The Similarities Between Media Coverage of Suze Orman and Enterprise Software Media

Executive Summary

  • Suze Orman is a faux financial analyst who was pushed on the public by major media entities.
  • We cover the similarity between Suze Orman and how bad ideas are brought to enterprise software information consumers.

Introduction

This article covers the financial advisor Suze Orman. Orman is one of the most popular public givers of financial advice in the US. This article shows the parallels between Suze Orman and the prominent voices in the enterprise software space. Most people reading this article are interested in enterprise software, not Suze Orman. However, Suze Orman creates an important parallel for how false information is presented to people that work IT.

The Documentary into Suze Orman

Large media entities have pushed Suze Orman on to the US public for several decades. However, none of them have performed an expose on Suze Orman’s long history of deception. I found this documentary, and while I know Suze Orman was not a legitimate source of financial advice and always found her banal, and I really barely thought of her at all. However, I was not aware of most of the things presented in this documentary.

Here are my observations from this video — and they are shocking.

Suze Orman’s Claim Creating a Credit History with a Debit Card?

How do you create credit with a debit card?

It is a debit.

There is no credit, thus no credit history. She also had no agreement from TransUnion that her debit card would create a credit score. So she introduced the card under the idea that TransUnion would look at it as a possibility.

I would love to have been a fly on the wall after they got off the phone with TransUnion. Then in the final letter to consumers, they finally admit that debit cards do not create credit. Then Suze shuts down the card and keeps some of the money. Amazing.

Supporting the Unregulated Tyranny of the FICO Credit Score?

She states that credit scores are used for employment determination. Ok. So then will the credit bureaus submit to government regulation? We have this corporate-controlled opaque scoring system that metastasized beyond its initial purpose and profoundly affects people’s lives. However, it has no government oversight, no defense against errors, and reports to no one.

Who voted that this scoring was going to be used this way?

As for the partnership with the FDIC, the government did not research Suze Orman before partnering? She needs to be prosecuted by the government, not partners with the government. And why do I need a private website to tell me the nature of depository insurance?

Isn’t that on the FDIC website?

The FDIC is a federally funded depository insurance program. Why do people need to pay again to “find out information” about the federally funded program?

Are you interested in knowing how FDIC insurance works and how you are protected if you have a US bank account? The FDIC Director showed in the video did not know that this information is published on the home page of their website. I was able to find this because of my immense research skills.

Giving Away the Secrets to my Research Magic

I will let you in on my secret. I typed in “FDIC insurance” into Google and then clicked the first link that came up.

This is, of course, the problem with naming political appointees to run agencies. They often don’t know what is on the agency’s website.

Incompetent Media Entities

Look who is endorsing her…Oprah, Tavis Smiley, Arianna Huffington. These are all influential individuals with large followings.

And that is the tip of the iceberg in terms of media entities that promoted her. She was a fixture on nearly all of the major news networks and countless print outlets. Although, the media outlets that critiqued her Approved Debit Card should be given credit for telling their readers that the card was a terrible value.

These people don’t bother researching before presenting scam artists to their audience. And why is Elizabeth Warren (US Senator and ex-US presidential candidate) sharing a stage with her? How can you say you are about consumer financial protection, and then share the stage with a scammer — who doubles back within 10 seconds of saying she did not teach a course at the University of Phoenix, (This is a university which is notorious for lying its students to large student loans) then saying you did teach there or offer a course there but under certain circumstances.

Walk off the stage Elizabeth.

How Difficult Would it Have Been to Validate Suze Ormon’s Domain Expertise?

It would not have been difficult to validate Suze Orman’s history.

  • Education or Professional Training: She has no credentials or education in finance or even business. Why would a woman who is interested in advising others in finance have no history of studying finance of any kind?
  • Predictive Accuracy: She has a long history of making predictions that do not come true.
  • Honesty and Financial Bias: She has financial conflicts all over the place.
  • Consistency: It is easy to find contradictory statements in her various video interviews and articles as they are all public.

Why didn’t any of these easily findable items prompt media entities to think twice before presenting her before large audiences?

Similarities to Enterprise Software

This is a video from SAPPHIRE NOW, which was SAPs online conference due to Coronavirus.

This video is filled with lies, and the presenters are entirely unconcerned with accuracy. As a consultant with two decades of experience on SAP projects, and as a researcher who is in contact with many SAP projects globally — I can attest that none of the things said about SAP’s software in this video are true. Secondly, like Suze Orman, most of these people are not qualified to be making these statements. As just one example, Christian Klein, the CEO of SAP, is an ex-controller has zero technology background and has never been on an SAP project in his life. Why would anyone listen to an accountant about technology? 

Stoking the Hype Train

Virtually any senior employee who works for SAP or Oracle or other major IT entity receives uncritical coverage on the part of the IT media. This is a similar issue with the coverage of the general media of Suze Orman. Suze Orman developed several highly troublesome financial conflicts as her fame grew, (with FICO, Elizabeth Warren, the FDIC).

In every case, her treatment of the entity she had the conflict with, and their treatment of her reflected that financial conflict. However, I did not find out about these conflicts from a major media entity — instead, I found them from smaller sources.

Exposing One’s Own Lack of Quality Control?

Would any of these major media entities that have been pushing Suze Orman onto their audience for several decades do an expose on Suze Orman?

Will Oprah do this expose and expose their lack of quality control?

Oprah called Suze Orman a trusted source of billions. Is that true? I think most of her appeal is limited to the US. However, with all of that trust — Oprah and her team did not analyze Suze Orman background or advice. And it was not only Oprah. I found other media entities presenting Suze Orman as the “world’s leading finance expert.” 

Leading is a problematic term. It can’t really be validated — and it essentially roughly translates into the most popular. Is Suze Orman the world’s most knowledgable financial expert? Clearly not. Is she the most popular. Perhaps. But The Rock is the world’s most popular actor. Is he the best actor?

Setting Unrealistic Expectations For Major Media?

I am fully aware that Oprah and news anchors cannot perform research. However, CNN or Oprah or Forbes are supposed to be able to hire behind the scenes researchers to check things before they are put on the air. Now it appears they were not interested in doing that work. And this is not a problem only for source verification of people like Suze Orman. Major US news outlets do not appear capable of doing any numerical analysis at all.

The pattern seems to go like this.

  1. Anecdotal claims are made.
  2. A person is brought on to explain the anecdote. Without any disclosure as to that person’s connections or things that might bias them.
  3. The outlet that has enormous financial resources does not bother to place the anecdote within a larger numerical or statistical context.
  4. The short segment length works against providing additional context.
  5. The viewer is left thinking that the anecdote is far more representative than it is in reality.

Forbes looooves Suze Orman. Forbes rates her at #61 in something. At what. I don’t know. It does not say. The Forbes website is now so filled with pop-up ads, that insult the intelligence, that it slows my browser and I to get off of the site as quickly as possible. If I want to read articles that authors have paid Forbes to run, I go there to check what PR corporations want published. 

Media Outlets as Promotional Outlets for Corporations

The vast majority of media entities do not challenge and are not analyzing what they are being told. They instead seem willing to promote virtually any huckster and do not contradict these people, particularly if they are prominent. For example, Brightwork was the only information outlet to cover the fact that Hasso Plattner of SAP had an honorary Ph.D. that he was passing off as an academic or “real” Ph.D. I cover this topic in the article Does SAP’s Hasso Plattner Have a Ph.D?  Hasso Plattner has a multi-decade history of lying about virtually every subject on which he wrote or spoke. I would put him in the same category as Suze Orman in terms of his ethics and accuracy, yet no other information source that covers enterprise software seemed to notice.

Hasso was relentlessly promoted in the IT media. Yet if you checked what Hasso said versus the reality of SAP projects, none of it was true. And IT media could not have cared less.

