Wikistrat Reviews

Updated August 6, 2014
Updated August 6, 2014
15 Reviews
3.5
15 Reviews
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Joel Zamel
8 Ratings

Employee Reviews

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  1.  

    Excellent opportunity to be a part of an innovative way to conduct intelligence analysis.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Independent Contractor
    Current Employee - Independent Contractor

    I have been working at Wikistrat as a contractor for less than a year

    Pros

    The quest to improve intelligence analysis is never-ending. Researchers are currently examining how relying on a larger pool of analysts can improve intelligence analysis. The Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) even has a program dedicated to this called, “Aggregative Contingent Estimation.”

    And this is where Wikistrat leads the way. Wikistrat relies on a global network of analysts, with a variety of backgrounds, to conduct geopolitical strategic analysis and forecasting.

    I’ve only been with Wikistrat for a few months but I’ve already had the opportunity to participate in some interesting simulations and forecasting opportunities. I’ve also had the opportunity to meet new people and learn new things. The opinions and insights of the Wikistrat network vary as much as the background of the analysts in the network.

    Intelligence analysis is an incredibly difficult and usually thankless job. Successful analysis is often kept quiet with others (often not without merit) receiving credit. But when a disaster occurs one of the first questions the public asks is, “Why didn’t intelligence warn us about this?” A professional acquaintance once described this peculiarity in the following way: “When something goes right they call it an operational success. But when something goes wrong they call it an intelligence failure.”

    Wikistrat, with its global pool of analysts, is doing its part to make intelligence failures a rarer thing.

    Cons

    If you are looking for an immediate, full-time job Wikistrat is not the place for you. You can earn money through Wikistrat and the amount of money you earn is dependent on the level of your participation. So far I am pleased with the amount of money I've earned from Wikistrat.

    However, when you start out with Wikistrat you will not earn enough to make it a full-time job. There isn't anything wrong with this (Wikistrat is a network of analysts and those analysts that participate are consultants--not employees) but if people go into Wikistrat with the wrong impression of what it is they will be sorely disappointed.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Keep working to promote individual analysts and keep reaching out to both the public and private sectors in order to promote Wikistrat and advise these sectors of what Wikistrat can provide them.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  2.  

    Great professional skill-building, terrible compensation

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Wikistrat part-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Wikistrat offers great opportunities for building analytic skills, many opportunities for building leadership skills, and a solid community of other analysts to debate.

    Cons

    The fact that this for-profit company doesn't see fit to regularly compensate its highly-skilled analysts is despicable. But it's a testament to the passion of its analysts and novelty of the Web 2.0 analysis model that they keep working anyway.

    Most analysts are working for free, as only those few who are "called out" every month receive any remuneration at all.

    If you want great experience, it's a worthwhile part-time gig. If you're OK not getting a regular salary, look elsewhere.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Start compensating your analysts fairly! Once the novelty of your model wears off, all your talented analysts will leave.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  3.  

    Great environment to contribute to and work with, but few incentives

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Researcher
    Current Employee - Researcher

    I have been working at Wikistrat part-time for less than a year

    Pros

    This cutting edge, crowdsourced, budding online geopolitical consulting firm is a great place to see where the industry will see its biggest change

    Cons

    The point system distracts from the fact that interns and lower-level analysts are basically unpaid. Networking is also difficult. This gives little incentive to excel.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Better compensation and better networking opportunities for lower-level staff necessary -- even if not in money!

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
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  5.  

    New, Interesting, Different!

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Senior Analyst
    Current Employee - Senior Analyst

    I have been working at Wikistrat as a contractor for less than a year

    Pros

    Wikistrat is a very different kind of analytic experience. The Wikistrat "platform" engages a wide array of experts to analyze geopolitical issues uses a proprietary "wiki"-like platform. In a sense, the experience is like simultaneously building and editing an analytic product in real time with a large number of people weighing-in and editing the product as it is being produced. It may sound chaotic, but the process really works and management is adept at keeping analyses focused and productive.

    Management is also good at recognizing analysts who produce quality work and are good at collaborating with others. Opportunities grow with experience on the platform and Wikistrat is sufficiently entrepreneurial to encourage its producers to assist with the business development/sales process and bring additional expertise onto the platform.

    Communication and networking with experts around the world is very easy. Individual opportunities to make contact and network with other experts in the Wikistrat universe is unimpeded (and encouraged) by management.

    For those interested in strategic analysis and forecasting, Wikistrat is new, innovative, and a platform for generating broad and insightful analysis quickly and efficiently. Yes, there are opportunities to make money, although the distributed nature of "crowdsourced" analysis limits compensation to any individual analysts - so your mileage may vary. On the other hand, I would recommend that anyone joining Wikistrat consider that a large part of the "compensation" is in the fun, education, and intellectual challenge that comes with collaborating with other experts on an array of truly interesting topics.

    Cons

    As mentioned above, the opportunities to make money at Wikistrat are limited by the nature of the platform and the time it takes to prove yourself, so it is important to be realistic.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    I think Wikistrat is truly innovative and forward looking. As the company grows, maintaining and improving quality control will become increasingly important, particularly on large scale projects.

    Many of the analytic questions that come to Wikistrat are in the nature of defense/national security/international affairs policy and as such, Wikistrat tends to be heavy with expertise in those areas. However, Wikistrat offers great promise for helping private sector companies simulate market conditions, forecast future trends, and improve management efficiency. Over time, Wikistrat needs to recruit more people with industry and finance experience to capitalize on these opportunities.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  6.  

