Does anyone write the blog for you?
No. It’s not easy to come up with this stuff. The blog is written by me and me alone. There is no ghostwriting.
Does the blog represent the official view of your employer(s)?
No. Opinions expressed are plentiful, mine, and either not necessarily or simply not those of the companies with whom I am working or have worked. When I have chosen to work at (or with) a given company, you should expect that I have a de facto pro-company viewpoint. And let’s get the logic correct, here: I don’t like company X because I’m working with them; I’m working with company X because I like them.
Do you work with and/or invest in companies that you write about and/or have relationships that might influence your views?
Yes, in six categories:
- First, I own shares and/or options in the companies at which I work or have worked in the past (e.g., MarkLogic, Salesforce, Planful).
- Second, by virtue of board, advisory, and/or angel investing work, I own shares (and/or options or profit interests) directly or indirectly in companies including Alation, Bluecore, ClearedIn, Cube, Cyral, DataGrail, Entytle, Faros, FloQast, Fortella, Hex, MongoDB, OnPlan, NetSpring, Nuxeo, Plannuh, Presidio Identity, Profisee, Scoro, SMA Technologies, and TopOpps.
- Third, by virtue of consulting, advisory, and/or board work, I receive cash compensation from various startups, and (unlike the above bullet) I don’t attempt to make a partial list of such clients.
- Fourth, I am also an investor in numerous venture capital and/or private equity funds so I indirectly own shares in many other companies.
- Fifth, I am usually invested in the stock market and may directly or indirectly own long and/or short positions in technology and other companies.
- Sixth, I have numerous friends who have started companies and often informally advise them, sometimes as a predecessor to moving to something more formal.
As an advisor and consultant, what is your business model and how do you prioritize opportunities?
I work with a broad range of companies on a broad range of terms. In general, I work on what you might call an “AaaS” business model (i.e., advice as a service). I tend to prioritize business opportunities in the following order:
- Independent board of directors seats (a.k.a., non-executive director roles). These include the more hands-on executive chair role though those slots are definitionally more limited.
- Advisory roles. These are usually what I call CEO technical support, where I offer ad hoc or scheduled 1-1s to discuss issues du jour. In some cases, I offer CMO and/or CFO technical support as well.
- Eminence grise roles. While I don’t often do these, under the right circumstances I am open to a handful-of-days per month role, where I end up a (very) part-time team member.
- Consulting projects, such as corporate strategy, go-to-market audits, messaging or positioning development, or due diligence on financial transactions. I’m typically most interested in these when they have the potential to develop into something more ongoing and/or are for existing advisory clients.
I’m typically compensated in a mix of cash and equity. The mix tends to be driven by this rule (which is only somewhat tongue in cheek) — the more you want to give me cash only, the more I want equity. And conversely.
What gets you excited about working with a company?
Four things, in this order:
- The people. I need to feel chemistry with the founder, CEO, key executives, and/or directors with whom I’d be working.
- The space. I need to be excited about the space. Fortunately, I have a broad range of interests and have done everything from data & analytics to search & content management to business applications, with a lot in between (e.g., AgTech).
- The fit. I need to feel a good fit between what the company needs and what I can bring. Sometimes, I may refer you to another advisor or consultant.
- The financial opportunity. See the prior point about the mix of cash and equity in compensation.
French companies get extra points, particularly if the role involves periodic business-class travel to France with lengthy dinners at Parisian brasseries.
As an advisor and consultant, how do you manage potential conflicts across clients?
I have my fingers in a lot of pies and that’s, in fact, one way I add value — e.g., I work with numerous companies in data & analytics and that space familiarity is part of my value proposition. While I never view investments as potentially “in conflict” (e.g., I have owned Salesforce and Zendesk at the same time and that just means I’m bullish on the space), I do seek to avoid simultaneously advising companies that directly compete with each other. I do not attempt to avoid indirect or eventual (e.g., roadmap or vision) conflicts because many startups dream of world domination and thus will eventually compete with everyone. My approach is to be transparent with my clients about potential conflicts and flag it when and if I think eventual conflict becomes near-term.
How does the blog fit into your overall social media strategy?
Here is how I use social media:
- Kellblog is about work, featuring content on topics that interest me (e.g., management, strategy, and metrics). It’s for anyone who wants to read it.
- LinkedIn is for colleagues. If we’ve worked together as coworkers, partners, suppliers, or vendors, this is where to connect with me.
