Startup Hall, MVLunchBox

Is consulting the best way to get started on your product journey?

Yesterday I was judging the #MVLunchbox event at Startup Hall in Univ of Washington. There were 3 companies in the advanced category – Build Pulse, an analytics platform for office buildings, Metric Story, an analytics simplification tool for Websites and GlobAtom, a Import Export Paperwork simplification tool.

There were 5 more companies, in the earlier category, and the winner was Stuff Hopper, which allows you to sell stuff by just taking a picture (similar to what OLX and Quickr do), but they will come by and pick up your stuff as well.

The winner of the advanced category was Metric Story. It allows you ask simple questions and get answers to your Web analytics questions. Currently the web analytics space is largely dominated by Google Analytics, although there are a host (over 50) smaller players such as MixPanel, Kissmetrics, etc.

The interesting part about Metric Story is not that what they are doing is new or innovative. In fact I have seen variations of the same many years ago. I also tried to help build a product in the space a while ago – GitGrow.

The good part of Metric Story is that the founders actually have been consultants in the Web analytics space. This has allowed them to understand and package their expertise into a simple to use product, with very little unique or proprietary technology but more the expertise of working in the space long enough to know what the “just enough” to get paid by the customer requirements are.

Which leads to the question – is the best way to get expertise, knowledge and understanding of a space, by being a consultant and “learn on the customer’s dime” while providing value?

It also helps you make money to bootstrap and at the same time find out the “minimum viable solution” to solve the problem without building a product.

The problem with this approach for most people is that consulting is lucrative enough for many folks, so they don’t ever get to building a product.

Nonetheless, I’d love to hear more about this and if you have been successful going from a consulting gig to being a product startup founder, I’d like to know how you made the transition?

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6 thoughts on “Is consulting the best way to get started on your product journey?”

  1. This is a great idea – leveraging your consulting experience as the platform for building a product. One of my dental practice clients is interested in having me build a payments platform so their patients can pay their invoices online. I’ve already got the tools to build this product out, just need some funding to make it happen. It’s nothing proprietary, just a mix of existing platforms and API’s – but I can see this scaling quickly far beyond the dental practice market.

  2. This is a great idea – leveraging your consulting experience as the platform for building a product. One of my dental practice clients is interested in having me build a payments platform so their patients can pay their invoices online. I’ve already got the tools to build this product out, just need some funding to make it happen. It’s nothing proprietary, just a mix of existing platforms and API’s – but I can see this scaling quickly far beyond the dental practice market.

  3. I kicked-off my start-up journey last year by trying my hands on building a location analytics platform which I later pivoted to a commercial real estate portal as my assumption went haywire. Sensing red flags I soon started looking for consulting role / projects as I was keen to leverage people and skills I had hired.

    Fortunately I bagged a project to develop a cloud based POS. This is giving me a some freedom to play around and learn more about POS, and I am also thinking to develop something in this line for India market soon.

  4. I kicked-off my start-up journey last year by trying my hands on building a location analytics platform which I later pivoted to a commercial real estate portal as my assumption went haywire. Sensing red flags I soon started looking for consulting role / projects as I was keen to leverage people and skills I had hired.

    Fortunately I bagged a project to develop a cloud based POS in May / June. This is keeping me busy now but more importantly its giving me some freedom to play around and learn more about POS, and I am also thinking to develop a product for India market soon.

  5. I have been struggling to create an enterprise for 5 years. Have seen you as audience at many meets. I am into consulting into sales acceleration. It involves sales hiring, training and then creating process of sales, and then review and performance management. But SMEs tied my payments to revenue generation. At some places the company lacked strategy meaning product /market fit mad competitive advantage. This was not sales acceleration problem. So I again started learning and applying strategy application. This I could see take long time to achieve. I am not a software coder. My strength is in sales and creating sales capability among people. I have trained good sales managers. Should I go to training. Can there be a product created in this space?

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