Missing Downton Abbey? Here’s an Update

by Katie Paine — Missing Downton Abbey? No worries; here’s my own version, adapted to the alternate universe of measurement. (Warning: The following tangled tale of tortuous inbreeding is likely to be appreciated by measurement industry geeks only.)

First there’s the big house in the country, Shankhassick Farm. Ancestral home of an aristocratic family of writers, and host to an endless procession of brilliant yet idiosyncratic guests. Birthplace of 52 books written by Paines, plus all three of my companies, several cats, and numerous chickens. Where frequent glamourous house parties have spawned the Measurement Summits, about a dozen annual Benchmarking Conferences, and The Conclave (the industry body that established social media measurement standards).

Shankhassick Farm, Durham, NH

And while we aren’t yet raising pigs, I do occasionally get down and dirty with the “Shankhassick Chicks.”

chickens at Shankhassick Farm

But it’s the recent measurement melodrama and its cast of Abbey-esque characters that will really keep you enthralled. One of the frequent guests at Shankhassick Farm is UK measurement royalty Richard Bagnall, of Metrica and then Gorkana fame. Richard has recently been named the new head of Prime Research in the UK. I made Richard’s acquaintance when my first company, The Delahaye Group, was looking for UK measurement partners. We’ve had a long standing partnership ever since. (Think Abbey’s Mary and Evelyn Napier.)

As it happens, Richard’s U.S. counterpart is Mark Weiner, head of Prime’s U.S. operations. Mark was once part of Medialink, which bought The Delahaye Group in 1999. (Mark is very much a Carson character, the stable and steady one in the crowd.) Medialink then sold Delahaye to what was then Bacon’s and is now called Cision. (Kind of like Mary’s deal with Richard Carlyle.)

My second company, KDPaine & Partners, was purchased by News Group, which then arranged a three-way wedding between KDPaine & Partners, Report International, and News Group’s measurement division, Salience.  Starts to sound alot like Season Four, doesn’t it?

The result was Salience Insight. Salience Insight is headed by Giselle Bodie, (who’s a bit like Aunt Rosamund; she knows or has worked with most everyone in London). At one point she ran Cision in the UK. She also used to be COO of Echo, which is a spinoff of CARMA. Recently CARMA and Salience Insight announced their own nuptials. I’m not sure the Dowager Countess would approve of a three-way wedding in Washington DC, London, and Dubai, home of News Group. The bride, it is rumored, will keep her own name.

But wait, the plot thickens… As it happens CARMA and Salience will be run in the U.S. by Angie Jeffrey, who used to be my competitor at Surveillance Data and later at VMS. Pior to joining Salience, she was working with CARMA, and then took over my role at Salience Insight in the U.S. last fall. (Angie bears a lot of similarity to Abbey’s Lady Edith; whatever you do, never underestimate her.)

What will happen in the next season? Here’s my speculation…

In the BBC Downton Abbey, Tom and Mary will succeed with the pigs, and then leverage that success into a sustainable farm that survives into the 21st century.

In the measurement industry version, I will learn from Tom and Mary and do the same with chickens at Shankhassick. Meanwhile, out in the measurement world:

  • Klout and its ilk will have pulled a Pamuk and died in place.
  • Cision and Vocus will have tied the measurement knot and then taken over the mansion on AVE Avenue. As at Downton Abbey, integration and consolidation is the only way to survive.
  • The child of their merger, Vosion, will have a very short devotion to the business, and will marry Berkshire Hathaway. Which will then merge it into Business Wire and thus control both distribution and measurement.
  • I have a vision of Rupert Murdoch (a.k.a. Sir Richard Carlisle) and Warren Buffet in a death match poker game which of course Buffet will win. But because he is the consummate gentlemen, he will turn his chits over to me for safekeeping.
  • In the meantime, Oracle (Charles Blake), IBM (Lord Gillingham), and WPP (Napier) will continue to compete for Mary’s hand. A by-product of their competition will be that, finally, all really important metrics will be integrated. With their pocket change, they’ll pick up Adobe, Visible, MoreoverAll, Vocus, and anyone left on the playing field.

Finally, Lady Mary and Charles Blake sail off into the sunset on his America’s Cup yacht. End of season.  But feel free to add your own plot twists.


About Author

Katie Paine

I've been called The Queen Of Measurement, but I prefer Seshat, the Goddess.