January 23rd, 2023 | The Temple: How To Survive in the Bay Area as a Consultant?

Updated on March 20th 2023

The Temple Silison Valley Bay Area

This text was fully written by a human.

I am soon departing for my next trip toward the Bay Area. Which is clearly not the most comfortable place to find yourself in as a consultant. For a long time, I wondered why this is so, and finally came to some (perhaps interesting) conclusions.

The Bay Area’s Vibe.

I am soon departing for my next trip toward the Bay Area. Which is clearly not the most comfortable place to find yourself in as a consultant. For a long time, I wondered why this is so, and finally came to some (perhaps interesting) conclusions.

I would summarize my first impression of this place as “peaceful.” Despite the Valley is considered the heart of the world’s innovation, you don’t see traffic in the streets or people running through the buildings in a hurry. It doesn’t resemble a hectic stock exchange. There are no “startup factories” where entrepreneurs program in groups for 16 hours a day and sleep on the floor over night. 

The only symptom that something unusual is going on in this peaceful, sunny, wealthy valley are the garage lights lit up till late hours every night. Once you take sit on one of the hills located around the valley and observe the festival of lights in the gardens and garages downhill, you get the eerie feeling that something is going on down there.

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The Prestige.

Let’s dig into professional circles in Northern California and how it impacts the local job market. As I previously mentioned in my article “Startup Culture in Bay Area vs Startup Culture in Amsterdam,” the local currency is not a dollar but rather, a so-called “prestige.” If you have: 

  1. A track of successful startups developed under your belt, 
  2. A track of successful investments in startups, or 
  3. A degree obtained from one of the local top universities such as Stanford or University of California: Berkeley,

Then you are entitled to the currency. Namely, you are respected and have access to the (often informal) influential and well-informed social circles, hidden from the general public. If not, you must grind.

The highest circle of the social ladder are, obviously, successful entrepreneurs as well as successful entrepreneurs turned investors. At the end of the day, this is what all this is about: creating innovation and selling it, or, as the locals like to say, “Making something that people want.”

One circle down from them are those who successfully earn from these developments as investors. They are not the source of innovation per se, but they can effectively speed it up by skillful funds allocation.

Finally, local academics are believed to be smart cookies and trustworthy individuals, who are additionally well connected and supported due to the vibrant alumni communities. That makes them a good source of labor and expertise for startups, and potential material for entrepreneurs

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The Monastery.

So, why is it so hard to come here and make a career as a consultant? Well, let’s talk about what consultants do in the first place. A consultant is a type of a professional who trades their time and expertise in an exchange for cash. 

To do well as consultant, you need to have a marketplace: a platform or a meeting space where you can pitch to your clients and get deals: hand in your time, get back cash.

What is the problem with consultancy the Bay Area then? Well, the whole social structure in the Bay Area looks a bit like a community living in a monastery. Successful entrepreneurs are the highest category of priests, then we have investors and egg heads.

Plus now, in the era of AI and intelligent bots, the monastery called the Silicon Valley is awaiting the Messiah: the first founder of a unicorn company who builds their business solely with the use of bots and without employees’ and investors’ involvement.

In a monastery, you don’t just trade services for cash but rather, you use courtesy. If you need some help or advice, you go to a priest with a higher rank, you bow and ask: “Noble Zuck, could you please be that kind and share your wisdoms on… with us, mortals?”

And the noble Zuck bows back and shares his wisdoms only to score next few points of prestige and grace for swiftly providing a smart answer to the question.

Actually, there are so many middle-aged and bored ex-entrepreneurs and senior investors in the Area that you never suffer from a lack of business mentors. People are not even all that punctual; they don’t rush anywhere and they always have time and willingness to advise a younger talent.

One more reason why it is hard to start as a consultant in the Bay Area is that, people naturally try to convert you into “their track:” since they think like startupers, they also want you to collaborate and accept conditions typical of startupers.

So, no wonder that it is so hard to start here as a consultant! It’s challenging to find a niche where you can provide some extra value next to all the experienced Valley entrepreneurs and VCs. Of course, I believe I have such an extra value to offer, but I will need to prove myself in the battlefield. Or, perhaps I should rather say: at the altar.

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Please cite as:

Bielczyk, N. (2023, January 23rd). The Temple: How To Survive in the Bay Area as a Consultant? Retrieved from: https://nataliabielczyk.com/the-temple-how-to-survive-as-a-consultant-in-the-bay-area/

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