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Should Anyone Listen To Analysts When It Comes To Technology?

by Sean P. Aune | June 25, 2010June 25, 2010 1:20 pm PDT

Apparently the cushiest job known to mankind is that of an analyst.

About the only other job out there where people are paid to make predictions, and no one seems to blink when they get it wrong, is that of a weatherman.  When you’re wrong, everyone just kind of shrugs and moves on with their lives, quickly forgetting those times you were off the mark.  Course, those rare occasions where you got it right, you crow it from the top of every roof.

analystI was reminded this past week of how much I dislike analysts because you really have to wonder how they keep their jobs, and earn as much as they do.  I wrote up how sales projections of the iPad were all over the place, and in particular Sarah Rotman Epps, an analyst at Forrester Research, made a rather wild call about the sales of the Apple tablet: ”Consumers didn’t ask for tablets.  In fact, Forrester’s data shows that the top features consumers say they want in a PC are a complete mismatch with the features of the iPad.”

Ms. Epps went on to predict that across all tablet manufacturers a total of 3.5 million units would sell this year.  The problem is that this information came out after the iPad had already sold two million units in its first 60 days of sales.  She must have been really upset when on June 22nd, the 80th day of sales for the device, and Apple announced that it had broken the three million sales mark.

Man, Steve Jobs is going to be disappointed when he only sells 100,000 units a month between July and Dec.

This is but one example of the ways analysts amaze me.  Last Oct. there was an AP story (now offline) that had the headline, “Shift to e-books to hurt bookstores, analysts say”.  Wow, did it take you weeks to come to that conclusion?

My absolute favorite is that every Aug. I see analysts that say how they feel Apple will release new iPods in Sept. … you know, like they have every year since 2005?  However, it never fails that some analyst makes this ground shaking prediction like they have figured out something no one else has.  What I envision is some analyst looks at the clock and realizes it’s 4:50 PM on a Friday and they need to get something on their bosses desk before the weekend and they go, “uh … all my data points to new iPods in Sept.!  I’m out of here for the weekend!”

I honestly have no clue how analysts justify their existence, or why people even listen to them.  You know what I predict?  That some analyst will make some bone-headed prediction about a technology they don’t understand, and it will really just amount to stating the obvious.

… someone want to pay me analyst money now for “analyzing” that information?

What say you?  Do analysts ever knoww what they’re talking about when it comes to technology?


Sean P. Aune

Sean P. Aune has been a professional technology blogger since July 2007, but his love of tech dates back to at least 1976 when his parents bought...

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