“An advantage of consulting, as a way to develop a product, is that you know you’re making something at least one customer wants. But if you have what it takes to start a startup you should have sufficient vision not to need this crutch.”
I think that Paul has written a great article, and most of his points are well made. But with all due respect, I have to disagree on his final conclusion.
Sufficient vision alone is not enough to start a startup, nor to keep you funded until money comes in. The very reason behind starting out as a consulting company and making the transition to a product company is that you need cash to get you through, and consulting is a very good way to get it.
If you have financial obligations to meet, such as a car payment, mortgage, etc. then you need cash sooner rather than later. It’s all well and good to have an incredible vision, and loads of customers who would buy your product when you actually launch it, but until you do, your vision is all you have.
I rather doubt that I could walk into the local branch of my mortgage company and ask to pay them with my corporate vision. It’s simply not going to work out in my favor. If you don’t believe me, try selling a million dollar idea on eBay. Let me know how that turns out for you.