Monday, August 17, 2009

Transition from two guys in a garage to multinational company

There is an interesting difference between how folks do things when its "two guys in a garage" and "a really big multinational company". The first thing I would say is that you can run a company of either size the same way. The second thing I would say is that you CANNOT run a company of either size the same way EFFECTIVELY.

If you are a working in a web based software startup with 16 people and you have 2 developers, 4 project managers, 6 vice presidents, a CIO, CTO, CFO, and CEO... you are destined for failure (if you don't know why, I bet your title had the word "Chief" in it). On the other hand, you have an established company with 1600 employees, 24 well known brands, a B2B application that does a billion dollars a year in sales, you might need a couple of managers who try to keep things organized. You really don't need 40 developers all "doing their own thing" with little rhyme nor reason.

I've been on both ends of this over the years as well as a number of places in the middle and it's interesting to watch people try to blindly apply patterns that worked in one environment in a radically different one and be puzzled when they don't seem to work.

Folks... there is not golden solution to every problem. If there was, somebody would have patented it by now and be grand imperial commander of the universe. The fact is, every new and unique thing we do creates and demands new patterns and solutions because they create new and unique problems that have not been completely solved. In addition, even the simple passage of time can cause a solution that worked great 5 years ago to be remarkably silly now even if it's in a remarkably similar context as "the last time".

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