I was a part of a student group called Leed Consulting Group which is a part of the University of Colorado Boulder’s Leed Business School.
And the objective of the group is to build the consulting skills of students by treating business cases and working for organizations outside of campus who might need our services.
During the organization meetup, I was able to talk with the President what I think could be of interest, and my proposition leads to the discussion below which the president asked that I put in writing.
DISCLAIMER: This is a continuation of my conversation and it is the full content that I sent, without censorship or removal of any part of the conversation except that the client name was changed for privacy reasons. I told the president that I would share this on my blog.
Just as we have discussed yesterday, I was thinking about Leeds Consulting Group (LCG) after we had the meeting on Friday with XY Foundation.
While at the meeting, Julie asks a question that how do we form the team to work on their engagement and she was also stunned about how we have been open to their request because according to her, the traditional consulting firm is always like “this is what we have done and you have to go for this.”
While I do not think much about her questions, I started thinking more about what it could mean for LCG and how this could be made to be more than it is right now.
I’m a bit of a fan of system thinking & history and I have been reading some books these days that enable me to understand the past better and how we got here but that is not much important.
What is important the most is; the world is changing and moving away from what we used to know and because more people are given chances these days, the barrier to entry becomes more nonexistence.
What do I mean by this, Joseph Schumpeter is a kind of nonconformist economist and he coined a word named “creative destruction” which is the doom of capitalism as we know it, and he said; at the highest point of capitalism, more small businesses would rise and take up some chunk of the market of those who have more power and resources which in a short simple word, is already happening.
How do I mean?
Apple took a very big market of the PC market in the 90s, Google took a very big market of Microsoft, Amazon through its AWS took a very big market of Microsoft and before they know what is happening, Azure is still farther away from reaching AWS peak.
There are more consulting companies these days that are eating the market of Deloitte and the rest big guys.
How does this happen?
A guy named Bret Victor wrote some articles in the past, but before I tell you what he wrote, I should show you his long-term goal in his bio.
In his article titled “magic Ink,” he wrote about software and how they were designed by people that don’t talk to people – engineer, and he said something about how we are going through a software disaster as he said, “people spend more time learning about software than they spend on using it to do the main work that they wanted to do.”
Somehow, that looks stupid, but come to think of it he makes sense in some ways.
I remember I was in a class on designing for the web in the last semester and my instructor said he knew the guy that created Adobe Photoshop (not sure if he is saying the truth or not), and according to him, the guy said: “even he does not know all the functions of what he has created.”
Adobe Suites is so hard that most times, I have to look up some stuff before I get to do my work using it, while I do not see that as a disaster, Bret Victor said it was one and that was when everything seems to make a bit of sense to me.
Something happens a few years ago, I know you knew about it but you may not pay attention to it – just like me.
Have you ever think of the reason why Sketch was preferred by UI/UX experts than Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator?
The reason is that no one knows how adobe suites works and Sketch provided clarity and ease of use by focusing on the essentials, so every one of them ditched Adobe for one software that is not known.
Just like Microsoft (MS), Adobe and the rest big boys have one problem and the problem is called “bundled solution” and what this means is, they have a solution for everyone and no one.
The capitalist system is a bit of a nonchalant arrogant market where MS thinks everyone who needs an MS Word would also need an Excel so they bundled it together.
Adobe thinks everyone who needs a photoshop should also need an Illustrator, so you have to buy the creative suite altogether, and the big consulting boys are quite expensive in that they sold the same consultation model to both Walmart and Amazon.
What this means is, there is a software disaster as identified by Bret, because those who make the software are only interested in bundling everything together because they do not have to worry about those who would use it, their company would force them to use it anyway!
At the beginning of MS, there is this kind of thing that happened where companies would get PC in bulk, set it up for all their staff and most of these staff usually end up using just one or two software on the system.
It was more of an autocratic system, you either know how to use computer or remain jobless, this drove Americans to adapt to their software, instead of their software adapting to them.
Software becomes a part of the workplace, regardless you ready for it or not, and it was also market to the company owners as a swiss knife.
How do Google and Apple breakthrough?
They both have one thing in common, they come at a point where anti-trust was just slammed on MS and this gives them the chance to focus on a market which the big MS is not focusing on and what this shows us is; having bigger resources or power does not amount to you being in the business for eternity.
But wait, how does Sketch eat Adobe market?
Simple, they remove all the bottleneck in Adobe product and focus on just some segment of the market and make sure they produce something so easy to just get the work done, even for less price!
So, people stopped worrying about getting loads of software training tutorial before they can operate the product. In short, it was a win for usability.
Remember I told you about Nobl yesterday? They are a small consulting firm that has an interesting ownership concept, the only most familiar of their model that I have seen in the past is managing without manager model, it was crazy, I know, but it works.
I met with a serial investor two weeks ago who was interested in making sure that he fund businesses that are sustainable and environmentally conscious, you know why?
There have been some panic messages being spread across the world that we only have less than 10 years to stop our consumerism behavior as the Arctic is already melting and this is as a result of fossil burning and the constant CO2 burning from our cars and factories.
So he told me how passionate he is and how we need to change now, and how he is been working so hard to make sure that they give capitalism a run for its money, which we are already seeing.
Remember Julie’s comment? Bret Victor article? Why Sketch eats Adobe market so much?
And that reminds me, I said something about creative destruction and how what we are seeing these days is called creative destruction.
That was the 1950s-60s thesis and it is right in our face.
Capitalist and business owners have a very big problem these days, do you know why? Because they are having a shortage of talents that can move their business forward and somehow, they are hiding under one roof – diversity.
All of a sudden, people were talking about design thinking and how it can save the world, but what they are not talking about is that design thinking strength lies in creating with those that will use the technology or I say those that will use the solution, unlike the capitalist system that created a solution for you, and you have to fit into their biases.
So what does this have to do with LCG?
Good question I must say, we have the numbers, we have the talents and we also have the diversity and as such, if you can remember the question that Julie asked during our meeting, we are not like the traditional consulting group, and we can work with them without overcharging them.
This is a leverage for us, it is a competitive edge for us and as such, like Sketch, we can cater to the market that the big boys neglected and make a killing out of it (I hate to mention Blue Ocean Strategy).
I know this sounds cliche, but trust me, if XY Foundation can trust us on their business, we can take on any clients, study them extensively and make a market for them.
Because we are not like the rest, we can be different and this could be an edge for us unless you are not thinking the way I am.
I hope this my long reflection would make a bit of sense, let me know if you need more resources or help, I will be glad to help.
Lastly, I think we can reach out to Nobl and create an organization based on their model, or what do you think?