Ten New Year's Resolutions for Spend Matters (Part 1)

It's that time of year again when all of us set resolutions. From a Spend Matters perspective, I've decided to post my ten resolutions in a two-part series. Below is the first entry -- look for the second later in the week.

1) I promise to stay a blogger and not turn into either an analyst or journalist. Contrary to Eric Strovink's opinion on the subject -- which you will see later this week on Spend Matters -- I do believe that there is at least one primary difference between bloggers and analysts. And that's the importance of the written word to bloggers (and their audience) versus the spoken one in analyst circles. I still contend a lot of what analysts write should be discounted significantly (for more information on why, see resolution number 2, below).

2) I will invite controversy and debate by continuing to question what others cannot (because they are limited by their firm's / publication's ability to say what they want to say because of their concern over commercial relationships). I know of at least a dozen analysts, consultants and journalists who would like to share their opinions more freely than they do, but are limited because of relationships -- almost always commercial in nature -- that limit what they can say. Now, an astute reader could easily say, "Well, Jason, you have commercial relationships as well." But to that I would note that they are my own relationship's, not a large firm's or publication's. Therefore, while I might personally tick off a sponsor or client -- and have many, many times in the past on Spend Matters -- the fall out rests entirely with me. This is a subtle but very important difference between independent bloggers and larger entities.

3) I will maintain an environment of full disclosure regarding sponsors, advertisers, and consulting relationships. It is a shame that industry analyst firms and trade publications do not disclose their commercial relationships more openly. The sheer size of what the larger technology vendors pay the analyst firms, in particular, would shock most practitioners.

4) I will actively pursue at least a handful of new business ventures and work my way towards getting out of consulting. I'll admit it. Four years into my consulting firm (and what really amounts to almost eleven years into a consulting career if I count my FreeMarkets time), I'm getting burned out from it. I'm far more passionate about my writing -- and this blog in particular -- than slopping together pretty PowerPoints and crunching numbers. However, I still need to put food on the table and pay the mortgage -- not to mention funding new ventures -- so I will still continue to work with current Azul Partners clients and select new ones whom I believe we can sincerely help. But in general, 2008 will mark my involvement in a number of new types of content and blog-related businesses that start me down a path to getting entirely away from the billable hour.

5) Using Spend Matters as a platform and sounding board, I plan to encourage other new voices to chime in that I think have a lot to add to the entire Spend Management debate based on their experience. A number of these, I hope, will be practitioners, either writing under their real names or potentially a pseudonym if they really have some juicy details to share.

- Jason Busch

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