- Facebook is for friends, though I’m on hiatus at present.
- My Twitter feed (@Kellblog) is primarily a curated subset of what I read. As such, it includes an eclectic mix of topics including news, Silicon Valley, venture capital, economics, astronomy, humor, sports, Grateful Dead, France, and of late, somewhat reluctantly, and out of a sense of obligation to speak up, politics
Do you compete with the companies you analyze?
Yes, but not always. Often the reason I know a lot about a company is that I have worked at or with a company that competes with them. So while there are times when I’m in pure / macro market analysis mode, at other times I may be writing about vendors and markets that are closer to home. Do not assume any attempt at neutrality: what hopefully makes the blog interesting is that I write about things from a strong point-of-view.
Do you have any driving philosophies behind what you post?
Yes. I try to pick issues where I have a pretty strong opinion. That opinion may prove incorrect and/or may change over time (and those two things are loosely coupled). I view the ability to change one’s mind in response to new information as a strength. Healthy debate — and interesting editorial — starts not with fence-sitting, but with taking a position and arguing for it. As they used to say at Gartner back when they used to assign probabilities to research notes: if you’re going to assign a prediction a probability of 0.5, then don’t bother to write the note.
Will the blog always be factually correct?
The blog is a mix of opinion and my recollection of historical fact. Like my wife, I assume those opinions are not always correct and that my recollection of facts is fallible. So feel free to disagree with my opinions and to let me know when you think I’ve gotten a fact wrong. While I do not commit to any updates, revisions, or corrections, I do try to make them when I’m convinced that I’ve made an error and have time to fix it.
Is the blog subject to copyright and other conditions / protections?
Yes. This blog is copyright (c) Dave Kellogg from the year 2005 to date, and is protected via a Creative Commons license agreement. See the blog footer for the formal notice and a link to a summary of the agreement, which in turns includes a link to the full agreement.
What’s your comment policy?
I reserve the right to disallow, moderate, edit and delete comments. While I will try to be selective about invoking that right, I may delete or hide comments that I deem undesirable for any reason (e.g., flames, competitors seeking publicity, ad hominem attacks). The more your comment is logical and on-topic the more likely it will stand. Anonymous and semi-anonymous comments are unlikely to stand.
Do you revise and/or delete posts?
Yes. From time to time, I revise posts and/or delete them. Typically, I do this in response to comments, to correct errors, to focus my writing, or simply to change tone. Often, I’ll revise a post numerous times in its first hour of life to correct errors and tighten the writing. Sometimes, I remove posts because I’ve changed my mind about an issue, I think the post is dated and no longer relevant, or simply because I no longer want the post on the blog. Feed and/or email subscribers should take note: if you want to see the current official version of any post, you should come back to the blog and find it. Sometimes, but not always, I will note revisions at the top or bottom of the post.
Sometimes you talk about company financials; are you a financial analyst?
No. I am not a financial analyst. I am an executive analyzing the market and while I consider myself a pretty good finance guy, I am most certainly not a financial analyst. I include financial analysis when I think it’s relevant to understanding a company or a market. I do not make buy and sell recommendations on stocks, people should not buy or sell stocks based on my analysis, and — as noted above — I may directly or indirectly hold positions in the companies I discuss.
Suppose I try one of your ideas and wreck my company?
First, if that happens, sorry, but that (i.e., “sorry”) is the extent of my liability. The blog is provided for informational purposes only and while it will hopefully stimulate your thinking, you run your company — not me. The blog is not professional services, business consulting, or financial advice. I disclaim liability as per the license agreement.
Given your French ties, is the fact that Kellblog is a homophone for Quel Blog deliberate or accidental?
Accidental, though a French reader pointed it out to me many years ago. Quel blog in French means “what a blog!” and no, I can’t say that I was clever enough to come up with that. In fact, the name Kellblog was suggested to me by none other than Mike Moritz of Sequoia Capital, back when the blog was still called the MarkLogic CEO Blog.
Do you have a feed?
Yes, not that anyone uses them much anymore. To think, at one point we all believed social-media-curated feeds would be better than RSS. It’s here.
How do I subscribe via email?
I haven’t figured out how to put a link directly here, but if you look in the right column you’ll see a block entitled “Follow Blog Via Email” where you can enter your email address to subscribe.
Can I contact you over email if I have a question?
Yes. Please contact me at davekellogg at mail-dot-com. (Note, that’s mail-dot-com, not gmail-dot-com.)