In my consulting practice in working with software and Internet companies on strategy, product innovation and marketing issues, I often get approached by smaller, early-stage companies who, without a doubt, have needs for assistance. The rub for me professionally is that, because of where they are in their maturity (and funding) cycles, they often don’t have cash resources to hire “consultants” per se. In turn, I have made it SmokeJumper Strategy’s policy to not provide consulting services in exchange for equity. I have attempted this a couple of times in the past and it doesn’t work out. (I know the risk is I turn down equity in the next Google or Facebook, but I’m willing to live with the odds of that happening).
I do love working with early-stage companies and the entrepreneurs responsible for them – there is nothing more exciting, challenging and rewarding when you can see ideas come to fruition or changes in a product to better fit a market or insights about a market drive the direction and engineering efforts of a new product. This feeling is universal in all the spaces I’ve worked in: consumer, enterprise, education and developer tools. I’ve struggled with how to help entrepreneurs who I know and who have approached me to get involved at an earlier stage with regard to the fact I am a consultant and to a large extent am “coin operated” in delivering the services SmokeJumper Strategy provides and the fees that charged for their provision.
I’ve been blessed over the course of my 12 years in Silicon Valley working for Netscape, AOL and Apple and consulting for countless software and Internet companies to have met many bright, creative and high-impact people. Today I kick off a new blog series highlighting some of those people. As Jim Barksdale, CEO of Netscape, would explain: “every great list has either 3 or 5 things on it. If you got 4 on your list, you either got 1 too many or need to add 1 more.” I’ve opted for 5 questions on my “list” and blog series!
Luke Hohmann is software product expert, author, coach, entrepreneur, innovator, teacher and friend. He is the author of “Journey of the Software Professional: A Sociology of Software Development”, “Beyond Software Architecture: Creating and Sustaining Winning Solutions”, and “Innovation Games: Creating Breakthrough Products Through Collaborative Play”. He is a former faculty member of the UC Berkeley and Santa Cruz (Extensions). Luke is on the board of the Agile Alliance and is a member of the ACM, IEEE, and PDMA. Luke is the Founder & CEO of Enthiosys, an Agile Product Management Consultancy. I caught up with him recently to talk about his latest venture, Innovation Games Online.
1. What are Innovation Games Online?
Innovation Games® online are web-based versions of some of our most popular games. They provide the same kind rich interaction and collaboration of our in-person versions of the games at a web-scale.