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From a conversation with one of guys who worked for me at the firm and now runs a country for the firm when he was doing VC work with me at the firm and kept talking about being VC or startup guy. "You don't get it starting a company is all about doing the improbable or the impossible, there is always competition, there is always risk. You get up every morning saying, I am goign to do X even though Google has 1000 people who could try X. In the consulting world we spend out time helping to to say no to crazy ideas and do things that are adjacent markets and "managing risk", it is a huge change to get up an ignore the facts, ignore the impossible, and Get Sh*t Done. Name me three consulting partners in the firm who think like that...there are not many (although they are ussually super successful if they ever make it to partner) and the rest of the firm thinks they are crazy. You have been trained for 10 years on analysis, what makes you think you can throw that away or even that you should..if it is because someone made a fortune at eBay who used to work with us, that is the wrong reason" He stayed, probably makes a millon a year, has a dramatic impact on huge companies we all know, but as an entrepreneur...??? not sure it would have worked.... It is not that one if different or better than the other, it is about what people really want to do with themselves.
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Auren I am tempted to write a long consulting analysis on this but I will resist. As a former partner in a top strategy firm where I guess I was pretty successful since I was one of the youngest partners ever and was selected by the industry as one of the 25 best consultants in the world the year beore I left, I get questions from successful junior consultant and partners about once a month about "trying a start up job". Here are my quick bullets on the issue: 2-4 years as a strategy consultant is useful for organized thinking but you better stay connected with the entreprenuer world in the mean time. Consulting has no risk financially or personally, you don't really put yourself out there. You move on to the next engagement, you are not a public person. Consulting is about helping companies decide what to do, what is the right answer. Building a company is about getting sh*t done and refining it to make it right over time You don't try a start up, you commit to ten years of doing startups because no one start up ever works. If you want to "try a start up" stay away from it. Former consultants who have reached a senior level, partner, may never make a risk adjusted return versus thier consulting compensation; it is a calling, a mission, a lifestyle, not an economic decision. As a consultant you get to help drive decisions that change industries overnight, change what 20,000 sales people do, etc. As a startup, you may change things that big but it will take ten years to do it. I could go one for pages on this..
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Feb 22, 2011