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20 years ago today

by User Not Found | Jul 06, 2007

I'm not sure which is more frightening - the fact that I started my analyst career 20 years ago today, July 6th 1987, or the fact that I remember the date so clearly. I learnt my first industry jargon that day: "CTV" meant "Colour TV" at a time when it still mattered that TV sets were not just black and white. I won't bore readers with the usual "this is how things used to be" retrospective. My colleagues and clients are probably fed up with hearing the phrase "I remember when" during our numerous debates on new technologies and digital content - goodness only knows what I'll be like in another 20 years, assuming there's still a role for me as an analyst. I will just say that this job only gets harder, and certainly more interesting, if only because change is so much more rapid. A five-year forecast used to be a pretty straightforward task - we even got some of them right occasionally... Nowadays it can seem that looking ahead 5 years is like trying to find life in a distant galaxy. Anyway, to celebrate the occasion, here are just a few of my oft-repeated analyst lessons to reflect on: 1. Distinguish between open and closed technology markets. 2. If you're dealing with an open one, never underestimate the rate at which technology hardware prices can fall. 3. Never forecast on the basis of growth rate alone. 4. Understand what a company's core business is - and asking them once may not give you the answer 5. Content is king, but technology is queen, and believe me, you don't want a divorce if they ever fall out...
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