BRAIN FOOD: Speaking out - Dan Wagner Chief executive, Bright Station

BRAIN FOOD: Speaking out - Dan Wagner Chief executive, Bright Station - 'Eat Lunch or be Lunch' - a challenging title if ever I heard one. The audience were all members of the Inspired Leaders' Network, who subscribe to hear from someone who's 'done it' a

by KHALID AZIZ
Last Updated: 02 Oct 2013

'Eat Lunch or be Lunch' - a challenging title if ever I heard one. The audience were all members of the Inspired Leaders' Network, who subscribe to hear from someone who's 'done it' about how they can do it. In the case of Dan Wagner, the man behind the now-defunct market information provider Maid, it was clearly all about success. But it was also about how to change your organisation to cope with fast-moving markets and bankers stuck in the dark ages. Maid and its successor, The Dialog Corporation, have seen bad times as well as good; now the newest incarnation, Bright Station, is hoping for a brighter future.

Not that Wagner has done too badly; he's made the proverbial shedloads along the way. I liked his informal approach and it was a good story, particularly the bit about his latest deal. He sold Dialog's information distribution business - a major chunk of his company - to Thomson. The cleverness was leaving intact the technologies that made the thing work.

Wagner made it sound as if Thomson had paid through the nose for not very much, but he rapidly corrected himself. 'They weren't sold a pup. It was a good deal for both sides.' Lucky no Thomson people were in the audience.

However, he would have avoided that if he'd thought a little more about the presentation. Preparation is key, as is rehearsal and he would have realised that he would under-run his half-hour slot by seven minutes.

Key moment: The revelation that Fujitsu is licensing Bright Station software, which automatically analyses the content of documents, indexes it and posts it to the company intranet. That's real knowledge management.

Key lesson: Prepare. A presentation is like a marriage: if it is put together in haste, you will repent at leisure.

Silver tongue or foot in mouth? e-mail: khalida@azizcorp.com.

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