Every consultant has an orientation. Here’s mine.

Consulting Orientation Map

I’ve been consulting research libraries on software decisions on behalf of commercial vendors since 2010. Last summer, I decided to go out on my own. During that 9 year period, I learned that as consultants, when asked for our advice or opinion on a topic, there are certain biases and predispositions that guide our decisions on what to recommend, to which type of organization, and at what point during the engagement. When working for a commercial vendor, the calculus on this is straightforward: do what is in the best interest of the employer, which at times presents conflicts of judgment, albeit less often than people think. But as an independent consultant, there’s an opportunity to develop our own orientation separate and apart of any organization’s mission.


The Libdot Manifesto

A new day has come for libraries. A day when libraries can tell their stories with clarity and conviction. A day when libraries can build community based on what makes them unique, alongside people who share their vision for the future they work to create. A day when individuals from all walks and phases of life can get excited about librarianship as a profession, and maintain that excitement after seeing their compensation package. A day when highly specialized skills and talents are tangibly recognized for their worth in the information landscape.


My Entrepreneurial Journey (est. 2008)

This month marks my 11th anniversary on Twitter. It’s also the first time I’ve had the freedom to discuss side projects without fear of retribution from an employer. Some of these stories come up in conversations with clients or entrepreneurs I coach, making me realize I never took the time to capture them in one place. Like the time I met with Mark Zuckerberg, or when I had lunch with his sister Randi. Or the time I was on the Tyra Banks show to talk about Twitter. Each of these could easily be their own story. And maybe one day I get the time to write them. But in the meantime, here’s a timeline with brief commentary. Enjoy!


Post-Colonialist Cacophony: Thoughts on the New Orleans Education Experiment

Tony Zanders in New Orleans

For the past sixteen months, I’ve studied, investigated, challenged, promoted, questioned, and embraced the education reform dialogue surrounding my city. Ultimately, I’ve oscillated from a critic (as a native, tax-paying, product of the public school system deemed worthless), to an advocate (as a former director-level staffer at a non-profit funded by national corporate foundations), to a critic again (as a parent navigating the system in question.) This journey has subjected me to insult from fellow reformers who were unaware of my New Orleans heritage, and ostracization from fellow natives who speak uninformed of data supporting progress in our schools.


Failure as a Currency

One of the first stories I was told at 4.0 was of Kinobi — a hardware startup founded by Chapman Snowden that took part in 4.0’s Launch Cohort 1, and closed its doors a few months later. I was somewhat confused by this — not that Kinobi failed, but that 4.0 was sharing this with their new communications director as a narrative that should be core to our brand. After all, most incubators and accelerators I knew of hid their Kinobis from the public eye (minus TechStars). But having come to the other side of the fence, I now understand the value of Chapman’s story, and more importantly, my own.