So three consultants walk into a …

September 14, 2009 by Dave Haynes


There are some smart people in this sector who walk around with cards identifying themselves as consultants – a handful by choice but a larger proportion out of necessity, as the economy and their own company’s business fortunes put an end to full-time gigs.

There are a few companies that do consulting as part of a rounded service offer that can start with strategy and go all the way through to managing networks, but the ones I know are more interested in the back-end work of keeping networks up and content fresh. 

In asking around, there really wasn’t any evident company in North America working full-time on high-level consulting for the digital signage sector. So me and a couple of business friends have started one, called The Preset Group.

A lot of people will know Pat Hellberg as the guy who created and directed Nike’s in-store network until he decided to go out on his own as a sector consultant. He and I starrted chatting a few months ago about doing some work together and talking about how we could pull together a larger consulting entity to fill a gap in the marketplace. When a well-known guy who had been running Best Buy’s huge in-store screen network came available this summer, we started scratching our chins and thinking, “Hmmm.” Paul Flanigan, who who has spoken at numerous industry conferences and writes the respected Experiate blog, listened to what we had to say and signed on as the third leg of our consulting stool.

We hung out a shingle this morning through a press release and Website. The company day to day is called Preset, the idea being that “presets” are settings for technology that should result in a product working properly right out of the box, or right from the start. You can go to the Website or read this press release to get more detail, but suffice to say the three of us plan to work with retailers, emerging companies and investors at the front-end of projects to get the lead people building strategies, objectives and plans that have a better chance of being impactful and successful.

One of the frustrations we’ve all heard and experienced in this industry is the need to repeatedly deal with people and companies who really don’t know what they need to do, and not do, and who could benefit hugely from good advice and guidance. A lot of the time, technology companies find themselves providing hours and hours of free consulting, all the while wondering if the prospects are serious or or just trying to get some free guidance. We suspect many of them would be happy to see prospects engaging with them with a full notion of what they need, and budgets and timelines in place. There would certainly be far less guesswork needed in building sales forecasts.

I have a lot of work shaking with my media communications company pressDOOH, but adding a Preset business card allows me to guide some of the work I’ve been doing, which has been more consulting than writing, to the new company and have those clients benefit from the added insights and guidance of Paul and Pat. Day to day, Flanigan is the managing partner for the company. We also have several associates in the wings, with specialty skills we’ll plug in as needed on work. 

The pressDooh business, if there is any confusion, is still very much active and just operating in parallel.

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