Stephen Arnold – the man who pays money for questions

If you read the Acknowledgements in my Enterprise Search book you will be able to gauge the debt I owe to the guru of all search gurus, Stephen Arnold. I’ve known Stephen for so long I can’t remember where we first met but it was probably at one of the very visionary and successful annual Search Engine Meetings that Harry Collier (Infonortics) used to run. For many years we were usually both on the programme at the Enterprise Search Summits in New York and it was at one of these events in probably 2006 or 2007 that we came up with the concept for our book Successful Enterprise Search Management. This was the first book to focus on the management issues of enterprise search and Stephen and I enjoyed the experience of working with each other.  It took only about an hour for us to develop the list of chapters and agree who was going to write the first draft of each chapter. Our writing styles turned out to be quite similiar and although I can see some of the joins in most cases neither of us can quite remember which chapters, or sections of chapters, we wrote or tweaked. We could not find a publisher for the book and it ended up being published on a contract basis in 2008 by Steve Newton at Galatea in a very elegant but of necessity high-priced report format.

At conferences Stephen is a virtuoso performer. Most of his slides are pictures and at the end he offers a one pound coin or a dollar bill for each question he is asked. Stephen’s insights into the technology of search are of great value and his blog, Beyond Search, is an essential read for anyone involved in any way with the search business. If you take a look at his site you will see that he offers a range of monitoring services on trends and developments in search technology and the business of search, and has written a number of excellent books and reports. Stephen’s interviews with over 70 of what he terms the Search Wizards are a fascinating read.

I’m delighted to announce that Stephen will be speaking on the opening day of the Enterprise Search Europe 2013 conference in London in 15-16 May. His presentation will be based on his recent blog post about whether or not big data and enterise search are the same or different. I was interested to see the release from Gartner which suggested that the hype around big data is beginning to subside. The full programme for Enterprise Search Europe will be released early next week. You can follow developments on Twitter.

If you have not heard Stephen in action do make a date in your diary for Enterprise Search Europe 2013. This is probably your only opportunity this year to see Stephen at a conference in Europe.

Martin White