And like Hasso Plattner, Suze Orman also claimed degrees that she did not have to bolster her credibility. A person who lies about their academic credentials will lie about anything. Because this is an entirely black and white issue, and it is also an assertion that is easily checked. However, I was told lying about credentials is not a problem at all by one SAP resource Its Official, If You Work for SAP, Its Ok to Lie About Having a Ph.D. So apparently, I am off base on this issue. This caused me to briefly add both a Ph.D. and two Nobel Prizes (one for Chemistry and one for Astrophysics) to my LinkedIn profile — for a day, and to prove a point.

Speaking of honorary doctorates, the University of Illinois demonstrated their “integrity” by conferring an honorary doctorate on Suze Orman. It seems the honorary doctorate is now an indicator of who not to listen to. Oprah has four of them.

Conclusion

If media entities don’t care about who they present to readers and viewers. They use a person’s wealth or position in a company to determine if they are a reliable source, rather than putting the work in and having the domain expertise to themselves verify statements, then “Suze Ormans” and “Hasso Plattners” will continue infinitely into the future.

The Importance of Building Up the All-Powerful Central Figure

Setting up scams often involves an exaggerated central figure. With SAP, it was Hasso Plattner. Hasso Plattner can barely write a coherent sentence and has few technical qualifications (the technical brains behind SAP were his cofounders, not Hasso), but he was built up into a demigod by SAP’ marketing and PR combined with the marketing and PR of countless SAP consulting firms.

In this case of extreme fraud, the central figure is Dr. Henry Jones. Did he have a Ph.D.? I will let you guess that on your own.

This central figure is standard has a number of fake things made up about him. There are a series of “repeaters” or heralds who promote the central figure. Scams work off of this, as do cults. The central figure is always said to have “special powers.” This was done to both Suze Orman and to Hasso Plattner.

Notice the earlier claims that..

Billions rely on her advice

and she is..

The World’s Leading Financial Expert

My Personal Experience with How Individuals are Presented to Me

I have witnessed this same type of thing when being introduced to different individuals. I am told they graduated from Harvard, or they are very wealthy or they have a Ph.D. These statements seem to be designed to get me to not critically analyze the statements made by the individual. People that are intent on scamming try to associate themselves with a reference that is so overwhelming that the person’s natural questioning power (which differs from person to person) is subdued.

Comments on Suze Orman from the Good Financials Article

Comment #1

I just watched Suze on a QVC program. She said, “The less you have, the more you need a revocable trust.” (In other words, you need to buy her estate planning kit.) What? If you don’t have much, can’t you use TOD (Transfer on Death), POD (Payable on Death), and beneficiary designations for life and retirement accounts? She also said “If you have a $200,000 home and it’s not in a trust it will cost you $200,000 in probate fees in California to settle the estate.” Really? That’s sounds awfully expensive to me. – Rick Mayhew

Comment #2

And this one.

Suze is a successful lesbian performer, who is primarily a song-and-dance man. Her advice is the Reader’s Digest equivalent of a real college textbook, made for the masses, much like Dr. Phil, and the pandering, walking infomercial of pseudo-information, Dr. Oz. These people attract foolish, mindless suckers and social misfits like flies to manure. They use the mass medium of television to spread out their nonsense across the landscape to their adoring fans, whose wallets get lighter by the minute. These hucksters are little different than the TV preachers who scream and cry, and beg for you to send your money to them for your eternal salvation. We’ll be right back after this message. – Paul Preston

Comment #3

When a husband mentioned that he is helping his wife pay off her student loans, Suze is thrilled and happy. But, when a wife mentioned that she is helping her husband pay off his student loans, Suze’s response is, “Don’t you dare help him pay his student loans!”

In addition, whenever a woman calls and complains about her husband, Suze first inclination is to bombast the husband by responding as follows:

– Divorce the bum.
– If you could go back, would you have married him? If you say yes, then you are lying to yourself.
– What? Your husband said he won’t help you pay off your credit cards? Is this the kind of man you want to be married to?

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References

https://www.fdic.gov/deposit/deposits/faq.html

https://www.forbes.com/2009/05/16/fraud-long-term-care-insurance-personal-finance-suze-orman-sued.html#676eb6da11e5

https://www.forbes.com/profile/suze-orman/#716637a65adb

https://www.goodfinancialcents.com/suze-orman-bad-advice/

How LinkedIn Has Degraded as a Content Platform

Executive Summary

  • The quality of the content shared on LinkedIn has gone into a steep decline.
  • This article will cover the quality of shares being submitted on LinkedIn.

Introduction

Several years ago, LinkedIn began allowing sharing content, which allowed for people to either write articles within LinkedIn’s editor — or use share a post which showed an introduction, with then a link to a website.

When this occurred, some interesting content was shared on site. This is prior to the Microsoft acquisition of LinkedIn. For several years I used LinkedIn to share articles and research. However, over time I and many others began to notice a decline in the quality of the content shared on LinkedIn. However, it was not until I spent time analyzing my feed that I fully figured out how degraded the quality of the content shared on LinkedIn had become.

In this article, I will analyze a number of examples that were not “cherry-picked” from my feed. These were just typical shares that I found in the feed. These shares tell us something very interesting about the current state of content sharing on LinkedIn.

The Shares

This is a typical virtue-signaling share on LinkedIn. This is incredibly self-indulgent. This not only virtue signals but places the individual sharing as the person who saves the day.

The response to this ridiculous share was overwhelmingly positive.

This is a promotional share. Cognizant is an appalling IT consulting firm that brings in an enormous number of H1-B visas under pretenses. Naturally, they have won some award where they most likely paid off the entity providing the award. Why anyone would care, or believe anything said by Cognizant is beyond me. 

This is a share with some content, but not content creates by individual sharing. And of course, it is designed to promote the Oracle database. 

This is a virtue-signaling share. Nike, which uses large numbers of sweatshop laborers and which is routinely caught not enforcing standards in overseers factories, wants to tell me how they are going to support a black holiday. 

This is a “positivity” share. Positivity shares are quite common. They have nearly no content, and simply say something positive. 

This is another share from an Oracle resource, which is promotional. Again, the individual who is sharing did not write the material. 

This is a pro-woman share of an article in Business Insider. The relevance of this share is difficult to understand. 

And we finish off with another virtue signaling share, this time from Apple. Apple, like Nike, has most of its “employment” — around 90% in overseas factories with low labor standards. But again, Apple needs to virtue about “racial justice” around the BLM current zeitgeist. 

What Are These Shares Reminicient Of?

LinkedIn was supposed to be a professional site where professionals share information. However, going through these shares, I recollected an article on Mult Level Marketing I read several weeks prior. I went back to this article to observe similarities with these shares.

Arbonne is a Multi-Level Marketing company that sells personal care items. They are known to give terrible experiences to those that sign up for this scheme. Arbonne, like many other MLMs, is known to focus more on feelings than the details of the business. Arbonne is about telling those that become part of the MLM to “follow their dreams” and essentially to not worry about the details. MLM also intersects with self-help gurus — who often speak at their conferences. 

The following quotation is instructive of this.

Marketing and training materials for MLMs are often littered with “fake it ’till you make it” mantras and platitudes like “decide today what you want to be tomorrow,” Burnside said. The key word “empowerment” is used in a lot of their training. “They’re connected with the feminist movement to make it feel like this is something that will empower women.” – Huffington Post

This is a share from LuluRoe, an MLM scheme that sells women’s active clothing. Again, there is virtually no content, and the focus is on positivity and emotion.

Conclusion

A large number of companies and people that have nothing to say outside of virtue signaling, positivity signaling, or promoting themselves are sharing “content.” This content has a positive value for the content creator (that is it can get them money), but has a negative value for readers as the content is without substance or us false. I have scrubbed my feed over time. That is as soon as a person shares a personal accomplishment, I have “unfollowed them.” If a person receives a Six Sigma certificate and places an image of the certificate in the share, that person is unfollowed. If the share is about virtue signaling or other “positive thinking,” then again, I unfollow them. However, my desire to have only shares in my feed by people that have content to share has been unsuccessful because the vast majority of shares are offering such poor quality content.

Furthermore, when I look at my feed, it makes me less interested in sharing my material.

I put a lot of effort into the articles I write.

