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?