Odd ducks

Being a services person inside of a product company means that you’re always going to be an odd duck.

Services — by which I mean training, support, and especially consulting — are just different than products. They are sold differently, they are built differently, they are delivered differently, they’re just different. And this sometimes leads to misunderstandings at a product company.

Financially, software development requires upfront investment to develop the product and then hopefully long streams of high margin revenue with low incremental and on-going costs.

Professional services, on the other hand, don’t require the big upfront investment but they have high direct (mostly people) costs associated with them that make the margins look bad to a product software person.

Also, those services don’t just deliver themselves; you have to put those meat bodies on planes and fly them around timespace. And if you have too many meatbodies at a given time, that’s still going to cost you. On the other hand, if you don’t have enough at a given time for the work at hand, that’s also going to cost you.