The Catch 22 of Being a Consultant

The Catch 22 of Being a Consultant

ConsultingQuorum Model
March 7, 2022

I want to share the story of one of Quorum1’s more recent members. For the purposes of this article, we’ll call him Ravi.

Ravi used to worked at a large consulting firm. The firm does over $10B in annual revenue and has 100k+ employees (you’ve definitely heard of them). But Ravi didn’t like it there for a number of reasons.

For starters, despite the firm’s bright marketing, the company and its people were cold. Ravi, a lifelong extrovert, felt like every conversation was a tiny battle. Everything was polite on the surface, but underneath there were complicated currents that made getting anything done a headache. It took the fun out of everything and eventually he found himself shying away from opportunities to build relationships with his colleagues. He felt lonely. The sort of loneliness you get in a crowded room—when there are plenty of people but all you see is unfamiliar faces.

To make things worse, the longer he worked at the firm, the less fulfilling he found the work. Ravi took pride in the quality of his work and was passionate about learning skills adjacent to his main areas of focus. But at the firm everything was always a race to the bottom. Quality work took too much time and learning new skills meant sacrificing billable hours and incurring the wrath of the corporate overlords.

Ravi felt like he was running out of options. This was already his second big firm. He tried doing some independent work on the side, but getting started was tough. And working on his own, he faced a whole different sort of loneliness, the kind where he was all on his own, trying to figure out hard thing with no support.

Ravi was trapped in the catch 22 of consulting.

The Consulting Industry Today

Ravi’s experience is very far from unique.

Most big consulting firms are built to extract value from workers, not add it.

But consulting outside of a big firm often means either:

  • Joining a little firm with limited opportunity for growth or...
  • Setting out on your own and becoming another face in a series of “expert marketplaces” which is a whole new type of soulless

Ravi wanted to develop genuine, collaborative relationships with his colleagues - relationships in which both parties bring unique skill sets to the project and both are incentivized to learn from one another. Where did that fat margin at a large firm go? Not to Ravi. He wanted to participate in the upside and work on the projects that got him excited. Modern consultancies and freelancing did not tick these boxes.

That’s why Ravi decided to join Quorum1.

Quorum1 is a cooperative consultancy founded by a group of long-time consultants aimed at offering a better way. We developed The Quorum Model to help one another reap the benefits of working with a big firm without having to endure the soul-sucking parts. We seek to make the lives of technical professionals genuinely better.

A Different Type of Consultancy

Here, the grass actually is greener! That is because we are a different type of consultancy. What makes us different?

The profits are distributed fairly

Traditional consultancies aim to maximize profits for the people at the top. At Quorum1, there is no “top”. We are a collective and the profits get distributed relative to the impact we each produce. Each members’ contributions to the Quorum - whether bringing in clients, working on internal projects, or mentoring more junior members - earns them a proportional share of Quorum’s profit.

More interesting, complicated and diverse projects

Our members’ expertise is both wide and deep. We work with over 80 systems and platforms—a list which grows with each new member. And in many systems we have decades of collective professional experience. We can build solutions on top of a huge array of platforms & tools which allows us to go after bigger, more ambitious projects. It also makes our work way more fun.

Unlimited room to learn

The Quorum model centers on professional development. Whereas traditional consulting firms optimize for hours billed and profit extracted from each worker, the quorum’s goal is to increase our members learnings and earnings. We invest massive effort in helping each other learn, grow and earn more. Professional growth is at the center of what we do.

If you or someone you know might be interested in exploring a new approach to consulting, reach out to us! You can find out more about joining the quorum here.