How a Tourist Can Help You with Your Startup

Two tourists stand on a sidewalk along Fifth Avenue in New York City

Mark Suster, an entrepreneur turned venture capitalist, wrote a fabulous article defending and defining the role of consultants. Drawing on examples from his 8 years with Andersen Consulting (now Accenture), Suster shares the following:

After a few years in the business I was used to clients questioning my existence on every new project.  I started telling them, “I’m a tourist in your company.  I don’t know nearly as much about it as you do – you’ve lived here for a long time and I’m quite new.  And as a tourist I’m not likely to stay here very long so you’ll have to live with the results.  But like any person living in a city for a long time, I find that my clients often stop visiting certain attractions that used to excite them.  They stop questioning why things are the way things are and just accept the status quo.  And the great thing about being a tourist is that I get to visit many places and can bring some good ideas that I’ve seen elsewhere that you may like.  But let’s be clear – I’m only a tourist.  You really know your town.  And if I’m going to help a bit while I’m here the better I know ‘what’s what’ the easier it will be for me to help and be on my way.”

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