How Can I Improve?

This is the hardest post to write, but perhaps the most important.

I enjoy meeting people in real life, and if they tell me they enjoy reading my blog or tweets, I thank them, and then ask them “What should I improve on?” I realize I don’t do this enough online, where I’m located most of the time, and would love to hear from you.

Yesterday, a contemporary I respect gave me some feedback on an area I should improve on, and while it stung for a second, I know deep down he’s right. He reminded me that successful professional and companies know how to listen, take in feedback, and then improve. I’m not an expert on this, and make my fair share of mistakes, but I should certainly practice what I preach, so here goes:

I’ll leave the topic very open, love to hear what you think, so how can I improve?

Feel free to leave a comment, but If you don’t feel comfortable saying it in public, feel free to email me at jeremiah_owyang @yahoo dot com, or if you want to submit to uservoice (an embracing technology), that’s fine too, as it helps with prioritization. It really doesn’t matter which method you choose, I look forward to hearing from you.

  • I’d be interested in hearing what stung.

  • Hey Jeremiah, kudos to you for being open and genuine. That’s the Jeremiah we know and love! I’ve been following you on Twitter since I first signed up almost two years ago, and have to say that you have been a model Twitter user. I tend to post many more links than you. Perhaps that’s because I have fewer interesting thoughts of my own. Also you don’t seem to retweet very often. I understand the risk of seeming to endorse another’s viewpoint, but I am sure your followers would appreciate knowing what kind of Tweets you consider worthwhile or important. Just my two cents. Keep up the great work!

  • Being an analyst who makes predictions for a living, where naturally some come true and some not, I think one of the most fascinating information you could share with us is those predictions that did not materialize, and your analysis on WHY that was so.

    Just as a side note – I suppose you do realize the big difference between the way you asked for it online and offline. I wouldn’t be surprised if that stinging feedback would not be written on a public comments feed, at least not in the stinging manner – as open as we all want to think we are…

  • I always read with interest what you have to say. I did, though, love the fact you gave Europe a fair bit of coverage with the pieces from your trip to Hollan. At times I think a lot of US bloggers forget there’s a massive amount of exciting stuff happening in Europe with the web. It would be good to get a few more European pieces from time to time.

    But I’m really nit-picking here, J. You’re site is awesome.

  • Candace

    I agree with the others. I enjoy your postings and find most extremely helpful in trying to understand the new social media technologies out there and being used. I’m sure the more you place yourself in the public eye, the more you open yourself up to all kinds of comments. Keep up the good work!

  • Keeping up with social technologies is tough since there are new ones spawning daily. It’d be nice if you can have a review/ranking of some of the more popular social tools out there.

    Great site by the way.

  • Hailing from Boulder CO, we have a growing community of social software developers (socialthing, britekite, ignighter, socialeyes, etc…), and I’ve observed a philosophical conflict between the proponents of user voice (money corrupts) and proponents of corporate voice (money measures value). Interestingly (but maybe obviously), one’s leaning is correlated to the proprietor’s age.

    It’d be nice to hear more thoughts on how Social effects the business model and if you feel there are relevant consequences to the age gap between those with money and those who “understand” social technology (I’m dangerously generalizing of course).

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  • Wow. I’ve just started following you recently and I’ve enjoyed reading your blog posts and tweets. Now I will even enjoy them more. By exposing yourself so thoroughly to criticism, you’ve made yourself an even more real person than before. I have only good things to say. Thank you!

  • Rena

    It only matters if I do something with the feedback, as a first step, I’m listening and absorbing.

  • Sorry, but I love the blog, tweets and have nothing to add regarding your request at this time.


  • There’s honestly only one thing I’d like to see you do better: be more critical in your analysis. Often I feel like you’re happier hanging out with these “colleagues” and protecting them than you are about speaking the truth. To be clear, I never feel like you lie. But, I do feel like you withhold.

  • Adam

    Which colleagues are you talking about? Forrester colleagues?

  • Received a few emails, I’ll summarize

    Two suggested I need to spend more time on grammar, we’ve discussed that at length before.

    The third, a professional who is deploying social technologies at a bank writes the following:

    How can we stay employed?
    What top five technologies stand out to learn for geeks?
    and same question for mere mortals in tech? What do we need to study? Learn? or get familiar with?

  • Jason Pyle

    Jeremiah, I enjoy reading your tweets and have found following you to be very informative. Just as you are in a process of absorbing, I too am not in a position to give a good thorough critique that would be meaningful and helpful to you yet. But now that I know you are open to hearing it, I will share when I do.

    But I do have a suggestion re: tweet content. Being an IT Staffing Industry guys for over a decade I’d really love to hear some of your thoughts on where things are going in our industry.


  • Jeremiah,
    I follow your blogs almost every day. I like to see little in depth analysis or thought process the current challenges/upcoming trend you brought up. I also like to see the blogs on the companies who has taken initiative towards Social Colonization ( a great topic that you have brought up)and how they changing their World.


