On a birthday post in 2007 (my, time flies!) I was defending what I actually do… and to save you the trouble reading it — the kicker was that it took me years to realize that my Grandfather “made stuff” whereas I really just “talk a lot”.
Today, it’s different. I mean, I still talk a lot, but that non-profit I’m starting… A lawyer asked where we were based. Huh? Two of three founders are in NY, the other Wyoming. If we consider phone numbers, we can add Nevada to that list. I’ll probably use my home in NJ as the address, just because I’m moving apartments in NY and at least that’s consistent. I thought about the location of the technology infrastructure we’re deploying, but
where the heck is GoDaddy?
Mike Kavis just nabbed his startup’s first customer. He’s been talking up how little his infrastructure costs were to get started, and two years ago Guy Kawasaki wastefully spent a bit over $12,000 to start his. This is different. Breaking the coupling between the “entrepreneurship” and the infrastructure changes a lot of the typical answers about how a company does business and what matters. It makes the question of what I do sound, well, so last year. It puts the focus right back on execution in the moment, rather the derivative perspective of an established company’s momentum. Removing the importance of momentum evens the playing field between small and large companies. Lots of things are coming together to help with this… the evolution of standards (of which I am not a huge fan), cloud computing, open source growth, severe dissatisfaction of software pricing, and the dismal success rate of large IT projects.
You might read this and think the implications are only for startups. Wrong! This affects big business in huge important ways. Big business has big infrastructure. They’re beholden to a cost structure that a virtual company is not. But, the benefits… they don’t follow from being big with huge cost structures.
A virtual company can tie together people around a shared idea without borders. The idea, the value system, the shared beliefs… that brings the team together and changes the game. By traditional standards, these companies don’t even exist in space. Yet, they often center on a passion that is infectious, and when applied to dissatisfied customers, the results are explosive. Big companies need to style for speed, not momentum, in order to survive.
Why do I believe they can’t do it?
Because it requires letting go. It requires approaching the game as one of influence rather than control. Give up control to influence people, and while the truth may or may not set you free, it certainly will reveal who to trust for long term relationships.
And, oddly, though my lawyer may have trouble figuring out where to incorporate us, our customers will know exactly where to find us.