The path a career can take is often based on moments – a company going out of business, chance encounters, seismic shifts in a given industry, enormous external pressures. My career is no exception. After many years as a consultant or in-house systems engineer, I joined BrianMadden.com where I became an independent blogger, analyst, and speaker focused on end-user computing. TechTarget acquired BrianMadden.com in 2007, and I spent that time covering the EUC space as it expanded from a handful of desktop virtualization vendors to hundreds of companies covering everything from virtual desktops to mobile devices to cloud services, along with all the adjacent technologies that support those pillars.
In that role, I saw a lot. I was a participant in a unique community of passionate EUC practitioners. I helped companies introduce products to the market. I watched as companies thrived or failed based on their decisions and, sometimes, luck. Mostly, though, I attempted to explain the complex concepts and products that comprise EUC to our readers in a way that I would’ve liked the vendors to communicate it–-distilling the message to its essence and explaining what really matters.
In 2018, I decided that I’d like to try focusing on one thing as opposed to the entire industry, so I left TechTarget to join FSLogix – a company that solved the problems related to app management, roaming profiles, folder redirection, and Office 365 caches. The small company, all-hands-on-deck feeling was amazing, but FSLogix was almost immediately acquired by Microsoft, where I found myself for another year working on what would become the Azure Virtual Desktop team. I then moved on to VMware, where I focused on the intersection of Horizon and Microsoft Azure as a Product Marketing Manager.
Though each of those was a great experience, I found myself missing the communication with the end-users from a broad perspective. I was creating the company-guided message, not distilling it. I was locked into knowing how a single ecosystem worked, as opposed to looking at the big picture and how it all fits together. And then there was the competition with other vendors. Most importantly, I wasn’t communicating with the end customers in the way that I liked to the most – as an independent, trusted voice.
I had all these thoughts in my mind when I had my first call with ESG about taking this position. Throughout my career, I never thought I’d be an Analyst with a capital “A.” Not that I dislike analysts – I’ve enjoyed working with many – it’s just that after having many conversations with them over the years, it didn’t seem like the job for me.
The philosophy here at ESG changed all of that.
My experience in product marketing has shown that even the most amazing marketing groups need help in the form of content creation, independent validation, and storytelling. At ESG, we’re dedicated to helping customers spread their story with whatever they need, be it a simple white paper or a comprehensive, research-backed study. We do technical and economic validation, and we have experts across all of IT that are constantly performing research that’s available to our subscribers.
Equally important, I think, is what we don’t do. Though there’s a place for comparisons like quadrants, radars, and waves, we think we can better serve our customers when we take rankings off the table. This allows us to have conversations with customers about their actual pain points and allows us to tailor solutions to those needs without the customer having to worry about how any given conversation will affect their ranking.
Most importantly for me, though, is our audience. The vast majority of the work we do is targeted for consumption by our customer’s customer, like IT management or practitioners, This is the audience I always have in mind when I write or speak. It’s who I love talking to the most, and, ultimately, who I want to help. In this new role, I’ll have lots of ways to reach that audience, from research to webinars. Plus, I’ll be able to blog with my thoughts and opinions about what’s going on in the industry from an independent perspective.
I didn’t really need anything beyond ESG’s approach to make me want to make the move, but I was happy to learn that TechTarget acquired ESG in 2020 in a move that I think will be amazing for both companies. Combining ESG’s research-backed content creation expertise with the content syndication and marketing capabilities of TechTarget and BrightTALK (also acquired in 2020), we have so many ways to help IT vendors share their stories.
Plus, being back at TechTarget again lets me work with some of the amazing people that I worked with four years ago. Even though the company has grown, the culture has remained the same.
Put all of this together, helping vendors tell their stories, helping customers understand complex topics, and working with a great team with an awesome culture, and I’ve found what I think is going to be a great chapter in my career as an “EUC Lifer.” I’m looking forward to reaching out to old connections and to making new ones. If you ever want to get in touch with me, you can find me @GabeKnuth on Twitter and LinkedIn, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
See you around!