We live in an information society, where a lot of information is just a click away. Everything Google, LinkedIn or XING do not readily find for you is typically a phone call away. But what if you don’t have the relevant contact network of experts for your primary research? Then you make use of expert networking platforms. This is a 20 years young industry brokering between information seekers (clients) and subject matter experts (advisors). In this post, I am introducing the top 4 platforms along with my experience using them.
The number one – Gerson Lehrman Group (“GLG”)
GLG are the leading and most established information company. Founded in 1998, they have more than 400,000 advisors for one-on-one learning and more than 1,400 client companies. GLG is headquartered in New York with 22 offices globally and 1,000 employees. At GLG, advisors are called “council members”. As a council member, I had so far a couple of consultations with big game consultancies about chemical industry topics (e.g. feedstocks, pricing, supply chain). Compensation is usually 300$ per hour of phone consulting (with billing per minute) and their website is very convenient and easy to use.
The runner up – Guidepoint
Guidepoint launched in 2003 and currently have offices in New York (HQ), London, Düsseldorf, Singapore, Shanghai and Hong Kong. In 2009, Guidepoint acquired Vista Research from Standard & Poor’s. In the same year, Innosquared GmbH was founded in Düsseldorf, Germany, with a focus on the European primary research market. This February, Guidepount also acquired Innosquared GmbH. There are about 500 current clients and 50,000 experts available in Guidepoint’s global network. I signed up as an advisor with both Innosquared and Guidepoint, but had not have any enquiries so far. Currently conducting a niche market study, I have sent a web enquiry which was answered within minutes by a very helpful Senior Vice President from the Düsseldorf office. Guidepoint typically sell subscriptions of 10-20 hours consulting to their clients, which requires a budget of about 10,000 – 20,000 €. That is about 1,000 € per hour in total and probably some 200-400 € paid to the subject matter expert. For my purposes as a start-up consultancy, this was cost prohibitive. But the good service of my Guidepoint contact did not stop there. He even recommended my to have a look at another company, 10EQS.
The crowd-(information)-sourcing platform – 10 EQS
10EQS (pronounced “Ten X”) was founded in 2011 by Eberhard von Löhneysen. Offices are located in New York, Lugano (Switzerland) and Singapore. While 10EQS also has a client (“get a job done”) and advisor (“start to work”) side, the work model is different and not one-on-one. Advisors can choose between three roles, “experts”, “collaboration managers” and “business analysts”. I have just signed up today and I am curious to also explore this platform from both the client and advisor side.
The web search engine – Zintro
“ A Google search returns web-sites and content. A LinkedIn search returns peoples’ profiles. A Zintro search returns private responses from subject matter experts ready to help address your business or technical needs.”
Zintro‘s webpage looks like a web search engine. The Waltham, MA/USA based company says it has more than 100,000 experts registered and about 20,000 clients. I have signed on both as expert and client. As expert, I get about 2-3 enquiry emails per day, but no matter how I tweak my profile, I have not yet received a truly relevant and interesting enquiry. As a client, I have created an enquiry and quickly had one relevant and knowledgeable expert replying (and no other reply till today). I also got an email from Zintro’s “Expertise Agent”” to help me with my enquiry. I will talk with them in the next few days. While I like the convenience of the search engine approach, I think that quality-in means quality-out. I am not yet convinced of the Zintro approach…
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