A little over three years ago, I entered the world of management consulting. Yesterday was my last day. In true consultant fashion, I sent the office a slide-as-farewell-email and enjoyed a few glasses of wine and a few bottles of beer with my “war-buddy” colleagues and other well-wishers at a local bar in the early evening. It was a great way to go.
What’s next? I now move from the world of advising large companies on big business issues to advising and, now also, investing in small, early-stage startups as someone in the venture capital space. This move won’t surprise many of my friends who have, for years, known me as someone with a lot of interest in startups and new technologies and who has dabbled on and off with my own little projects like Xhibitr. For me, a stint in VC was a great opportunity to get a chance to do many things, including:
- Learn more about what makes new business ideas/technologies succeed: Working at a VC gives you a unique chance to truly take in numerous business plans and ideas at all stages in the startup lifecycle and see what helps drive success and failure.
- Build an interesting network of thinkers and do-ers: While Dilbert is probably an over-exaggeration of corporate life, there is something to be said about large companies being less able to respond to disruptive innovations and business models. By immersing myself in a world of startups, I’m hoping to get to meet and converse with some of the thinkers behind the big ideas which will change the world.
- See a different side of the business world: Consulting is a great introduction to understanding how businesses think and work, but it operates mainly at the big business level, where gameboarding and strategy matter a great deal more than boldness and execution. I didn’t feel comfortable making a commitment to a particular industry or specialty (or to a MBA/masters/PhD/other degree) without seeing this other side as well.
I’m very excited and am looking forward to the next chapter of my professional life!