There are links at the bottom to entice people who are interested in research service. However, the content part of the article is free from promotional material. However, these shares coming through on my feed are by in large nearly all about promotion — with very little in the way of content.

When I compare my shares to the shares in my feed, it is apparent that there are very few shares of any quality. Secondly, because the average share quality is so low and is so easy to create, it means that LinkedIn feed is now suffused with easy-to-create shares. As low-quality shares are so easy to develop, there are naturally many more of them. This is explained in the following quotation.

All social networks sooner or later became totally similar if there no moderation. – Denis Myagkov

I interpret this to mean that They drive to the lowest common denominator with non-status quo ideas-driven out. They become completely neutered and politically correct. Then IBM or Accenture hire “influencers” who then virtue or positivity signal — or shares from IBM or Accenture’s marketing departments provide positive PR spin on their accomplishments. And there is another issue — if you make people feel good — then they like your shares. This means that positive or virtue signaling shares will pick up more likes and shares than shares with controversial, negative, or generally not “feel good” content. However, the problem with “feel good” content is that in many cases, it is false. See the examples of the Nike and Apple virtue signaling “feel good” shares above.

Counterfeit Shares

What is happening with the LinkedIn Shares is the same phenomena, as is found in counterfeiting. Enforcing counterfeiting laws are so important because, without this essential regulation, the bad money eventually pushes out the good. It makes people not want to use the currency. LinkedIn has no minimum standard the effort that is placed into shares — and because LinkedIn actively promotes shares from wealthy multinationals that generally have nothing to say — they have degraded the environment of sharing.

Overall my feed now looks more like the PR and marketing departments of various entities would like me to read. That is, my LinkedIn feed has devolved to the point where it is a marketing feed.

From this, I predict the engagement on feeds will significantly decline. Already my LinkedIn feed is more of an irritant or “false” positive when the notification appears than an indication that anything I will want to read is shared. I have no insight into the engagement with LinkedIn shares — but what I say might have already happened.

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References

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/mlm-pyramid-scheme-target-women-financial-freedom_l_5d0bfd60e4b07ae90d9a6a9e

Why Media Entities Must Defend or Not Critique Word Salad

Executive Summary

  • Executives often have false information they need to communicate, that they present with a word salad.
  • It is important that media entities to maintain their access and income not critique these word salads.

Introduction

If you have noticed that CEOs and other high-level executives seem to go unchallenged in interviews with IT media, you are right. This article will cover why media entities allow these powerful individuals to say whatever they want.

How the Media System in the Internet Age Works

Media entities are highly compliant with powerful individuals and companies. There are several reasons for this.

  1. Companies are usually a primary revenue stream for media entities. NBC and ABC and other major networks depend upon oil companies, defense contractors for advertising income. This is why you will not see on oil company shenanigans or defense procurement fraud on these networks. The same is true for IT media, where the largest vendors and consulting companies contribute to the bulk of advertising and paid placements to the IT media entity. This has become even more tilted towards the industry as readers only occasionally pay for the media they consume.
  2. Companies are often the source of stories that readers want to read. By being able to “break” stories, which amounts to repeating what the companies say, the media entity solidifies its place as a relevant source in their respective space.

This means allowing companies to say whatever they want, no matter how illogical or inconsistent, without critique. It also means asking “softball” questions, which allows the company spokesperson to position the company and the company’s products the way the company wants. If the treatment is not exactly as the company wants, the company can shut out the media entity and begin dealing with more compliant media entities.

Example of Coverage of SAP

As I covered in the article Extracting Meaning from Diginomica’s Interview with SAP CEO Christian Klein, in an article in Diginomica which interviewed SAP CEO, Christian Klein, there was little logic, and Christian repeatedly made statements that were really just word salads. Throughout all of the head-scratching comments by Christian, Denis Howlett, the writer or interviewer for Diginomica never critiqued anything stated by Christian.

Let us review an example.

I just want to make sure that now in these partnerships, we try our best to make sure that we are in the lead when it comes to business model transformation, when it comes to talks about how to move the system landscape, the application layer in the cloud. And it’s also important that we position our platform there, as we cannot afford to lose the platform game either, as this is the platform which keeps our applications together, makes the integration work. And it’s of course also very important for the extension of our solution. So, this is something where I would like to draw a much clearer line going forward, because in the past, I feel we were not clear enough in some of these partnerships. – Christian Klein

This is a word salad. And furthermore, SAP does not have a platform. They sell applications. And for could, they pretend to offer a cloud. Still, in fact, they have their partners perform the hosting (i.e., not cloud) though something called the HANA Enterprise Cloud or HEC as I cover in the article Our Comparison of SAP HEC with Virtustream Versus AWS Analysis.

Nothing is “built” on SAP’s platform (unless one wants to include refactoring applications that should not be refactored into ABAP and placing them in SAP). 

But again, nothing close to this fact-checking is performed by Diginomica. Media entities that get to speak to CEOs and other high-level executives do not challenge them. This is considered a “coup” for the media entity, and therefore there is no stomach to confront them when the CEO or other high-level executive makes statements that are false or make no sense or are entirely inconsistent with what is known to be true, or how the company actually functions.

How Media Entities are Forced to Sell Out

Here is the problem. How else is Diginomica supposed to make money? It can’t sell its magazine as it would have in the pre Internet era. It can’t get much money from advertising, because that has mostly been gobbled up by Google (you know, the company that does no evil). Media entities now have no other choice but to harvest its income from the industry side, and this means that readers no longer have their interests represented. And you can’t harvest industry for income if you also fact check them and challenge their statements.

This is the point we have found repeatedly in analyzing a wide variety of IT media entities — each one of them is dependent upon industry for nearly all of their income.

An Example of Word Salad from Major Media

Because many US broadcast and print media entities in the US are aligned against the Republican party (Fox News, for example, is the opposite — aligned with the Republicans), much of US media coverage is highly partisan. For example, each associated media entity only covers the transgressions of the opposing party.

This political alignment was the source of the Russiagate conspiracy that was proposed by Democrat-aligned media entities and by shows on these entities like one hosted by Chris Hayes. After the Russiagate conspiracy (that Putin controlled the US 2016 presidential election and that Trump was a Russian asset), was discredited, after the Department of Justice dropped their case against the Russian Troll Farm called Internet Research Agency after the latter showed up in court, and the DOJ simply had no case — media figures like Chris Hayes and Rachel Maddow have tried to pivot away from explaining why they supported the evidence-free conspiracy.

In the interview with The New Yorker, analyzed in the video by Jimmy Dore above, Jimmy Dore shows how Chris Hayes is allowed to get away with a word salad, that amounted to the Democrat-aligned media being remotely controlled by Putin and Russia’s mind control. 

Conclusion

In the case of both major media and CEOs and high-level executives, the media system ensures that they can say any falsehood, any inconsistency, and not be held to account for their accuracy. To work in major media, one must be compliant with powerful entities, and this ensures continual access to even more false information.

In this way, a major function of media entities is to ensure their continued access to privileged information and funding from the powerful.

What We Do and Research Access

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References

*https://venturebeat.com/2019/06/10/scoutbee-raises-12-million-to-match-companies-with-suppliers/

*https://venturebeat.com/2020/03/04/if-youre-worried-about-the-end-of-privacy-dont-waste-your-outrage-on-clearview-ai/

*https://venturebeat.com/2020/02/28/probeat-clearview-ais-short-slippery-slope/

Is VentureBeat Really Independent Journalism?

Executive Summary

  • VentureBeat is a top-rated site that covers the venture capital area and the companies that are funded by VCs.
  • VentureBeat claims to be independent journalism, but is it?

Introduction

We ran into VentureBeat when analyzing a separate story. The articles we read at VentureBeat seemed to repeat claims made by the entity they were covering and noticed that a large amount of information published in the article was false. That is the information is taking the word of people who are known to be promoting their companies without the slightest effort on the part of VentureBeat to verify anything they are being told. Secondly, VentureBeat is a very popular outlet in the venture/VC industry. No doubt many people get their information about the industry from this website.

We will begin by analyzing one of their stories in this article.

