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A warm compliment for Merv Adrian and an interesting comment about the Forrester layoffs

Background:  This text originally came in as a comment to Forrester experiences analyst layoffs. Because of the last line, I did not approve the comment leaving it as a private communication to SageCircle. But I did tweet that someone had sent along a very nice compliment for Merv Adrian. That triggered this comment to the original (and not published) comment:  “Saw your tweet. Oops. sorry. meant keep IP confidential. pls reveal details. =)”  So with that permission from the author, we are now publishing his or her comment. However, rather than a comment I decided to elevate it to a full post. BTW, you can follow Merv Adrian on Twitter at www.twitter.com/merv.

photo-merv-adrian-official-forresterIt is truly sad to say good-bye to co-workers especially during a lay off.. I will miss each person who has left. But it is quite a travesty when you lay off someone who is an icon, someone who makes a big difference in everyone’s lives, and someone who has had the company’s best interest at heart at all times. I have struggled to tell this story about my team and the more I wait, the more I regret it. I must tell. I shall share. I now reveal.So I say this with great conviction: “It is unconscionable for Forrester to lay off Mervyn T. Adrian without a proper explanation to our clients and our employees”


I was there when we first bought Giga. It was a scary time like now. The Internet bubble had burst. We had finished 2 rounds of layoffs. Our business was tanking. Our stock in the toilet.

When we bought Giga, we were nervous. Our first reaction was who are all these gray hairs? We were all much younger. Why’s everyone a VP? We only had principal analysts as the highest title and there were only 2 or 3 of those. Would we get along with these old farts? They seem crotchety and nerdy. How come they all work from home? We lived in a must show up to HQ culture.

But throughout the acquisition, this bubbly gentleman would reach out. He showed us how to work together. He showed us the value of an inquiry to clients. He showed us the how to collaborate across teams. He would reach out and mentor new analysts. He would tell it to us like it was despite any management pat answer. He showed us that analysts are people too. He taught us how to work with those sometimes “pesky” AR people. He navigated the vendors. He got us to sing along with the Forrester band. He brought a strong sense of ethics. He was part of the team that created a smooth acquisition. Don’t get me wrong. He made his share of mistake and then owned up.

But most importantly… he valued us as individuals. He encouraged us to build relationships. He celebrated our successes. He cherished this family we call Forrester.

About 2 years ago, we moved to our current role based research model. Many of us were skeptical. Yet, he was one of the first to embrace the Technology Industry role group. He was an evangelist and recruited many of us to join. He put down his management hat and reemerged in the analyst ranks.

After putting his heart and soul into this new structure, he continued to face challenges from our leadership. From our perspective we feel that despite his best efforts, he faced a manager that lacked experience and was insecure and he faced a managing director that lived in an ivory tower but was best friends with the COO. He was unable to make headway to help them understand what vendors sought from us. what was the true value. In any case, he still gave his best.

Now this may sound like a eulogy. And, well, frankly, it is. We have lost someone at Forrester who was treasured by many of our colleagues and most of all our clients. There may be many reasons in a layoff, but from my vantage point, this is the worst kind – one with no logical explanation other than dumb politics.

I encourage those who know Merv and his work to send a letter to your sales rep, my research leadership team, and even the big Kahuna, George himself. We hear that the letters are already coming but keep sending them. Only do this if you mean it. Tell them why this is a mistake. Tell them about your Merv story. Share with them why this makes no sense.

We know its water over the bridge. We doubt they would bring him back. We can only imagine that he would come back if asked. But its worth a try and its worth making the point. Individuals do matter and people like Merv are special. You just don’t treat people like this and get away with it!

Meanwhile give him your business. He’s hung out his own shingle as an independent and it doesn’t matter where he works. It’s still the same Merv.

Conscience relieved analyst,

p.s. Carter, please keep this confidential. I don’t want to end up on the layoff section of your blog.

Editor’s Note: I was subsequently given permission by the commenter to post this.


9 Responses

  1. This isn’t an eulogy, but certainly a tribute.

    Being the newer rookie analyst, I’ve always enjoyed working with Merv, his bubbly spirit is true to his kind and positive attitude.

    On occasion, he would provide me with wise advice, and was always supportive of my efforts, even in his public tweets!

    While we may have lost a good colleague, I know I’ve earned a long term friend.

    We were both based in the Foster City office, and at Ray Wang’s house we did a jam session, him rockin on guitar, and I tried to keep up on piano, good times.

    I’m envious of the next set of folks that get to work with him.

  2. Carter,

    That is a great tribute to Merv. He gave me my break at Forrester during the protracted battle for PeoplSoft. The comments so capture the imagery and feeling of Merv. Best of luck to him and his new gig!

  3. Nice tribute to a great analyst. Go Merv!

  4. I have known Merv from the days before he became an analyst. I always enjoyed working with him in the industry and think he is a fine analyst and great human.

  5. Merv was one of the first analysts I met with at Forrester, one that gave me a warm friendly hello everytime I saw him or spoke with him – I respected him immensely. Forrester got it wrong with this one. Good Luck to you Merv – you will no doubt continue to succees in whatever you do!

  6. I agree that this is a well-deserved tribute to an amiable, informed analyst. I am troubled, however, by the author’s age bias. Are comments like “Our first reaction was who are all these gray hairs?” and “Would we get along with these old farts? They seem crotchety and nerdy” reflective of the broader Forrester culture or, worse yet, its hiring practices? I think it very well may be. FYI author, age discrimination is illegal. Sorry to be the heavy here, but in this tight job market the last thing those of us 40+ or with premature greying need is proliferation of ageist attitudes.

  7. Merv was a great industry analyst. I always looked forward to meetings with him, as well as any of his presentations. He was full of positive energy, but honest, intelligent and useful feedback….but, being the person I am, I always enjoyed his easy laughter and entertaining ways.

  8. The only disagreement I have with the prior comments is with the use of the word “was.” Merv is a great industry analyst, not “was.”

  9. Merv was one of the first analysts I got to know as I got started in Analyst Relations. Things that stirke me about Merv that I know will make for much success ahead: his inquisitiveness across such a wide variety of areas, his ability to get quickly to the heart of the matter at hand no matter how many layers of other stuff has been wrapped around it by a vendor, his joy at exploring new areas and at relating and interweaving them before the rest of us begin to see the patterns and affinities, his love of music, and his ability to make you not want conversations with him to end. Some doors close and others doors open. May there be many more multiplicative jamborations, Merv!

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