Gartner CEO: Think Big, Bet Small

By Stan Gibson  |  Posted 2002-10-09 Print this article Print

Interview: Gartner CEO Michael Fleisher says to weather tough times, companies need to place small and thoughtful bets.

Michael Fleisher is Chairman and CEO of Gartner, Inc., the worldwide technology research company that boasts a 10,000-company clientele. Gartner is advising its clients to focus on their strengths during the current difficult economic environment and to invest prudently where opportunities are present. Like its clients, Gartner has been under pressure and its business is off compared with past years. For example, attendance at this weeks annual Symposium and IT Expo in Orlando, Fla., is 6,000—up from 5,000 last year but down from 7,500 two years ago. Fleisher joined Gartner in 1993 after working as an associate at Bain Capital. He later ran Gartner events, served as CFO and became CEO in 1999.
Fleisher discussed Gartners recommendations and its business practices with eWEEK Executive Editor Stan Gibson at the Symposium.
EWEEK: The tone I get from the conference is not particularly upbeat. Your speech emphasized the value of perseverance in tough times. Is the key message, keep our chin up? Fleisher: We have to understand the environment were in and operate our companies in the best way we can and not use the excuse of a bad economy or wait for the good times to return in order to move our businesses forward. Companies that dont follow our simple model for what they need to do are going to be in trouble. Companies must focus on the things that are most strategic and compelling for their highest-value customers. They have to continue to aggressively cut costs and they need to make investments for the future. Companies need to place small and very thoughtful bets—not huge bets like they were placing three years ago. EWEEK: Are some companies cutting out luxuries, such as their relationship with Gartner?

Stan Gibson is Executive Editor of eWEEK. In addition to taking part in Ziff Davis eSeminars and taking charge of special editorial projects, his columns and editorials appear regularly in both the print and online editions of eWEEK. He is chairman of eWEEK's Editorial Board, which received the 1999 Jesse H. Neal Award of the American Business Press. In ten years at eWEEK, Gibson has served eWEEK (formerly PC Week) as Executive Editor/eBiz Strategies, Deputy News Editor, Networking Editor, Assignment Editor and Department Editor. His Webcast program, 'Take Down,' appeared on He has appeared on many radio and television programs including TechTV, CNBC, PBS, WBZ-Boston, WEVD New York and New England Cable News. Gibson has appeared as keynoter at many conferences, including CAMP Expo, Society for Information Management, and the Technology Managers Forum. A 19-year veteran covering information technology, he was previously News Editor at Communications Week and was Software Editor and Systems Editor at Computerworld.

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