Protocol: Technology is no longer just an industry; it’s a global power center with the sweep and impact of any nation’s capital.
Protocol, founded by Politico’s Robert Allbritton and launched in early 2020, is a media site that focuses solely on the tech industry. In August 2021, it was announced that German publisher Axel Springer is acquiring Politico, including Protocol. Robert Allbritton will continue as publisher of Politico and Protocol. Protocol is self-described as “a leading digital media company focused on the people, power and politics of tech.” Its mission statement states, “Technology is no longer just an industry; it’s a global power center with the sweep and impact of any nation’s capital. At Protocol, we cover it like one. We focus on the people, power and politics of tech, with no agenda and just one goal: to arm decision-makers in tech, business and public policy with the unbiased, fact-based news and analysis they need to navigate a world in rapid change.” Coverage includes “big tech” in U.S. and China, including enterprise technology, fintech and the tech workplace.
Protocol has developed a unique tool that assesses the power of tech companies, not using just traditional measures such as revenue, but by “digging deep into all of the factors that make a company powerful (or not).” Tim Grieve explains that power is more than money, it’s “being able to hire and retain the best workers; it’s creating the best product through engineering expertise and R&D; it’s having sway in Washington; it’s about exemplary leadership, clear ambitions around diversity, equity and inclusion, a commitment to sustainability and an emphasis on privacy and security.”
The tool, called the Protocol Power Index, analysis 30 metrics across five categories that include Economics, Leadership, Innovation, People and Politics & Policy, which are then “synthesized into a single Power Score.” You can read about the entire methodology here.
The three tech segment rankings that are currently available are: Observability, Databases, and RPA (Robotic Process Automation). Subscribing is free and when you do you have access to the top ten ranking of each segment, including Power Sheets, which are available for the top five. The Power Sheets provide not only more detail on scoring, but a succinct analysis with sections focusing on power and disruption, in addition to “Tea Leaves” for added insight and ending with a key quote from the company. The insight these sheets provide, especially as an open access resource, are valuable. Also impressive is that you are able to view the dates the upcoming rankings will be released.
For example, for the Enterprise space, in the areas of SaaS and Infrastructure, you can look forward to rankings covering No Code/Low Code, Integration, Endpoint Security, Workflows, Storage, Database (SQL and NoSQL), CDNs, and Streaming. For the Fintech space, in the areas of Investing, B2B, and Finance, expect Consumer Trading Platforms, Crypto Exchanges, Roboadvisors, Payment Infrastructure, SMB Ranking, Fraud Prevention, Neobanks, Consumer Credit, Book Now Pay later, and Real Estate.
One last note, the Index focuses “on the workhorses of tech, not just the big household names.” Protocol has intentionally left out Google, Microsoft and Amazon, due to their “sheer size” that would “dwarf everyone else” and the difficulty of separating out “relevant, segment-specific data from the overall company data.”
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