Announcing Altimeter Group

I’m very happy and proud to announce my new company, Altimeter Group. The goal of the company is to provide thought leadership on social and emerging technologies, And thanks to the support and well-wishes of many people, I’m off and running. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions I’m getting about Altimeter Group.

What services will you be providing?

My goal is to help leaders and their companies understand how to deal with and thrive with social and emerging technologies. This space is often murky, confusing, and downright frightening for companies. My goal is to provide clarity and understanding.

The unique way that I add value is understanding these new technologies and how people use them — I’m an active user of these new technologies and also actively seek out new ways that technologies impact people..

But I’ve also always kept a foot in the business world, so am able to understand and interpret how companies are and will be impacted by the adoption of these new technologies. In the book Groundswell, Josh Bernoff and I took the confusing world of social technologies and boiled it down so that not only was it understandable, but also approachable and actionable for businesses.

My goal is to continue providing that kind of thought leadership and insight primarily through writing, public speaking, and consulting. I’ll be writing here on my blog, The Altimeter, and if I’m lucky enough to find a publisher again, a book. Speaking at both conferences and private corporate events will bring those ideas to a broader audience. And I’ll also provide direct consulting through Altimeter Group to a small number of clients who need to tap into my thought leadership via a retainer relationship.

What topics will you be covering?

My focus is on how people will adopt and use online, mobile, and device technologies. By understanding how these technologies impact people’s behavior and attitudes, I can then anticipate and examine how companies are in turn impacted. This includes how the way companies market to consumers, or hire and manage their employees, will need to change. More specific examples of the topics I’m covering are also available, and will be updated regularly.

Why the name Altimeter?

An altimeter is an instrument used to tell you your altitude. Like an altimeter, I hope to be useful in giving a “reading”, so to speak, on where emerging technologies are heading. I can do this at a high level, providing a view of the landscape and how it will develop. But more importantly, I can also come down from the stratosphere and provide a detailed view of how individuals and companies are being impacted.

Credit goes to Alexandra Watkins at naming agency Eat My Words for coming up with the name. I couldn’t come up with a name on my own so I called in the experts. My key criteria – nothing with horrible Web 2.0 re-spellings like Flickr or I got lucky that URLs like and thealtimeter were available, although is being used (and waaay out of my price range for purchasing, so forgetaboutit.)

Who is behind Altimeter Group?

It’s just me providing the content, but I also have a virtual team helping me. This team includes my wonderful virtual assistant Denise Aday, speaker agent Mel Blake at Monitor Talent, and business agent Linda Ziffrin at Valley View Ventures who handles my direct consulting business. I won’t rule out adding more people in the future, but for the immediate future, it’s just me.

Why the title “thought leader”?

My goal is to provide thought leadership, with the impact of inspiring leaders at organizations to think about the world in a different way. That’s a very different job than being an industry analyst who typically becomes an expert at a specific topic. There are excellent analysts who can help companies figure out which blogging software to use. But I want to help companies understand and question why they should have a blog in the first place, and to think about the strategic implications of starting one. So being a thought leader is a way to differentiate the work I do today from the work that I did in my former career as an analyst.

So that’s my introduction to Altimeter Group – please let me know if you have any questions and I’m happy to elaborate in greater detail!


  1. Charlene,
    Congratulations and Best of luck. Im sure will be drawing on a lot of the experience you gained running the Electronic Learning Fair (ELF) for the Merc ;)
    Hope to see you out here for SXSW.

  2. Christina Lee says:

    congratulations! I like the name!

  3. Charlene,
    Congrats on the new venture. We will be sure to tap into your new services along the way.

  4. Charlene – Best of luck in your new venture! I can’t think of a better navigator for this business than you. All best, Maura

  5. Excellent post. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Congrats Charlene and best wishes!!!
    Looking forward to seeing your new venture grow and the positive impact it will have on educating and guiding companies/enterprise in the space of new and social technologies.
    Just finishing up Groundswell and totally love it, especially the concepts and case studies.
    BTW, when you resigned from Forrester, I thought to myself that you should start a company called “SociaLi Speaking” or something like that, toying with your name/brand :-)!

  7. Congratulations Charlene. I was at your presentation in Tempe, AZ and really enjoyed having the chance to hear you speak. I just subscribed to this blog and will be reading it very regularly.
    Your strategic thinking and understanding of social technologies is very useful, so thank you for sharing via book and this blog!

  8. Thank you for including me in this announcement Charlene! I am incredibly honored to be your assistant and part of the Altimeter Group team. Everyone is a pleasure to work with.

  9. Charlene Li Launches The Altimeter Group

    Charlene Li, co-author of Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies, recently left her position as an analyst for Forrester Research and launched the Altimeter Group. She discusses her new project on her blog: In the book Groun…

  10. Claire Powell says:

    “Groundswell” the book is great, congratulations, I really like all the case studies and your insight as to what works and does not.
    Not sure you remember me, we worked at Forrester together, I was in European marketing. I wanted to get back in touch for 2 other reasons;
    Currently I do freelance marketing for a cross media organisation in Amsterdam, the event they run is called PICNIC, we would love to have you come and speak at PICNIC next year, this years event was all about “Collaborative Creativity”, Jeff Jarvis, Clay Shirky were on the podium, you would have been a pefect addition to the key note lineup.
    There was something you did not really touch upon in the book, there is a very small reference to it on page 175, “driving traffic to your community”, you make it sound like it is easy. It might be if you have a marketing budget, and thousands of happy offline customers, a global brand and a big marketing team. What if this is not the case? It is not that easy starting a community from scratch with no offline presence. Partners don’t want to work with an unknown entity, sites don’t want to link to you as you are not big enough yet (catch 22), no offline community to draw upon, no money to advertise or sponsor other communities or blogs, Adwords is way too expensive now, CTR on ads in Facebook are sooo low it is not worth the effort, Press releases fall on deef ears “not another community”, refining the target audience focus and site features still is not having impact, current members are inviting others, who do not sign up. What would you suggest? Looking forward to hearing your thoughts.
    Cheers Claire

  11. congratulations! I keep on track about your advices & comments

  12. Charlene – Congradulations on the launch! I recently had a launch of my own in a similar capacity. I’m helping small business build a social web presence from a blog to twitter to weekly videos!
    My new company is called SocialDreamium (
    I wish you the best of luck with Altimeter and hope to interact with you more on the social web!

  13. Charlene, I’ve been on the road so long I missed the news of your fabulous jump to the wonderful world of indies. Welcome to this great life!

  14. Hey Charlene:
    Congratulations on your book and now your new venture. Been thinking of you a lot lately and just had to google you. You were pretty easy to find. I have fond memories of our days working together and lunching at Chez Sovan.
    Best, Patt