Techdirt Insight Community -Gerson Lehrman for the information age?

Mike Masnick of Techdirt has launched a new service called the "Techdirt Insight Community."  Mike is an active blogger but also has run a corporate intelligence service for awhile mining the web for customized news and insight tailored for your company (think competitive analysis, updates, reviews on your products, etc. – check out Jeff Nolan’s guest post on Venturebeat for more).  As I have always thought, there is a ton of information on the web and interesting models can revolve around not only information arbitrage but also labor arbitrage.  On the information arbitrage side, one company that has always intrigued me is Monitor 110, founded by long-time New York entrepreneur Jeff Stewart and run by Wall Street veteran Roger Ehrenberg.  Their thesis is that there is a ton of information on the web and if properly screened for credibitlity and delivered in real time in a way that investment professionals can use (think bloomberg like screens), then you could help investors generate better returns.  What Techdirt Insight Community reminds me of is Gerson Lehrman for the information age.  For those of you not in New York or familiar with the hedge fund industry, Gehrson Lehrman has come out of nowhere over the last 5 years to build a huge business and becoming a "must-have" for all hedge funds.  As you know, looking at leading indicators can be quite important to help make profitable investment decisions.  What Gerson Lehrman did was assemble a community of experts that hedge fund professionals could call to discuss industry outlooks, etc.  Gerson would get paid by the hedge fund and pay the professional, keeping a nice profit for itself.  It has built quite a network – 600 clients asking 11k questions per month with 150k experts on tap.  It seems like Mike is taking a page out of the Gerson book and applying it to the web, leveraging the experts out there (bloggers) and matching them up with companies that want specific insight on products, etc.  I think it is a brilliant move and another great way that bloggers can monetize their passion.

Published by Ed Sim

founder boldstart ventures, over 20 years experience seeding and leading first rounds in enterprise startups, @boldstartvc, googlization of IT, SaaS 3.0, security, smart data; cherish family time + enjoy lacrosse + hockey

6 comments on “Techdirt Insight Community -Gerson Lehrman for the information age?”

  1. As you indicated Gerson Lehrman and Monitor 110 did an interesting thing for the Corporate Market.

    At BitWine we are now signing up Advisors that will do the same, on various topics, for any of us who needs the information fast and filtered.

    If you want to Invest, Buy a car or buy a Digital Camera and make a smart decision about it, we think it is sometimes simpler to just ask someone with the knowledge, rather than sift for hours through unfiltered data on the Internet and try to re-create that knowledge.

    We believe that many people poses expertise, specifically Bloggers who serve as an information junction, and actually any other professional in his/her respective field. We beleive that those expertise have value to the individuals in much the same way that they have for the corporations.

    The correct knowledge, as we know, can save us money in many cases.

    It is this value that we hope to extract and share with the people who has the knowledge and with Websites that want to direct people to that knowledge.

    the site will be up in few weeks, till then we are welcoming Bloggers and Anyone with expertise to pre-register.

    Here is the link again,

  2. Hi Ed,

    Thanks for the kind words about the new Techdirt Insight Community. Obviously, we agree that there’s tremendous potential here, and so far, the early returns suggests we’re onto something…

    One thing I should point out… while it’s nice to think that I, personally, created and launched this offering as you say in the opening, I need to give credit to the whole team here at Techdirt, who have been working all been working their butts off to get this service up and running in record time.

    Anyway, thanks again for the post and your thoughts on what we’re doing!


  3. Ferodynamics asked

    “Could this community have any valuable secrets, when they already openly share everything they know on their blogs?”

    This is a good the question, the value actually goes both ways.

    For the person looking for the information, the value is in the Privacy (not asking on an open forum, and not tipping anyone what my problems are) and second, the Customization of the answer to the specific problem.

    From the Bloggers’ point of view, the Bloggers get to deal with problems that may inspire new content to write about. Plus, they already got paid for the research to produce that content, if research was needed.

    Thanks, Here is the link again,

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  5. What’s fantastic about all these services is that they make the input information easy and plentiful to get at in order to get down to some serious research. In the old days we had to actually go out and get pieces of paper, have meetings and invest a good deal in just getting the basic starting information.

    Today the material I can get regarding a company and their products in seconds in absolutely amazing. The ability to work at the speed of thought is what this generation of information tools and resources, combined with high bandwidth is about.

    A great friend of mine who is also a brilliant entreneur noted that we were in an era where we could build a new business “standing on the shoulders of giants” which is what Ed’s post regarding Amazon’s EC2 and S3 is all about.

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