When I left UBS Investment Bank in 2007 I had a pretty negative view on advisory. I had spent 10 years walking up the pretty standard professional services ladder. From Analyst to Associate; from Associate to Director; from Director to Executive Director... It is true that I skipped the last step, but looking around me, I never did find a Managing Director whose 'life package' I found appealing. The combinations of job description and life-after-work were simply not that inspiring as long term prospects, despite the very attractive compensation levels.
My view related specifically to financial advisory, the field I could directly relate to, but the evidence drawn from various friends and contacts suggested that the analysis could be generally applied to other advice-based professional services industries, such as legal, fiscal, communications, or strategic consultancy. The key difference being the widely different expected remuneration levels, which I understood related to supply-demand and qualification imbalances.
In 2007, when I set up Ezaro Media, my strategic vision was thus not directly advice-based. I wanted to set up a vehicle to facilitate the establishment of and investment in exciting new digital projects. However, I always felt that during that those 1o years in top-level international M&A and fund raising advisory, I had acquired skills that were invaluable and should be exploited.
Then, sometime at the beginning of 2010 --I think--, I read Googled, by NYT journalist Ken Auletta. The book was good, but what it gave me was not obvious. The narrative mentioned one Bill Campbell who everyone cited recognized as critical in various aspects linked to the successful development of Google. Funnily enough, reading on how a former Columbia football coach with a lousy record turned himself into a figure whose advice was highly praised and valued, somehow reconciled me with the figure of the 'trusted advisor': focused, human and deeply honest. Those are the three traits I have actively tried to turn into the backbone of my current advisory practice.