Like any group of people, 80% of consultants are crappy-to-average at their work, 19% are decent, and 1% are the cream of the crop.
A bad taste in my mouth.
In the past, I hated the idea of consultants. A decade ago, I was obsessed with nothing else but writing the best code. Personally, I was ignorant to executive business practices. I thought consultants were useless parasites.
I grew up and learned how much I didn’t know
You only have to be smart enough to know what you don’t know. So 20 projects and a decade later – just like anyone else – I’ve seen so much more than I can tell. The platforms, the code, the people, business plans, mistakes and successes — it’s an absurdly vast collection of experiences stacked up inside me. All the while, I’m playing the selection variation science guy — try this, that, test, learn, rinse, repeat.
Now I hire consultants
Ever try editing your own writing? It’s pretty much impossible. Your eyes adjust and “learn” the mistakes so they become invisible. That’s also what happens when you’re tasked with long term projects. If I’m working on miles of code, I need an editor with fresh eyes to come in and instantly be jarred by what doesn’t make sense.
I hire a consultant when I need to tap into a vast network of experience. This could be for a problem or optimization I’m working on. Or maybe it’s just for a single project when I’m getting bored and need an experienced peer to spice things up. Two great minds collaborating are better than one. I got over my ego thinking that I can do it all and know it all. Brilliant minds can help me get where I want to go faster.
Think about it, you’re the only CTO at your company. Competitor CTO’s are not the best place to consult with. Still, maybe someone who works with a wide array of CTO’s every day might help. This way you tap into a diverse knowledge pool.
When I fire consultants
The truth is I never really have to fire consultants. Instead, I screen them thoroughly, which means it’s a personal referral. Then I hire the consultant for a very specific task. When the job is finished, their time with me is done. If a new need arises, I’ll contract them again. I’ve never had a single problem working with consultants in this way.
It’s really no big surprise since this is how I get involved with projects too. It’s exclusively relationship based. The personal ties I’ve built bring me business, so I don’t have to sell or market. People just show up as a referral. They’ll say, “I saw what you did with Jack, we need you to do that for us”. Then they wire me the money.
What should you do?
Thinking of hiring specialists vs generalists? It might not be clear exactly what to do and this can be tricky. The people at the top in life are always working, growing and improving with the help of others. It’s how you got to where you are, and it’s how you will get up through the next stage on your journey.
I have experience that you can leverage. If you don’t use me, use someone else. The point is for you to get what is on your mind resolved immediately, don’t wait. Set an appointment with me and tell me about your situation so I can help. Click this link to reach out. Something else on your mind? Whatever you need, I’m here. Life is meant to be done together, just reach out.