This blog post recounts an amazing story that I hope helps someone else in responding to the nasty economic conditions we find ourselves in. Since 2006, Brockmann & Company has been a market research publisher, industry analyst and IT consultant. 2008 was our best year. I decided that the business was to be a highly personalized service business where I was the product, and therefore definitely not a ‘scalable’ enterprise.

In order to deliver the highest quality service, I would have to purposefully limit the number of clients to the number that could be sustained at any one time. And to a large degree I was quite successful in providing access to leading research for a limited number of brand name and other clients in the communications equipment and service industry. With a particular focus on the growth segments of video and mobile enterprise, things worked really well until the end of 2008. Two of my clients were startups, and they converted to sleepers. Sleepers are startups who run out of money, shut the doors and orderly (hopefully) put the IPR on the shelf with the hope of one day selling the assets to somebody who can do some good with it.

And, in early January 2009, my best client filed for Chapter 11.

For a few months after that nasty winter, I put on a brave face and did research on spec. No takers. Then, I did more research, hoping to find a client or two or three to fund my work. I went to industry conferences and listened to dozens of vendor briefings. No luck. A friend called up and invited me to participate in a study and conference he was organizing. Great to stretch the brain, but not lucrative enough to cover much more than expenses for the month let alone the quarter.

After a period of circumspection I polished up my resume, posted it on the big executive job sites, and tried to see if there were any needs for IT industry marketing executives. Nope. I think in 2010 I probably applied to three or four dozen postings over the year and got zilch response.


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