VentureBeat Covers Scoutbee

The article begins as follows:

Procuring parts and settling on suppliers are two of the most challenging undertakings in supply chain management, it’s safe to say. Companies aren’t always transparent about their networks and capacities, and short of conducting exhaustive searches and validating each candidate individually, the solutions are few and far between.

That’s why, in 2015, four German entrepreneurs — Christian Heinrich, Fabian Heinrich, Gregor Stühler, and Lee Galbraith — founded Scoutbee, which develops and sells access to a uniquely AI-driven supplier discovery platform. They’ve caught the attention of investors, evidently — Scoutbee today announced that it’s raised $12 million in series A funding contributed by HV Holtzbrinck Ventures, 42Cap, and Toba Capital, bringing its total raised to $15.5 million.

This makes a case for AI in supplier management and then describing the amount raised for Soutbee.

Repeating What the Company Says

Notice how every sentence is essentially written by the company, not by VentureBeat. When “the company says” is used, in reviewing many articles, I was never able to find a time where VentureBeat provided a contradiction to the statement.

See the following quote.

The company says the bulk of the fresh funds will be put toward customer acquisition in the U.S. and Europe, as well as further development of its AI-powered apps.

“This investment fuels our focus of growing our customer base and operations on two continents,” said Galbraith, Scoutbee’s managing director. “The reception from procurement executives in the U.S. has matched what we’ve seen in Europe — leaders want to see deeper supplier insights, perform strategic scouting faster and profit from faster time to market and innovation. Here in the U.S. where manufacturers are scrambling to respond to imposed tariffs, we can help purchasing leaders evaluate suppliers with speed and precision to remain competitive.”

There is no comment from the author of this article. Scoutbee has provided everything up to this point.

This is undifferentiated from a press release.

Scoutbee’s Central Product

Scoutbee’s suite — which is underpinned by Artemis, the company’s AI engine — can benchmark existing suppliers from their sourcing behavior with the competition, and find new products and suppliers efficiently thanks to a streamlined catalog. Every 10 weeks, Scoutbee analyzes up to a terabyte of supply chain data, sussing out the relationships among more than 14 million companies, their customers, and over 3,400 OEMs globally.

One customer — Audi — discovered 329 potential suppliers compared with the 38 it found through traditional channels, and completed the “scout-to-source” process in just seven weeks while saving 68%. Other satisfied clients include Adelfiolzener, DMG MORI, Knauf, and Bosch Group’s Rexroth.

“The procurement market is hungry for a disruptive and easy-to-implement solution like Scoutbee’s,” said HV Holtzbrinck Venture partner Jan Miczaika. “While there are many procure-to-pay technologies for chief procurement officers and their teams, Scoutbee, with its AI-powered technology, bridges a huge gap in supplier visibility and the process of sourcing strategic projects.”

Scoutbee is headquartered in Würzburg, Germany, but in January opened offices in Arlington, Virginia.

After reading what is nothing more than a press release, and does not have a VentureBeat author, as the content was provided to VentureBeat by Scoutbee, without VentureBeat performing any analysis. However, we then noticed a peculiar item in the upper right-hand corner of the website.

That was independent journalism? VentureBeat received no income from Scoutbee for this article? If that is true, then why distribute what amounts to a press release for Scoutbee and call it an article? VentureBeat seems to be happy to lie to its readers and to pretend that is independent.

Lets back up even further.

That was journalism?

If the author does not write the article, but the material is written by a company trying to promote itself, that is not considered journalism. That is either called PR or contract marketing.

Secondly, why does a reader have to contribute to reading press releases from a companyshouldn’t the company be paying the reader?

This contribute button looks like an artifact that makes the reader THINK that VentureBeat is not a rigged affair and distributing PR releases for paying companies. And that this article was not paid for by the subject of the article, in this case, Scoutbee.

The link goes to a subscription page. VentureBeat appears to be asking the target (the readers) to contribute in addition to what VentureBeat has already charged Scoutbee.

Just PR Releases?

One might say if VentureBeat is lying to its readers about its funding and bias and its just announcing various new companies and funding, what is the harm?

Well first, it means that every article they publish about companies will be inaccurate. Secondly, this is never what media outlets do. They invariably also cover other topics, using the same cover that they refuse to discuss their funding sources. Notice the following article on privacy.

In this article, VentureBeat is telling people not to worry about a company called Clearview AI for the invasion of their privacy. 

Let us see this article’s logic.

It’s easy to feel outrage at Clearview AI for creating facial recognition trained with 3 billion images scraped without permission from sites like Google, Facebook, and LinkedIn, but the company should be only one of the targets of your ire. Pervasive surveillance capitalism can make you feel helpless, but shaping AI regulation is part of citizenship in the 21st century, and you’ve got a lot of options. On Tuesday, Senator Ed Markey (D – MA) sent a letter to Clearview AI demanding answers about a data breach involving billions of photos scraped from the web without permission and the sale of facial recognition to governments with poor human rights records like Saudi Arabia. That would be scandalous news for most companies, but not Clearview AI. For context, here’s what the past week looked like for the company: News emerged Monday that Clearview AI is reportedly working on a security camera and augmented reality glasses equipped with facial recognition. Following a data breach reported last Wednesday, we learned that Clearview AI’s client list includes more than 2,900 organizations, including governments and businesses from around the world.

In all, it comprises businesses from 27 countries, including Walmart, Macy’s, and Best Buy, and hundreds of law enforcement agencies, from the FBI to ICE, Interpol, and the Department of Justice. Tech giants like Google and Facebook sent Clearview AI cease-and-desist letters last Tuesday.

Back in January, the New York Times’ Kashmir Hill, who first brought Clearview AI to people’s attention, reported that the company was working with more than 600 law enforcement agencies and a handful of private companies. But reporting last week brought the Clearview AI client list into sharper focus, along with the number of searches by each client. The story also revealed that a total of 500,000 searches had been made.

A breakdown of an APK version of the Clearview app found by Gizmodo on a public AWS server the same day signals the potential addition of a voice search option in the future.

Clearview AI CEO Hoan Ton-That previously told multiple news outlets the company focuses on law enforcement clients in North America, but an internal document obtained by BuzzFeed News shows government, law enforcement, and business clients around the world.

Everything we’ve learned about Clearview in the past week gives credence to the New York Times’ claim in January that the company might end privacy, and to VentureBeat news editor Emil Protalinski’s assessment that Clearview is on a “short slippery slope.”

If what Clearview AI did and continues to do makes you angry, then you’re probably with the majority of people who lack understanding of data privacy law and feel you have little to no control over how businesses and governments collect or use your personal data.

If you believe privacy is a right that deserves protection in an increasingly digital and AI-driven world, don’t aim your anger at the Peter Thiel-backed company itself. The way it operates may be insensitive or even horrifying, but save your questions for the businesses and governments working with Clearview AI. People deserve answers to the kinds of questions Senator Markey asks about the extent of the data breach and Clearview’s business practices, but people should also question policy that enables Clearview to exist.

Because Clearview AI doesn’t matter as much as the public’s response to how those in positions of power choose to use Clearview’s technology.

Don’t Focus on Clearview AI?

This article gave me a lot of information I was unaware of. But it is sure concerned with not focusing on Clearview AI, and pointing to other actors. Certainly it makes sense to look outside of Clearview AI, but there is no logical reason to not hold Clearview AI accountable for what they are doing.

While this article had no logic and made me question whether VentureBeat was paid by Clearview AI, the next article, titled Probeat Clearview AIs Short Slippery Slope actually redeemed VentureBeat. However, as we will see, it calls into question the previous article’s assertion that the focus should be everywhere but on Clearview AI.

“Google can pull in information from all different websites,” Clearview AI CEO Hoan Ton-That told CBS News. “So if it’s public, and it’s out there, and it could be inside Google’s search engine, it can be inside ours as well.”

Ton-That is right in saying that Google is a search engine that indexes websites. He is wrong in saying any public information is up for the taking. The difference between Google and Clearview AI is simple: Google knows most websites want to be indexed because webmasters provide instructions explicitly for search engines. Those that don’t want to be indexed can opt out.

