimes asked if any competitor of Gartner could unseat it as the leading Advisory. I think not. But, could a competitor penetrate it?

Allow me to share with you accurate data from my Giga experience, based upon the huge and detailed spreadsheet by month which I recently found in a closet, dating back to 10/1/2000!  As you likely know, I founded Giga in late 1994 (I left Gartner in 1992 and stupidly sold most of my stock in 1993 when the firm went public for the second time). My spreadsheet shows, for every month: beginning AV (Annualized Value of contracts), additions, subtractions (e.g. cancellations and discontinuances), how much is up for renewal, actual renewal data, up/down ratios, cancellation rates, renewal rates, # clients, average $/client, and ending CV (total $ value of current contracts).

Here’s our ending CV rounded to the nearest thousand for each of the first few years beginning 4/96 when we had our first client contract signed (we began investing money in building this start-up, about 15 months earlier):

1996                        $9,339,000 ( We did not close any contracts until we launched 4/1/96)
1997                        $26,619,000
1998                        $43,799,000
1999                        $58,061,000
2000                        $63,169,000

(My spread sheet ends at 9/30/00, I had already retired from the CEOship as I never wished to be CEO in the first place, and then the terrible economy in 2000 hit!)

Our growth was virtually all at the expense of Gartner Inc. which of course did not appreciate my competing against it. Why did I found yet another company? I agreed to sell Gartner to Saatchi in 1989 because I’d suffered enough CEO stress. I had new ideas, but frankly, Gartner was too big to change fundamentally and I had just bought a house in Aspen where I wished to spend both summers and winters. My Saatchi commitment was supposed to be 5 years, but I negotiated that down to 2 3/4 (to the end of our fiscal year 3/92). So Saatchi bought Gartner, and it soon put us on the auction block (I’ll tell that story in another blog). I decided to try and buy it back, which we did, and as planned I soon retired to Aspen CO where for some reason I hatched the Giga model to be another “game changer”. Forrester acquired Giga in 2003, and I’m told that the Giga model, which I’m sure has been altered since, drove Forrester’s growth (perhaps still, but I really don’t know for how long).

As to the question posed at the start of this blog? Your call.

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