Someone turned me on to this article on fearing the auditor which made me think of other information sources we might fear.  The author of that article claim there are three types of auditors: the good, the bad, and the ugly (ok, so I paraphrased.)

Variance in individual quality should be no surprise since we see this in just about every industry.  There are a range of skills in just about every profession including penetration testing, auditing, and yes analysts.  So let me propose that there are three types of analysts:

  1. Polar Bears: These are people who believe that polarizing the conversation is the best way to improve the industry.  They are masters of the catch phrase and speak only in sounds bites.  They survey a few people and make bold statements that reflect only one segment of the industry.  What they lack in substance and facts they make up for in cliches.
  2. Gold Mine Speculators: These are people who do not know what the actual answer is but they speculate, typically in 5-10 year projection statements.  They may be correct 25% of the time but that’s good enough.  If they are correct people call them visionaries; if they are not they pick a new industry and re-speculate.
  3. Educators: They understand that there is no one simple answer but that solutions are custom made and long term collaborations.  They are not in the news as much since they are not making polar speculative claims, but they help bring a holistic analysis of the options and present the pros/cons with every statement.

I like analysts but believe that in every profession one should “seek first to understand and then to be understood”.