My clients at Kickfire put out a press release last week quoting me as saying things I neither said nor believe. The press release is about a “Queen For A Day” kind of contest announced way back in April, in which users were invited to submit stories of their data warehouse problems, with the biggest sob stories winning free Kickfire appliances. The fabricated “quote” reads:
As we went through the contest entries in detail, it was readily apparent that today’s data warehousing solutions are either massively expensive or non-existent,” said Curt Monash, Founder of Monash Research. “Clearly, there is major dual-market opportunity for a product such as the Kickfire appliance that can not only provide an affordable data warehousing solution to small companies; but can also target larger companies that have made an initial investment in high-end solutions, yet still need to add some affordable query processing power in other areas of the organization.”
- I spent a few minutes reviewing summaries of eight stories selected by Kickfire from the entrants, and emailed comments back to Kickfire about them. I have no further role to play in the contest.
- The part of the “quote” that slams Kickfire’s competitors is not reflective of my views.
- The “market opportunity” is in line with the positioning I’ve encouraged Kickfire to adopt. A good shorthand for it is the “Sybase IQ market.” In essence I see Kickfire as an interesting Sybase IQ alternative. But Sybase IQ is a formidable competitor, and there are many other competitors as well. This is hardly an untapped market ripe for Kickfire’s plucking.
I’m satisfied that this is all a case of lousy marketing execution – something Kickfire has a history of — rather than deliberate deception. Kickfire has recently turned over its VP of Marketing (twice) and PR resource (at least once). Scott Humphrey, Kickfire’s new outside PR guy, says he was incorrectly told by his predecessor that the press release and quote in question had been approved, and put it out without fact-checking. I believe him. I hope Kickfire CEO Bruce Armstrong will be able to add stronger marketing leadership soon. Bruce seems aware of the need, and is making reasonable marketing strategy decisions himself in the mean time, so there’s some basis for optimism.
And by the way – I don’t let vendors write press release quotes for me anyway. I let them edit in precise product names and so on, but otherwise the words are mine. The last occasion on which I recall bending this policy was inadvertent and over a year ago, when Greenplum emailed something to me — which was genuinely similar to my opinion — while I was on the phone with Aster at a particularly frenzied time, and I didn’t immediately realize the words weren’t my own.