Tom Critchlow

The Improvisational Nature of Consulting

Is consulting hard? Yes! and...

One of my most challenging consulting projects was back in 2011, I’d just opened the office for Distilled in New York and we sold an SEO consulting project to a business out in New Jersey who created websites at scale. If you work in SEO in New York you probably know who I’m talking about.

Every week I’d travel on-site to New Jersey and spend the day in a meeting room surrounded by executives, product managers and - crucially - a consultant from a big consulting firm (I think it was Bain but I actually can’t remember). No one around the table knew SEO as well as I did, but they sure did have strong opinions.

A question would arise about the cost of doing link building. An exchange might go something like this:

Consultant: We need to know how much it costs to build a link for our financial models Me: Ok, first we have to have a discussion about the kind of links we want to build Consultant:

Meanwhile, over lunch in the cafeteria one of the in-house SEO folks turned to me covertly and showed me xrumer - a piece of desktop software that builds thousands of links through automated submissions and so on.

Not only was Xrumer the

Consulting Is Improv

Good Consulting is Improv Without the Bullshit

You could also call this codified experience. Or wisdom. The ability to synthesize new data into old situations and be right. Or at least directionally correct.


This blog is written by Tom Critchlow, an independent strategy consultant living and working in Brooklyn, NY. If you like what you read please leave a comment below in disqus or sign up for my Tinyletter.