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Analyst Overboard

Sidd Finch
Tuesday, March 01, 2005

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The BS Report

This bull's for youIf there’s one constant in the high-tech industry its that analysts will always discover new billion dollar high-tech market opportunities. And they’ll convince Entrepreneurs to create fancy new products that target these markets. And once in a while, someone will convince a customer that they actually need the new products. Not that the analysts are ever wrong. Its just that sometimes they happen to discover zero billion dollar markets.

If you look back in the trade magazines like GeekWeek, ComputerHype, PC Obsession and others, you’ll see this story played out over and over again every twelve to twenty-four months. Some startup announces a new product category. We’ve seen Database Servers, Web Servers, Internet Application Servers, and so on, so the next logical thing is an Internet Business Server. Although no one really knows what it does, it sounds pretty compelling. A research analyst quick to make a name for himself, writes an IBS report and says that the BS market will grow to $1.3 billion within three years or after he goes back to consulting.

Pretty soon engineers with BS degrees are starting companies announcing their own BS. Everyone’s BS is basically the same, but some packin in more BS features, while others put more of a high gloss polish on their BS. Venture firm Commode Capital Partners, smelling the potential profits in BS, announce a new BS venture fund dedicated to accelerating the BS market. The next thing you know BS startups are popping up faster than mushrooms at a Vancouver Phish concert.

Larry Ellison then announces that Oracle has been working on BS for three years, even though no one knows what that means. Nonetheless, they show ads with statistics proving they’ve got more BS market share than anyone else. And in the mean time, while hundreds of Oracle programmers write millions of lines of BS code to add some BS features to their database server, Larry quietly goes off and buys a little BS company in Norway to replace the bloated BS project back at headquarters. And now Oracle’s BS runs faster than just about anyone else’s and Ellison is heralded as the champion of BS.

Sun, Microsoft Focus on BS

Eventually the financial markets separate the winners, who sell their BS shares on NASDAQ, from the losers, who get bought by Sun. Scott McNealy then claims that they have 100% Pure BS, and that Windows is not fully BS compliant. But still, no one pays much attention, because lets face it, when you get right down to it, Sun’s a hardware company and it’s the software that’s really BS.

So finally, Microsoft gets in the game. They announce a new BS initiative and tell everyone but the government that they’re going to build all of the BS directly into the next version of Windows, making Windows a total BS operating system. Gates proclaims that he is "betting the company" on BS and that Windows BS will be the biggest launch since Windows 95 and the Crusades combined. Gates goes off and hires a Vice President of BS and writes a new BS book. Then he does a bunch of television interviews explaining how Microsoft’s mission has always had BS at the heart of it and that BS is not only good for Microsoft, its good for the economy, which no one can really disagree with. And the government, quite rightly realizes that its going to benefit from all this Microsoft BS, so it lets Microsoft monopolize the BS.

Next thing you know, there are BS consultants writing BS reports and organizing BS conferences full of BS presentations and panel sessions that debate the merits of Microsoft BS versus industry-standard BS.

Now the BS analysts from the market research firms become even more cautious. A typical report might come from a Gartner analysts like Manny Overboard: "IT organizations are being saturated with commodity BS technology. I'm cautiously pessimistic (0.6 probability Mets win) and recommend that strategic BS decisions be delayed until further proof of tactical BS adoption (0.5 probability of rain)." The analysts recommend that customers wait for the next generation of products known as Hyper-BS.

Wall Street BS

As a result of the market research analyst predictions, Wall Street analysts, like Henry "Eight-ball" Bludgeon from Morbid Lunch, downgrade the BS company stocks from "Aggressive Buy" to "Hold until no one is looking." They issue BS reports that say things like: "There are interesting possibilities of upside growth in the BS Markets that may emerge from the new economy. On the other hand, there's a likelihood of downside risk by over investment in BS that could impact the old economy. It could be a real barn burner or it could go down in flames. Its either a walk in the park or a race for the pennant. Its either the next Amazon.com or the next Titanic. As I see it, Yes. Very doubtful. Don’t count on it. Ask again later."

In the end, the BS market ends up being something lots of people talk about but no one really ends up using. A few customers actually build some BS applications, but most corporate customers are happy the way things are and they’re not looking to add more BS systems than what they’ve already got; the end users find the BS systems are just too hard to use.

And so another BS market comes to pass.

About the author
Sidd Finch is a telecommunications industry analyst. He is frequently invited to speak at Financial conferences although due to SEC Regulation Fair Disclosure (Reg FD), he is restricted from actually saying anything to anyone.


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