Crowdsourcing business analyst 1 on 1 scheduling with executives

Paris vs Pranksky - Lot 101 by Pranksky (cc) (from Flickr)
Paris vs Pranksky - Lot 101 by Pranksky (cc) (from Flickr)

Just got back from a conference with business analyst meetings and while there I talked with a number of analyst relations people in the audience about what it takes to pull these meeting together.  I was astounded by the effort that goes into setting up 1 on 1s for all the analysts.  In some cases, person weeks of effort goes into this scheduling nightmare.

I have a better answer, just crowdsource the process and let the analysts do all the work by auctioning off your executive meeting slots.  For example, give every analyst showing up a certain amount of analyst bucks (A$) and let them bid their A$’s for whichever executive(s) they want.  The winning bidders get to meet with the executives and the losers can take their money to the next auction.

I see this working as follows:

  • A company creates an auction website accessible to analysts registered for the meeting, with the executive names, bios, and pertinent areas of expertise/influence listed for everyone able to talk with analysts.  One may want to add the number of meeting slots and a minimum acceptable bid (if warranted).
  • The auction should have a duration or time window with which all bids would need to be in and at the end of which a “striking price” could be determined for each executive time slot.
  • While the auction is open, analysts would apportion their A$s to whichever executive(s) they wished to talk to, letting the analysts decide (do the work to determine) which they want to meet with.

Whether this could be done on eBay, some conference call/webex or other facility would need to be investigated.  If eBay were used, the proceeds from the auction could go to charity.

One problem with this approach is sometimes executives have to change their schedules at the last minute.  Thus, there would need to be some list of alternates for executives so that if the primary executive bowed out, an alternate could take their place.

Another potential issue is in how to apportion A$s to analyst firms or analysts.  Personally, I like a per attending analyst apportionment (one man/women, one vote sort of thing).  This way, larger firms with multiple analysts attending would have more A$s to use.  Although as a single person analyst firm I may be disadvantaged with this allotment, there is a possibility that I could syndicate with other  firms to build up our collective A$s, if necessary.

A follow-on question is whether to use the English, Dutch, or sealed-bid auction method (see wikipedia on auctions).  Personally, I think either the English or Dutch auction form would work fine and would provide adequate visibility.  However, the sealed-bid approach could make the process simpler for the company hosting the auction as it wouldn’t require much support other than some address to email the bids for the various executives.

Of course, this all assumes that the purpose of the analyst 1 on 1 meetings is to have executives meet with analysts. But alternatively, another purpose may be to have executives influence particular analysts.  In this case, the auction could be reversed and have the executive team bid on meetings with the analysts.

On the other hand, a combination of the two approaches could be done by supplying both the analysts and executives some A$s and have each submit bids for the other. The total combined A$ value from the executives and the analyst (firms) would decide how their time slots are allocated.  This may not be optimal from either the analyst or the executive perspective, but it would cross-optimize both sides for meeting slots.

Well there you have it, crowdsourcing/auctioning meeting slots, my solution to the problem of scheduling 1 on 1’s for company analyst meetings.

Auctioning off Lot-102, 30 minute meeting with Silverton Consulting/Ray Lucchesi, do I hear any bids?