I don’t know of any people who are providing their pictures to Clearview AI, nor instructions on how to obtain them. If most people were sending Clearview AI their pictures, the company wouldn’t have to scrape billions of them.

Yes, this author, Emil Protalinski is correct, information is not given to Google so that it can be vacuumed up by anyone who want to. Giving approval to Google is not the same thing as giving the approval to everyone.

“Security is Clearview’s top priority,” Tor Ekeland, an attorney for Clearview AI, told The Daily Beast. “Unfortunately, data breaches are part of life in the 21st century. Our servers were never accessed. We patched the flaw, and continue to work to strengthen our security.”

Ekeland is right in saying that data breaches are a part of life in the 21st century. He is wrong in saying that Clearview AI’s top priority is security. If that were the case, the company wouldn’t store its client list and their searches on a computer connected to the internet. It also wouldn’t have a business model that hung on pilfering people’s photos.

Maybe it’s not surprising that a company that is proud of taking data without consent argues that a data breach is business as usual.

Right again, Emil sees through Clearview AI’s BS.

Let’s look at an even tighter time frame. Clearview AI has repeatedly said that its clients include over 600 law enforcement agencies. The company didn’t say that those agencies were its only clients, though. Until it did. On February 19, the CEO implied just that.

“It’s strictly for law enforcement,” Ton-That told Fox Business. “We welcome the debate around privacy and facial recognition. We’ve been engaging with government a lot and attorney generals. We want to make sure this tool is used responsibly and for the right purposes.”

Why does law enforcement have the right to this information? It is presumed that these are legitimate source, but that is not the way the US legal system is supposed to work. Citizens also have a right to privacy from their government.

On February 27, BuzzFeed found that people associated with 2,228 organizations included not just law enforcement agencies but private companies across industries like major stores (Kohl’s, Walmart), banks (Wells Fargo, Bank of America), entertainment (Madison Square Garden, Eventbrite), gaming (Las Vegas Sands, Pechanga Resort Casino), sports (the NBA), fitness (Equinox), and cryptocurrency (Coinbase). They created Clearview AI accounts and collectively performed nearly 500,000 searches. Many organizations were caught unaware their employees were using Clearview AI.

It took just eight days for one of Clearview AI’s core arguments — that its tool was only for helping law enforcement officials do their job — to fall apart.

So Emil exposes a massive lie from Clearview AI.

Conclusion

I was able to find one article at VentureBeat that classifies as journalism, and that had some public service function rather than just promoting some company.

But overall, VentureBeat writes articles that do not represent a journalistic entity, and they are the exact opposite of an “independent” entity but are dependent. They are mostly a dependent PR website, with a few non promotional articles mixed in that have a sketchy editorial situation due to the hidden nature VentureBeat’s funding. They run paid placements. However, there is no mention of the funding of the site. This same issue is related to G2Crowd, who receive significant sums of money from vendors as we cover in the article Why G2Crowd Has False Information on S4HANA. I only found G2Crowd’s funding model through an announcement that was meant for vendors about how they had new contracts with various vendors. However, this funding is entirely hidden on the G2Crowd website. G2Crowd is a lead origination site for vendors. Their entire purpose is to get contact information so they can shuttle it to vendors.

This is where we are, with virtually all sources not discussing their funding. Its all secret and behind the curtain. However, their funding is evident from reading their articles.

Independent journalists question what sources of information provide them. They don’t merely allow the sources to write the article for them. That is why it is a inaccurate for VentureBeat to use the term “journalism,” in describing themselves.

Not all articles are like this at VentureBeat, some that cover policy seem to have an actual writer and do not merely repeat covered entity quotes. But readers, of course, must discern which are which, and there is no indication of which articles are industry-funded and which are not. Even Forbes, which is now owned by a China-based company, as we cover in the article Can You Trust IDC and Their Now China Based Owners?, declares which articles provided by contributors (which means outside writers that paid to have the article carried)

And again, you can’t be paid for by industry sources and call yourself independent.

How Media Entities are Forced to Sell Out

Here is the problem. How else is VentureBeat supposed to make money? It can’t sell its magazine as it would have in the pre Internet era. It can’t get much money from advertising, because that has mostly been gobbled up by Google (you know, the company that does no evil). Media entities now have no other choice but to harvest its income from the industry side, and this means that readers no longer have their interests represented. This is the point we have found repeatedly in analyzing a wide variety of IT media entities — each one of them is dependent upon industry for nearly all of their income.

Financial Disclosure

Financial Bias Disclosure

Neither this article nor any other article on the Brightwork website is paid for by a software vendor, including Oracle, SAP or their competitors. As part of our commitment to publishing independent, unbiased research; no paid media placements, commissions or incentives of any nature are allowed.

What We Do and Research Access

Using the Diagram

Hover over each bullet or plus sign to see more explanation. To move to a different bullet point, just “hover off” and then hover over the new bullet.

 

Research Access

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References

*https://venturebeat.com/2019/06/10/scoutbee-raises-12-million-to-match-companies-with-suppliers/

*https://venturebeat.com/2020/03/04/if-youre-worried-about-the-end-of-privacy-dont-waste-your-outrage-on-clearview-ai/

*https://venturebeat.com/2020/02/28/probeat-clearview-ais-short-slippery-slope/

Why Most IT Media Will Prefer AI Authors For Their Corporate Friendly IT Articles

Executive Summary

  • IT media has become so robotic and advertiser driven, then it’s a perfect fit for AI to replace many current journalists.
  • The IT media has demonstrated they prefer to be PR outlets for vendors.

Introduction

We analyze the IT media, and we find that many of the articles are written by journalists without domain expertise, without the time to investigate the story, and for entities with enormous financial biases.

The following quotations cover this natural next step to AI writing articles.

Many of these being financially focused news stories since the data is calculated and released frequently. Which is why should be no surprise that Bloomberg news is one of the first adaptors of this automated content. Their program, Cyborg, churned out thousands of articles last year that took financial reports and turned them into news stories like a business reporter.

The Washington Post also has a robot reporting program called Heliograf. In its first year, it produced approximately 850 articles and earned The Post an award for its “Excellence in Use of Bots” from its work on the 2016 election coverage. However, The Post is using their system to not replace journalists, but to assist them and make their jobs easier and faster. – Forbes

AI for Articles Versus Books

Articles, unusually fast-paced article coverage, is perfect for AI. This is because even without AI, many articles are simply a combination of snippets of quotes from “official sources,” with some transitory text which serves to point to the next quotation. This allows the journalist to write an article, but without knowing anything about the topic. Insert “official source,” and the journalist at many an IT media outlet can feel as if they have done their job.

The Useless Nature of IT Media

This is the primary reason that we have stopped accepting media invitations to be interviewed. There is little point in taking the time to explain a topic to a journalist for a significant IT media outlet if they only go and speak to a PR representative who then lies to them — and the journalist then presents “both sides.”

Naturally, a book would be challenging to write with AI, but short articles are quite easy to write with AI. If we look at the example of the media coverage on McDonald’s purchase of an AI company as we wrote about in the article How Awful Was the Coverage of the McDonald’s AI Acquisition? Most of the coverage was already undifferentiated from a robot. There were zero attempts to fact check what just a press release from McDonald’s was. And naturally, the story was filled with falsehoods and PR positioning that none of the media sources caught.

Conclusion

The ultimate goal of AI is to displace workers and to reduce costs so that the savings can be diverted to the billionaire class. The vast majority of media entities look at publishing as simply a way to make money and have no connection to publishing what is true. For them, AI is a perfect fit for their corporate-friendly neutered coverage. AI robots have zero critical thinking ability and configure stories in digestible from, and they work 24 hours a day for no pay. They are, therefore, what IT media entities like ComputerWeekly or TechTarget consider “perfect employees.” Authors can be “constructed” by simply using images from stock photography sites and then creating a fake name to go with the image.