  • Jenifer Olson

    Oh for heaven sake, Jeremiah. You are an outstanding analyst and a phenomenal talent. You accomplish more in one week than many of us even think about in a month, and you do it well.

    I’m not saying you can’t improve – we all can. But on balance, you’re light years ahead of most. My advice? Just continue to listen and engage and do your best. Ultimately, please yourself.

    Haven’t you ever heard that old saying? “The person who tries to please everyone pleases no one.” ๐Ÿ™‚

    Take care,
    Jenifer @jenajean

  • Jeremiah

    No, I’m thinking more specifically industry colleagues. Those on the agency/provider/seller side of the equation. In your role at Forrester I’m hoping to see you shed the light on BS and help companies uncover snake oil. There’s a lot in this space.


  • Adam

    Got it, I see it too. There’s a time and place for everything, some of that comes out in my research reports –where I’ve done quantitative research.

  • You do a pretty good job right now but if I could have one thing it would be more real world social media failures and successes. You would have to conceal identities of the companies but that would be my wish.

    Thanks for asking!

  • Skimming through the comments — both via FriendFeed and here on your blog — and I’m with Ken Camp on your apparent lack of conversation on your blog. That’s a major reason I don’t comment as much these days, because I get the sense you’d rather analyze what people say than converse with them…which is contrary to how I view blog comments, as an extension of what’s in the blog.

    But if you’re better dialoguing with FF, I’m there too, so maybe that’s the answer.

  • Also, Jeremiah, once you shift to Media Temple, it would be helpful if you can install the WordPress plugin called “subscribe to comments” so if you reply to me (or anyone else), I can receive them. Much easier to track in email than by RSS. Thanks.

  • Thanks everyone for these comments so far, I’m still absorbing them in.

  • Asking for something like this on a weblog is like the people going onto a reality show to get booed and applauded. Sincere advice is given in real-life, by people who care. Sincere advice is asked in real-life from people who care

  • Jeremiah,

    I appreciate and applaud your transparency and desire for feedback. I have to say, though, that mostly I would encourage you to keep doing what you have been doing. I’ve been an avid reader of your site since back in 2006 and I’ve enjoyed your insights over the years. Now that you are with Forrester, I do have to say that I’ve appreciated the summaries of your research that you have also shared here on your site. Keep on doing what you do!

    Thanks for asking,

  • Jeremiah,

    I admire your comment,facts,your work,your research,persistent, passion, your hardwork, desire to satisfy, to answer every little tweet possible. There’s always room for improvement. But how about taking a deep breathe & embracing what you have accomplished… ok, now look into the future.

    But honestly, I’m happy thus far…

    From South Africa, Cape Town, Khalil Aleker

  • Hey Jeremiah,

    Kudos to you for opening the lines of communication and asking for feedback! We at Rypple couldn’t agree more in the value of getting focused, frequent, and honest feedback.

    I totally don’t want to turn this comment into a commercial for Rypple, but after reading your post I was jumping up and down since thousands of people use our service everyday to solicit the VERY feedback you’re after from friends, colleagues, & even clients!

    In fact, here’s a note from Jenny Blake, a prominent GenY blogger who just today, posted a request for feedback via Twitter using our URL feature:

    Feel free to check it out for yourself and let me know what you think! You may find it to be a useful service for you. Happy to chat at any time.


  • Hey Jeremiah. Your move to Forrester really seems to have worked out; also as a Brit I very much appreciate your non-US-centric approach (and travelog). Please make sure you don’t over-tweet; at the moment you see to have the volume about right. Good Job :o)

  • Robin thanks.

    My tweeting is heavy, but I maintain that it’s higher quality than talking about my lunch. See how I tweet:

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  • Jeremiah,
    I once gave you kudos for recognizing errors, since this is by far a not so common attitude. We all learn by tries and errors for sure, and I would love to read more about failures and unsuccessful experiences analysis. Problem is… you are an รผber positive guy ๐Ÿ˜€

  • Thierry, you’re not the only one to point out that my bullish attitude needs more negativity. I see a trend that folks want to hear more about case studies of failures and risks.

  • I wanted to thank everyone for all this feedback, I’m internalizing now.

  • Jeremiah,

    Why dont you cover social media technologies and trends in India ?

    Why dont we have more “how to ” post ?

    Sri Vikas

  • J – I would have to agree with the email you received… how do we stay employed? What can we social web folks do to monetize if we’re not Kraft, Comcast or Dell?

  • Web strategy and even social media are huge domains. I think it’s important to think about smaller contexts.

  • Being an analyst who makes predictions for a living, where naturally some come true and some not, I think one of the most fascinating information you could share with us is those predictions that did not materialize, and your analysis on WHY that was so.

    Just as a side note – I suppose you do realize the big difference between the way you asked for it online and offline. I wouldn't be surprised if that stinging feedback would not be written on a public comments feed, at least not in the stinging manner – as open as we all want to think we are…

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