    Wikistrat Gives Slavery a Bad Name.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Analyst  in  New York, NY
    Former Employee - Analyst in New York, NY

    I worked at Wikistrat part-time for less than a year

    Pros

    There's ample opportunity to network with others in the field to help you find another full-time job, whether in international relations, international business, intelligence, political risk, etc.

    Wikistrat's online platform, the "GloMod", is truly revolutionary in that it allows participants worldwide to participate in the company's simulations and scenarios in real-time. This is especially important given that, again, most of the company's Analysts are global and are in different time zones. Consequently, the opportunity for immediate feedback is tremendous.

    Cons

    Wikistrat's business model is to corral analysts worldwide online, work them for little or no pay, then publish the analysts' work in a final report (whereby the Senior or even Lead Analyst apparently takes all the credit) which is then distributed to clients at a profit.

    Even when the company does occasionally pay you through PayPal, they expect you to pickup up the cost of the transaction fee. This may be only a matter of a few dollars and cents, but it's the principle of the matter and it leaves a thoroughly disgusting impression.

    As mentioned in previous postings, Wikistrat's point system is supposed to somehow make you forget you're not actually being compensated monetarily for your time. Even worse, Analysts who are recognized as "Analyst of the Week" are exploited as free company salespeople/spokespeople online, as Wikistrat does not formally even have a marketing department (at least according to their website). The same is true of Analysts who give interviews in other fora/media totally unrelated to Wikistrat.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Stop being so blatantly, shamelessly, and ruthlessly exploitative and cheap.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  7.  

    Excellent opportunities to work and network with analysts across the globe

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Wikistrat part-time

    Pros

    The Wikistrat platform and its managers are unusually adept at harnessing the skills and knowledge of analysts to assess geopolitical risks and opportunities. Management is very good about recognizing analysts who produce quality work and collaborate well with others, and networking with experts across the globe is made easy by the organization's online system. There are even opportunities to make money. For those interested in strategic analysis and forecasting, Wikistrat is a very interesting organization.

    Cons

    Wikistrat is more of an analytic network than a company that directly employs people, so compensation can be largely non-monetary even though analysts who work hard can and do earn.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Simulations produce forecasts of considerable originality, depth, and breadth. But it can also be useful to engage in longer-term (simulation and/or non-simulation) studies that break ground in specific areas.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  8.  

    Great opportunities and grand vision alongside challenging growing pains

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Wikistrat part-time for more than a year

    Pros

    The Wikistrat Web 2.0 open-source platform is a truly cutting-edge concept and offers analysis product provided by an educated, diverse, and (generally) select community. Being a part of it offers great experience through training and occasional networking opportunities, especially for those starting out in intelligence analysis or more senior professionals looking to build a consulting business. Simulations are fantastic opportunities in both analysis techniques (it's a structured process), client services (you interact directly with the client throughout the sims) and thought leadership (the model is a novel concept).

    Cons

    Sometimes analysts are hired who lack serious analytical skills or experience and they muddle through and devalue projects. But they at least generally stand out and are eventually weeded out, as in any company. It's not hard to be recognized for contributions within the company but it's very difficult to gain recognition in the company's public face (senior analysts generally get the credit).

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Occasional dinners and personal emails are great, but increase the levels of transparency and communication with staff and the analytic community. Give company status updates. Get senior advisors more heavily involved in the analytic community. Give greater recognition to all analysts building published reports. If you don't, your best talent is liable to walk and/or be hired away. Dr. Barnett is a great conceptualist but needs to gain some humility and allow outside counsel to offer fresh ideas.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  9.  

    Wikistrat is a joke

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Analyst
    Former Employee - Analyst

    I worked at Wikistrat part-time for less than a year

    Pros

    Not many, other then you meet some good people at the lower levels (before they quit).

    Cons

    Majority of analysts are a joke. Leadership runs it to give themselves fancy titles such as 'Senior Analyst'. These people don't have a clue about analysis. All of their simulations are based off of personal opinion without needing any supporting evidence (actual description given to me by a supervisor). I doubt many of these people went to any real Universities. Supervisors are extremely bias, and take personal feelings into consideration more than facts. No pay, and others take credit for your work. Point system barely works. Expect you to work as if it's your full time job, when there is not pay or even compensation half the time.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Fire yourselves would be the best option. Pay people for the work they do. Fix your point system. Get off your egotistical mentality that you're perfect, and stop being so biased in all of your simulations. Actually listen to people that are more experienced than you.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  10.  

    The New Slavery

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Analyst  in  New York, NY
    Former Employee - Analyst in New York, NY

    I worked at Wikistrat as a contractor for more than a year

    Pros

    Lots of slaves, no pay. This place is Wikipedia for people too stupid or useless to get a real job in the field. I also saw them sign up loads of high profile names strictly to leverage the publicity and piggyback of their reputations, yet these people didn't get a stitch of paid work. Avoid like the plague.

    Cons

    Modern day slavery. Period. No pay. No meaningful work. Everyone is expected to just screw around online and somehow pay the bills like that? Get real. Total scam/con.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    You're exploitative.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  11.  

    Too many analysts, not enough individual opportunities

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Analyst
    Former Employee - Analyst

    I worked at Wikistrat part-time for less than a year

    Pros

    Although most analysts affiliated with Wikistrat are unpaid, the work experience looks good on a resume for those seeking to eventually land a job in intelligence analysis.

    Cons

    Wikistrat's focus is on "crowd-sourcing," i.e. bringing in hundreds of analysts to work on the same tasks together. This becomes overwhelming rather quickly, as it is difficult to distinguish your work from the 100+ other analysts against whom you are competing to contribute new ideas. Analysts are also ranked on a points scale in order to increase competitiveness and make it easy to forget that you do not receive compensation for your work.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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