Donovan's Views: Fleishman vs Enderle -- mano a mano
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Donovan's Views: Fleishman vs Enderle -- mano a mano

By Gaurang Donovan

As alluded to in the late January 2009's article, "Donovan’s Views: distorted grudges" (, I have a strict reading policy. I hope tech journalists, editors and reporters should note it when doing their job. 

What is the policy? I stop reading or watching immediately any report that includes appearances of Rob Enderle or John Dvorak's voice or words and the reporter that chose to include them will enter my discredited list. I don't care what network or publication, its size, or precious reputation, it is simply my strict policy. 

Yet I found myself actually reading all of the individual tweets between technology writer and author Glenn Fleishman and self-professed former consultant and self-professed current "inquiry analyst" Rob Enderle the other night concerning a piece by Kelli B. Grant at "Should you Pre-Order an iPad?" in which she referenced Enderle's views. 

Kelli B. Grant welcome to my discredited list.

I took the time to reorder the tweets according to the time-stamp of the tweet for it to appear as a conversation, for easier reading and include them below to share with you for your entertainment.

I hope you get out of it what I got out of it.

Before you start reading the exchange, please try to remember as you read that there was no limit to what either Fleishman or Enderle could choose to say in a tweet nor how many tweets they could initiate. I assume there was no editor or editorial policy in the way of what could be written. In other words they were speaking for themselves.

Sticking with the better writing and disclosure method to follow, my own personal disclosures, including having the first Mac in China, are included toward the end of this article. But first...

Uncut: Fleishman vs Enderle - mano a mano

Fleishman: Enderle: "Dell’s Streak tablet offers more computing power." Hey, @Enderle, are you consulting for Dell or not? During what period did you?
3:39 PM 

Enderle: I'm an inquiry analyst. Different beast entirely. I'm not saying the iPad is bad, only that other products may be better for them.
3:48 PM 

Fleishman: Does Dell pay you for your services, and during what time? Do you disclose your contracts to journalists who call for interviews?
3:51 PM 

Enderle: Not sure where the "computing power" thing came from. The Dell fits in your pocket and is a phone, the iPad may have more power.
3:51 PM 

Fleishman: Does Dell pay you for your services, and during what time? Do you disclose your contracts to journalists who call for interviews?
3:51 PM 

Enderle: same way all my peers do. Same way the analysts who work for Apple do.
3:54 PM 

Fleishman: I don't know what "same way" means here. Does Dell pay you for services (whatever they are)?
3:55 PM 

Fleishman: Are you saying that you do not receive monetary compensation for consulting, inquiry or otherwise?
3:56 PM

Enderle: I suggested three alternative products, Dell is a client the other two are not. My clients are posted.
3:59 PM

Fleishman: That is what I wanted to know. Thank you.
4:09 PM

Enderle: you could have simply looked it up. You're welcome. You should read up on disclosure rules for anlaysts.
4:16 PM

Fleishman: Those relate to the investment issues, not company consultants.
4:18 PM

Fleishman: "For over 20 years Rob has worked for and with companies like": that is not disclosure. That's marketing.
4:20 PM

Enderle: they relate to analysts. Disclosure rules for inquiry/industry analysts have never been defined. Only stock analysts.
4:22 PM 

Enderle: I tried to have rules put in place for other analyst types, Apple killed the effort.
4:23 PM

Enderle: my only requirement is that the rules applied to all of us equally. Not just folks who were critical of Apple.
4:24 PM 

Enderle: suggest you read:
4:26 PM 

Fleishman: Proof, please. The rules you are citing do not apply to you. You do not disclose your current consulting clients in an open fashion
4:38 PM

Enderle: and neither does Gartner, Forrester, or any of the other firms. Most of us have the same clients.
4:41 PM

Fleishman: That's disingenous about the nature of a sole consultancy and a large firm. I also get disclosures about clients from those firms.
8:38 PM 

Enderle: If you ask you'll get them from me too.
9:33 PM 

Enderle: but once again I'm an inquiry analyst, last consultant job I took was years ago.
9:33 PM 

Enderle: could you show me proof that you got one of those disclosures and its nature?
9:36 PM 

Fleishman: I don't care what title you give yourself; companies are paying you for expertise. You can be Grand Poobah, if you like.
9:42 PM 

Fleishman: If you're analyzing with inquirical methods at no charge, even then you've got an interest in the outcome.
9:43 PM 

Fleishman: Rob, when I talk to analysts who cover a field, it's among my first question: have you worked for firm X? I put it in my notes.
9:44 PM 

Fleishman: So Ashlee Vance, Brier Dudley, etc., don't ask you whether the companies about which you comment pay you for services?
9:44 PM 

Fleishman: It's interesting to me that you are disclaiming any necessity of disclosure by citing industry practice.
9:46 PM

Fleishman: Let's summarize. You will talk to reporters about Dell, which pays you, without telling reports unless they ask that Dell pays you
9:48 PM 

Fleishman: It's been fun trying to convince Rob Enderle that he has a moral obligation to disclose conflicts of interest, but I have to go to sleep.
9:48 PM 


It was nearing ten at night and while Fleishman was waiting on a response from Enderle, two other comments appeared on the twitter stream that I just had to include here:

Fleishman to Jason Snell:
Well, now I have him on the Twitter record explaining precisely how he doesn't disclose to reporters unless asked.
9:51 PM 

Rick Page to Fleishman: 
You've got battered analyst syndrome, dude.
11:34 PM 

One of participants rises the next morning a little grumpy and can recall all his words from yesterday's public stream and begins "spewing" as they say in the Australian venacular. 