Financial Disclosure

Financial Bias Disclosure

Neither this article nor any other article on the Brightwork website is paid for by a software vendor, including Oracle, SAP or their competitors. As part of our commitment to publishing independent, unbiased research; no paid media placements, commissions or incentives of any nature are allowed.

What We Do and Research Access

Using the Diagram

Hover over each bullet or plus sign to see more explanation. To move to a different bullet point, just “hover off” and then hover over the new bullet.

 

Research Access

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References

https://www.forbes.com/sites/nicolemartin1/2019/02/08/did-a-robot-write-this-how-ai-is-impacting-journalism/#677b3b007795

*https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/05/business/media/artificial-intelligence-journalism-robots.html

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2019/mar/25/the-rise-of-robot-authors-is-the-writing-on-the-wall-for-human-novelists

How PR Firms Act as Parasites on the Media System

Executive Summary

  • PR firms help companies get positive press by manipulating media entities.
  • In this way, they function as parasites on the system, allowing companies with money to get positive and deflect negative press.

Introduction

We recently received this email from a PR firm. (Bold in the quote indicates replacement of the actual noun to provide anonymity.)

Happy new year! When you are back at work in January, I was hoping I might interest you in a telephone briefing with XYZ Software CEO John Doe.

XYZ is an SAP Solution Extension Partner whose ____ software enables organizations to see and analyze exactly how their employees are interacting with their SAP enterprise software suites — including any activity that leads to errors, apps that are never used, workarounds used because the software is bad, etc. By providing complete visibility into software use, XYZ makes it much easier to correct any issues that are hindering employee engagement or productivity. It is especially useful when implementing new suites – for example, companies migrating to S/4HANA – because it helps management understand which applications need to be migrated first and then, post-migration, ensures that employees are adopting and understanding the new software.

XYZ has more than 350 customers, including Coca-Cola, Clorox, Comcast, Disney and GE.

BTW, XYZ works with any enterprise software suite – including Oracle. However, most of their business currently comes through their SAP relationship.

Please let me know what you think!

The Objective and What PR Firms Tell Their Clients

We then went out to this PR firm’s website and found the following text.

ABC helps clients build bigger stories in top tier media, broadcast and the most important tech blogs. We are the media whisperers who connect clients — ABC’s strong relationships, tech-savvy and creativity help us connect clients with reporters, influencers and stories that make a difference.

This PR firm was going to “whisper” to Brightwork Research & Analysis, and we were going to be placed under their spell and motivated to give their client very positive media coverage.

The idea is that the media entity covers the story for free, and the PR firm gets paid for manipulating the media entity. Notice this list of “top PR firms.” We had another vendor reach out to us last year, and we could not figure out what they wanted. Finally, it became apparent they wanted positive coverage, which is not something that we offer. We offer different services, such as competitive intelligence against SAP or Oracle, we provide analytical services, but we don’t produce content for money. I was told that I was quite frustrating and that I was also difficult. Later I revisited their website and found several glowing reports written by some of the analysts, around the same timeframe that they reached out to us.

That is what they were after.

These PR firms don’t do all that much. They do a little writing, but they are mostly just schmoozers. One of their biggest weapons is complimenting members of the media and salesmanship. They have no adherence to a concept of writing what is true but are mercenaries that can be hired to get out any story for money. That is, they lie for a living. 

It is increasingly difficult for media entities to make money, and nearly all have had enormous staff cutbacks. However, these PR firms are doing great. There are PR firms that specialize in specific industries. These are some listed on the Odwyer PR website.

Agriculture | Beauty & Fashion | Entertainment | Environmental & PA | Financial & IR Food & Beverage | Healthcare | Home Furnishings | Professional Svcs. | Sports | Technology | Travel & Economic Dev.

You can see all of the companies they have listed in each category.

There are PR firms that specialize in tech startups, and no doubt, have connections to IT media. There are PR firms just for luxury brands that specialize in regards to the luxury media (Vogue, Vanity Fair, Cigar Aficionado, etc..)

Each PR firm advertises its ability to manipulate the media in their specific area.

Conclusion

Brightwork Research & Analysis we don’t go to wine cellar parties with PR firm employees, and we don’t do “vendor briefings.” For some strange reason, many vendors assume that we do, just because we research the enterprise software market.

We created this response to this PR firm.

John Doe,

An analyst briefing normally applies to analysts like Gartner or Forrester, analyst which have a business model where they receive payments from vendors in exchange for helping vendors getting the word out about their applications.

However, Brightwork Research & Analysis does not follow that model, so we don’t allocate time to vendor briefings.

Financial Disclosure

Financial Bias Disclosure

Neither this article nor any other article on the Brightwork website is paid for by a software vendor, including Oracle, SAP or their competitors. As part of our commitment to publishing independent, unbiased research; no paid media placements, commissions or incentives of any nature are allowed.

What We Do and Research Access

Using the Diagram

Hover over each bullet or plus sign to see more explanation. To move to a different bullet point, just “hover off” and then hover over the new bullet.

 

Research Access

  • Do You Need to Access Research in this Area?

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References

https://www.odwyerpr.com/pr_firm_rankings/hightech.htm

Poll Results: Should Brightwork Sell Out to SAP?

Executive Summary

  • SAP resources are often displeased with Brightwork for not being sufficiently pro-SAP.
  • This poll was created to ask the question of how many readers would prefer if we sold out to SAP.

Introduction

In this poll, we asked several questions around not only selling out to SAP but also how readers fell about media and research entities being controlled by software vendors through things like paid placements and advertising. And the results were surprising.

Are the Answers Representative of the General IT Readership?

Unlike the publications of IDC Takes Money to Publish SAP Provided Sample on S/4HANA, How Accurate Was The Forrester TCO Study?, or How Accurate Was ASUG on its S/4HANA Poll?. Those that immediately present any sample they have as representative (or like ASUG, don’t even mention how many samples are included in the poll), we are not offering this poll as representative of the general IT readership.

First, readers of the Brightwork Research & Analysis website come to the website to get the non-industry funded perspective on technology. At least, that is our impression. So the only thing that can be said is that this poll is representative of those that read our website. The only way to determine the applicability to the general readership is for the establishment IT media websites to run this poll on their sites, which of course, the would never do as the questions are not things that they want any of their readers even contemplating. Media entities ranging from ComputerWeekly to TechTarget to Forrester hide their financial relationships with vendors.

This poll had 49 responses.

The Poll Questions and Results

Question #1

The first question sets the situation of the IT media system as it presently runs.

Just about every entity that providers information on SAP is financially connected to SAP.

Without subscribers, most entities must either sell paid placements, sell consulting for software or write sponsored research.

Is that a good thing?

Answer Analysis

Most of the respondents (76%) oppose all of the information about SAP being published by those with a financial bias. But a small percentage (6.5%) seem to think its a good idea.

Question #2

Question #2 specifically asks the question of the poll.

Should Brightwork Research & Analysis sell out to SAP?

That is should we serve as similar function as other consulting and media entities and repeat information from SAP?

Answer Analysis

This is an encouraging response. The vast majority (85.7%) would prefer that we do not sell out to SAP. I can only assume that the (14.3%) think we should are connected to SAP financially.

Question #3

Question #3 deals with the ownership of media entities.

Both Forbes and IDC (read details here Can You Trust IDC and Their Now China Based Owners?) were recently purchased by Chinese media entities.

China is four spots higher in press freedom from the bottom out of 180 countries than North Korea. And more than ever Forbes and IDC publications simply rent out their websites to the highest bidder.

Should Brightwork Research & Analysis look for a buyer in China or North Korea and get in on this highly profitable business?

Answer Analysis

This is an encouraging response. The vast majority (81.6%) would prefer that we do not sell out to a company based in a country that scores on the absolute bottom of the press freedom rankings. What are the (18.4%) thinking that this would be a good thing? Seriously, do these respondents want their information controlled by North Korea or China? What a strange response.

Question #4

Question #4 deals with how accessing funding can impact accuracy.

If we sell out to SAP or a China-based entity, our accuracy will have to decline…but we will be able to use the funding to grow. Would a decline in accuracy be a problem for you as a reader?

