July 12, 2012

Bulk view

Helping startups

My research supervisor asked me to meet with one of his joint ventures, possibly for some consulting later on. I told him I’m not planning to take on new consulting clients for a while, but that I was happy to see what I could add to the conversation as a small way of saying thank for you all the help that my research supervisor had given me. It was a great conversation. After hearing about what they wanted to do, I suggest some resources they should check out, and we sketched out a strategy that would help them gradually build and test their service without having to build a large user base or a complex tool right away.

I like helping startups out this way, and I’ve chatted with quite a few. I enjoy reading about technology and business, and that makes it easy to share other companies working on similar problems in different industries or niches. I like taking a good idea and helping people flesh it out.

I’m not particularly interested in charging for these consultations — when you’re a startup, you’ll find no end of people who are willing to give free or paid advice – or in follow-up consulting or development engagements. The pay-off for me is being able to test good ideas without having to do all the hard work. If I can help people find a good strategy, then they’ll do the work of validating and improving on it, and I get better at thinking my way through these challenges and integrating ideas from all sorts of places. I also enjoy getting to know interesting people, and I’m getting better at keeping track of people and connecting them with each other.

There’s probably something useful in there. As I learn more about business and technology, I might be able to create even more value. Let’s see where that takes us!