Don't go against the money; what say, you say? Consultants, don't go against the opinion of the people funding a venture, or their management proxies - you will not get contracts, you will have your early termination clauses invoked, and you will be forced out the valley. Of course, you will also not be able to provide any services of value, but it seems that the valley is chock full of closed end product management hires that are basically yes-men and gals for the management. So why did they hire you?
First, some background about what a good product strategist does -people are confused until they really need a guy like me. I built my reputation by being honest and never pulling punches, all while providing action oriented, sane product / channel re-jiggering.
People who label as 'Strategists' take a lot of heat; where do you get the nerve? Well, first of all, there are two types of strategists: Corporate capital 'S' strategists, and product channel specialty small 's' strategists. I am a small 's' strategist specializing in technical, industrial, and vertical markets. Without this specialization, I should be rebuffed; with no MBA, no degree from any institution of higher learning, I need my tool belt of practical industry experience to underwrite my credibility, and to speak with authority regarding the markets that I swim in, on behalf of my clients.(visit)
When a client calls me, via a referral or via my blog articles, they have a bone to pick. Often this bone is an internal conflict over the direction of a product's channelization, or a strategic (small 's', product features and industry targeting strategy) issues that is causing division or insurrection in the ranks.
I can often be a balm to these conflagrations; it doesn't always get to the point of emotional entanglement, either. I have had a good career acting as an honest broker for the best interests of the product and the user community. This obtains in cases when the particular user community is already in place, or needs to be freshly recruited.
There are so many great Web 2.0 tools and services that have steered down the path of fremium and ad-supported subscription models. Many of these great, small companies will never see the revenue sufficient to turn a profit, and therefore wait for the buyout that may or may not come.
All the while, there are any number of technical and skilled trades markets that are dying for specialized instances of messaging, social networking, and mobile applications that can help their constituencies work more effectively. However, these vertical markets are never going to be evangelized by non-specialists, and their revenue models require a fine-tuned balance between ads (and these industry specific ads can have hight CPC and CPM) and subscriber paid accounts.
That's my job, to use my skills as an advocate on behalf of the Web application provider, to swim in the vertical and fine tune the delivery of these services, and to help make a payment model that works for the product sector, and the developers.
More on this topic, and in depth, soon.