Answer Analysis

Who answered “No” on this question? The respondent is “No,” whether this would impact out accuracy. So these readers would trust our content as much as if we had not sold out to an entity based in North Korea or China? Even if the resource is pro-SAP, it is difficult to see how they would trust the content the same as before selling out.

Question #5

Question #5 is multiple choice and is a tongue in cheek question as to where to spend these newfound riches.

If Brightwork Research & Analysis were to sell out to SAP or to a China-based media company, what should we spend the money on?

Answer Analysis

This is a humor-based question. But the real stuff here is the write-in comments, which we have included in the table below.

Write in Comments

 
Write in Comment
Our Comment
1Please don't get sold)
Encouraging
2Hire a good copywriter to clean up the poor gramma
Ohh that hurts. Actually we check our grammar with a grammar checker -- so many people out there think they know more about grammatical rules then they actually do. We would point out there is no period at the end of this sentence.
3Just don't
Encouraging
4Do not sell. You are doing a great work, pointing out the real problems. I just saw and article about discrimination in job. Well this exactly is happening and immigration through H1B is larger problem than Mexico or Trade deficit with China.
Encouraging
5Scientology membership.
Yes, Scientology memberships are a great use for excess cash.
6Buy SAP shares
Hmmm...that is one option.
7Invest the money to research and investigate technological phony claims.
This is a curious one, because we already do this. And we would not be allowed to do this if we took money from SAP -- unless we only investigated non-SAP false claims.
8Create Brightwork-2 and continue like you did before the sellout
So this is using the money to start a fresh research entity.
9On me. I then probably don't need accurate information any longer...
Very good -- this is the only response where the respondent places themselves into this scenario.
10Do you really think you are worth buying by anyone let alone by a company like SAP? OMG. Pull your head out of that hole right away..
We did not say sell the company, we said sell out. Forrester, Forbes, IDC and Diginomica and others sell out to SAP, without being owned by SAP. This means they allow paid placements or simply rig study results as part of sponsored research. Our media popularity indicates we could in fact sell our articles to SAP and other entities.
11Pls stick to independent research
Encouraging
12expand your coverage
Right, with money from SAP we could cover other areas honestly, but no longer SAP of course.
13continue to give accurate analysis on sap products. if sap doesn't like it, ask sap to pay more.
Encouraging
14continue to give accurate analysis on sap products. if sap doesn't like it, ask sap to pay more.
This is sort of a pressure strategy.
15I don't want you to be sold but if you do, then buy a yacht and sip pinacolada in Carribean.
Encouraging, and considerate.
16Oracle Cloud Credits
This wins the award for the funniest. Everyone knows Oracle Cloud credits are useless.

Question #6

Question #6 is a question related to the concern the readers have regarding media sources being controlled.

Should industry sources control all media? Is there a benefit to having information providers that are independent?

Answer Analysis

If this is most readers, this response is scary. For (40.8%) of the respondents, it shows no concern for independent information.

Conclusion

We hope the participants and readers enjoyed this poll as much as we did. It provides a non-representative, but still interesting and amusing observation into what some people who filled out the poll think.

One issue with the poll, which we realized after we designed it, was that some individuals, for instance, those that work for large vendors, may want biased research as the company they work for is in the best position to buy off media and analyst firms. This brings up the question — if the information is false, but it helps you achieve your objectives, are you in favor of its publication? We may need a future poll which divides the respondents by those that benefit from false information, and those that are harmed by false information.

Financial Disclosure

Financial Bias Disclosure

Neither this article nor any other article on the Brightwork website is paid for by a software vendor, including Oracle, SAP or their competitors. As part of our commitment to publishing independent, unbiased research; no paid media placements, commissions or incentives of any nature are allowed.

What We Do and Research Access

Using the Diagram

Hover over each bullet or plus sign to see more explanation. To move to a different bullet point, just “hover off” and then hover over the new bullet.

 

Research Access

  • Do You Need to Access Research in this Area?

    Put our independent analysis to work for you to improve your spend.

References

Why SAP Resources Do Not Critique False SAP Sponsored Research

Executive Summary

  • SAP sponsors firms like IDC or Forrester to produce false research.
  • SAP resources, who claim to be data-driven, do not critique this research in public.

Introduction

As stated in the article, IDC Takes Money to Publish SAP Provided Sample on S/4HANA. This is the pattern of sponsored research from SAP. Notice that the sample was rigged for Forrester when they were paid by SAP to minimize S/4HANA implementation costs based upon a sample of three implementations. Described in this link How Accurate Was Forrester’s TCO Research on HANA? The same trick was applied to the ASUG poll where the ASUG numbers were entirely out of line with all other numbers was described in the article, How Accurate Was ASUG on their S/4HANA Poll? 

SAP’s History with Sponsored Research

SAP has a long term history of feeding sponsored entities with non-representative samples. The entire intention of the sponsorship of the IDC research into S/4HANA was to make S/4HANA uptake look better than it is. When SAP or an SAP-sponsored entity quotes some analysis, that analysis will be distorted. 

Notice this explanation of how Hasso Plattner referred to 200 “peer-reviewed” research papers that proved HANA supported the claims in his SAPPHIRE slide. None of these studies exist as we cover in the article How Accurate Was Hasso Plattner on the HANA Peer-Reviewed Publications? 

SAP Resources are Silent on False Research

IDC can publish this research, and they can be sure that it will not be critiqued and that it will mostly be reshared and repeated. All of the SAP consulting firms will support it, and IT media entities do not critique research. Furthermore, these IT media entities count SAP as a customer for advertising and paid placements, so they know to keep their mouths shut. IDC also owns IDG, which owns 8 of the top 20 media IT brands (CIO, ComputerWorld, etc..) — so they would certainly not critique it. This is in the minds of many the perfect end state. All major IT media and analyst entities remotely controlled by the largest software vendors and consulting firms. This is referred to as “Synergy” as we covered in. Can you Trust IDC and Their China Based Owners? 

The evidence for my proposal can be found both in looking for articles that critique this study and on the comments that come on this article’s share. There will not be a single individual from an SAP friendly entity that will agree that the IDC research is rigged or otherwise looks suspicious. The most they will say is that it “could be better.” Watch the comments and see if I am correct.

This is also covered in the following quotation.

This reminds me of my article about critical thinking and questioning the motive of sources. There is an entire industry around paid advertorial reports and awards that are nothing more than paid advertisements.  – Jen Underwood

Critical Thinking Skills Are Little Desired in the IT Employment Market

We talk about the importance of teaching critical thinking. Still, my observation of every vendor and consulting company I ever worked for or with is that companies aggressively oppose critical thinking. What they want is people who will do correctly as they are told. When I performed research into topics, if it did not turn out as the entity desired, I was threatened that if I did not hide the results, I would be removed. If the official line is that the moon is made of cheese, then this narrative must be repeated, and to not repeat it is to put one’s career at risk. As you know, we frequently discuss “math and science” education, but like IDC, employers in the IT space want people who will falsify the math when they so desire. So there is very little market for honest mathematics or honest statistics.

I completely concur regarding critical thinking being unwelcome. I’ve experienced my fair share of attacks by cult-like vendor advocates in varied attempts to destroy and silence my fair, valid evaluations. With the tech consolidating and big tech dominating digital communication channels, shadow banning, censoring, etc., honest voices get drowned out.– Jen Underwood

Conclusion

The strategy deployed by SAP resources is to ignore and never publicly comment on obviously false research that is funded by SAP, except sometimes to try to e up with an excuse for the research. This is a type of non-observance, and it is also related to confirmation bias. SAP resources minimize the incorporation of the data point of the fake research item from their observation.

Financial Disclosure

Financial Bias Disclosure

Neither this article nor any other article on the Brightwork website is paid for by a software vendor, including Oracle, SAP or their competitors. As part of our commitment to publishing independent, unbiased research; no paid media placements, commissions or incentives of any nature are allowed.