Back to the tweet exchanges:


Enderle: Not what I said at all. You're just twisting my words, we're done.
7:33 AM 

Fleishman: I think our public exchange makes your "didn't ask, don't tell" disclosure policy quite clear to other reports.
7:46 AM 

Enderle: And that is why we did it. This is an industry practice, most folks know that, you evidently don't. I'm OK with this being public
7:51 AM 

Fleishman: I do not see how I twisted you words when you are defending a lack of upfront disclosure as "industry practice," which it is not.
7:53 AM

Fleishman: There are plenty of other business reporters who follow me. Guys, if an analyst doesn't disclose clients, that's acceptable?
7:53 AM 

Fleishman: I am simply amazed at how you are defending a standard practice that you believe to exist that is both unethical and non-existent.
7:54 AM

7:55 AM 

(Note: it appears that at least one space must have been entered in the tweet above and that line is just not empty as it appears. It might be interpreted as a physical sign/reaction of spewing though it was quickly recovered from.)

Enderle: neither is true.
7:55 AM

Enderle:  I'm perfectly willing to talk on the phone about this. 408 272 8560
8:05 AM 

Fleishman: Rob, I don't think there's anything more to say. You're defending the indefensible; calling it standard practice.
8:25 AM 

Fleishman: Would you please define the "industry practice" you mean: not disclosing clients without being asked? Having an old list on site?
8:29 AM

Enderle: Ah, of course, the truth isn't important just your view. I got that, I really did.
8:44 AM

Fleishman: Truth? You are paid by firms for services & have said many times that you do not disclose that upfront unless asked.
9:12 AM 

Fleishman: Second, your list of clients on the Web site isn't described as a current list, isn't complete.
9:12 AM 

Fleishman: Third, you say that all analysts (large firms and small, apparently) follow the same disclosure rules you do.
9:12 AM


My disclosures: 

I bought a Mac on 17 February 1984 in Salinas, California, dragged it back to China two days later on 19 February 1984 and have continually used Macs since then as my main personal computer. I believe I had the first Mac in China. 

I saved the receipt and have the entry exit stamps; exit from Shanghai, entry to the US, and re-entry via Shanghai stamps (just for fun: scans of the original with a little redaction in sensitive places). That purchase cost me just over a year and a half salary of my lecturer's contract (actual "salary" and not savings - not a lot to spend it on then) so it was very big purchase at the time. It turned out to be even bigger in impact in the 26 years to follow. I also still have that original Mac.

I was about the 100,000th person to have placed an order for an iPad on last Friday night and hope to have it brought here to me in Australia on 15 April when one of my visiting sisters brings it along on their trip. It is not a big purchase for me today.

I have owned Apple shares since the summer of 1995 and have continually added to the position since then. I clearly invest and don't day trade. I am slightly concerned about recent talk of taking "big" and "bold" risks from Apple's CEO but have faith that Apple's cautious COO and CFO can temper any rashness of expenditures or ill considered ideas of what fits in at Apple. ;-) 

The news that there was Apple interest in AdMob (sold to Google for $750 million) caused my blood pressure to elevate slightly for over a day.

Dennis Sellers and kindly runs my writings and views to share on this website without seeking payment from me or presenting me with payment. 

I purchased Glenn Fleishman's excellent Take-Control books, Take Control of Your 802.11n AirPort Network (1.6) to help with setting up a Airport Base Station Wireless Distribution System here at "Chez Tikalara" and highly recommend it for that task alone. I purchased Take Control of Back to My Mac (1.2) just to understand how the security was done. However I waited to purchase them until Take Control had a 50% sale before purchasing. 

Tikalara is an Wurundjeri word meaning "spirit of the place".

I have not read Dvorak and Enderle in over a decade and try to keep my strict policy of avoiding them completely as explained above. They are completely discredited in my books. I did read Enderle's tweets on last Saturday night and was sorry to read about his cat's illness while engrossed to just how he responded to Fleishman's enquiring tweets. He has added to his professional discredit in a public exchange and I simply did not think that possible. 

Life is sometimes full of surprising spews.

(Columnist Gaurang Donovan is an Australian “mystery man” who wishes to keep his identify secret for personal and business reasons—Dennis Sellers)

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