What We Do and Research Access

Using the Diagram

Hover over each bullet or plus sign to see more explanation. To move to a different bullet point, just “hover off” and then hover over the new bullet.

 

Research Access

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References

Which IT Media Information Sources are Controlled by SAP?

Executive Summary

  • SAP tightly controls many more IT media information sources than is generally understood.
  • We cover which are controlled by SAP.

Introduction

The IT media space is dominated by entities that do not declare their funding. They do not have any disclosure statements because they never bring up the topic. Readers often think they are reading real articles, when in fact they are reading paid placements or advertising motivated articles, or articles designed to help promote lead generation. TechTarget and ComputerWeekly and G2Crowd all work for vendors to collect customer information.

Listing Some of the Popular IT Media Entities and Their Relationship to SAP

 
Company
Coverage that Reinforces SAP Marketing?
Financially Independent from SAP?
1ComputerWeekly
Yes
No
2Forrester
Yes
No
3Diginomica
Yes
No
4ASUG
Yes
No
5CIO
Yes
No
6Gartner
Yes
No
7TechTarget
Yes
No
8InfoWeek
Yes
No
9G2Crowd
Yes
No
10Forbes
Yes
No

Serving Readers or 100% Industry Funding Entities?

As can be seen, none of these popular IT media entities provide unbiased information on SAP.

The websites intend to hide the relationship to the actual funders. Readers think they are reading an article by the media entity that seems authoritative, but they are generally blind to the relationships behind the scenes.

Conclusion

To see how these businesses work, just review our article on IDG titled The Problem With IDG’s Media Conflict of Interests.

Financial Disclosure

Financial Bias Disclosure

Neither this article nor any other article on the Brightwork website is paid for by a software vendor, including Oracle, SAP or their competitors. As part of our commitment to publishing independent, unbiased research; no paid media placements, commissions or incentives of any nature are allowed.

What We Do and Research Access

Using the Diagram

Hover over each bullet or plus sign to see more explanation. To move to a different bullet point, just “hover off” and then hover over the new bullet.

 

Research Access

  • Do You Need to Access Research in this Area?

    Put our independent analysis to work for you to improve your spend.

References

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forrester_Research

https://www.similarweb.com

How Does Brightwork’s Web Influence Compare with Other Sites?

Executive Summary

  • We decided to compare the statistics for our website versus the other entities in the space.
  • Find out how much we stacked up.

Introduction

This article takes the best-known entities in the space that cover the same area as Brightwork Research & Analysis.

Developing the Method of Comparison Between the Websites

There are several statistics that could be used, but we usually use two basic statistics when evaluating a website’s performance with readers.

  1. Number of Visitors: This is the number of people that visited the website. We often use page views, but the statistics website we use counts the number of visitors.
  2. Average Time on the Site: This is the number of minutes that, on average, a visitor spends on the site.

The way we rate Brightwork’s performance is the Number of Visitors * Average Time on Site. This gives us a Total Minutes on Site. These statistics are compiled monthly by the statistics website we use, so it makes sense as the measurement interval as it is the data that is available. One could, of course, do a three-month average, which would give a more accurate value, as website volume and time-on-site goes up and down per month. For this reason, we took an average of three months for each of the other entities, but we used just one month for the Brightwork value. This is because we want to track our performance per month to see if we are going up or down and how this compares to the other information providers.

The Total Minutes on Site Per Website Per Month

Below y0u can see how Brightwork compares against what we consider information providers that cover a similar space.

This means that of these websites, Brightwork Research & Analysis (for May) had more than all of these sites combined. There were several other entities with websites, including Mint Juras and Josh Greenbaum. However, their web traffic is so low that it is, in effect, not measurable.

Comparing Forrester’s Monthly Website Minutes

The picture changes a bit when Forrester is added to the mix.

Forrester, which is one of the three big IT analyst names (the others being IDC and Gartner).

We did not include IDC as they don’t cover the same topics, and Gartner is so large that it would dwarf any other of the entities, including IDC and Forrester.

Forrester ends up being twice in web influence as considerable as Brightwork Research & Analysis. This is just web influence; Forrester’s offline influence is far more significant than Brightwork’s. Forrester has constant meetings with customers, phone conversations, etc.. These are interactions that are not captured as online statistics. However, Forrester distributes their research through their website, as can be seen in the following screenshot.

Viewing research online would be captured by online statistics. While a PDF is downloaded will also be counted by online statistics, if a customer opens the PDF from their computer after downloading it, that would not be counted.

  • Another interesting point is that Forrester also covers more areas than does Brightwork.
  • This is very clear by reviewing their material.
  • They show 62,165 items that can be searched, and when one searches for just SAP, we get the following result.

5,272/62,165 (the total items that can be searched) is 8.4%. Of our coverage, while we have never run the statistics, at least 50% must be SAP. 

Therefore, for the areas we cover (and this was surprising to us), Brightwork more likely has more web influence than Forrester. (and of course, Brightwork is entirely absent from many areas that Forrester covers)

All of this is amazing by itself as Forrester has 1,345 employees, according to Wikipedia.

The Status Quo Nature of Material Published on the Websites

Brightwork stands apart from most of the other information providers on the list in that we challenge the status quo. Probably the main thing that Brightwork is known for is for challenging the largest authorities in the enterprise software space.

This led us to analyze which of the information providers on the list do this.

Type of Media Coverage

 
Website
Coverage that Reinforces the Status Quo ?
Financially Independent from Vendors?
1Brightwork Research & Analysis
No
Yes
2Forrester
Yes
No
3Diginomica
Yes
No
4ASUG
Yes
No
5Vinnie Mirchandani
Yes
No
6E3Zine
No
Yes
7Constellation Reseach
Yes
No
8House of Brick
No
Yes
9UpperEdge
No
Yes
10Third Stage Consulting
No
No
11Palisade Compliance
No
Yes

Conclusion

This is, of course, both interesting and encouraging for us.

Brightwork has proven something that had not been shown previously (at least for the time we have been analyzing IT media and IT analyst output), which is that there is a market for non-status quo information around enterprise software. Notice that all of the other non-status quo websites are significantly smaller in web influence. And this is unrelated to content quality. In our view, UpperEdge produces the best content on IT (and often SAP and Oracle) contract negotiation. But UpperEdge’s coverage is narrow — and this limits their readership. UpperEdge is not a research entity like Brightwork but publishes to gain interest in their contract and IT legal services.

IT media entities, consulting companies and IT analysts operate under the assumption that their readers can be easily tricked. Therefore they can write articles that provide them with often misleading information, and or information that leaves out areas of analysis that those that are friendly to the entities would not want to be published. This is the outcome every time industry sources are courted as customers for advertising or to support content. This is true in IT media, but also other categories of media. The IT media space is dominated by inferior information. For example, AI has been massively oversold by vendors, consulting, IT media, and IT analyst entities. There is only a tiny amount of information published that questions the status quo. IT media entities like ComputerWorld has 4.5 million visitors per month. ComputerWorld is paid by vendors and consulting firms to publish information that both get their stories out, and provides them with information about readers that is collected from visitors.

No doubt providing status quo coverage is profit-maximizing. It allows that entity to raise money from vendors. But of course, in most cases, the status quo information is incorrect, precisely because it is controlled or at least influenced by industry sources.

Financial Disclosure

Financial Bias Disclosure

Neither this article nor any other article on the Brightwork website is paid for by a software vendor, including Oracle, SAP or their competitors. As part of our commitment to publishing independent, unbiased research; no paid media placements, commissions or incentives of any nature are allowed.

What We Do and Research Access

Using the Diagram

Hover over each bullet or plus sign to see more explanation. To move to a different bullet point, just “hover off” and then hover over the new bullet.

 

Research Access

  • Do You Need to Access Research in this Area?

    Put our independent analysis to work for you to improve your spend.

References

https://diginomica.com/asos-profit-collapse-highlights-the-importance-of-animal-print-skirts-as-well-as-working-tech/

https://diginomica.com/asos-and-ocado-why-warehouses-matter-in-an-e-commerce-retail-world/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forrester_Research

https://www.similarweb.com