Startup Mentality to hit a wall

Startups are all in, everyone moving with a common purpose and focus. But, when they are absorbed into a large corp, those ethos will bend, guaranteed

Brief post today. The Dude was interviewing for an internal job, mainly because he needs a change of scenery. It is with a group that has been able for about a decade to act like a start up, with a huge, and very profitable business acting as their VC. At trade shows, they spend money like drunken sailors. There is little governance, and ideas are quickly approved and put into practice.

Now, the sugar daddy business unit has cast them off (i.e. made them find their own funding) and combined them with a couple other groups, but the leadership of this larger group is the same as when they were a “startup”.

However, they now need to either self fund, or solicit funding for their priorities.

In the interview, the hiring manager laid out this ambitious program and did a demo. The Dude sees promise, but also a lot of funding needed to complete, and the Hiring manager pointed out that they were seeking said funding. He asked a simple question:

“What if the larger organization doesn’t provide the asked for funding? How do you scale back?”

The answer was quick, and pointed out that in this leadership regime, they NEVER stop a project that they have decided to do. That the whole team will march forth and “get it done”.

Wow. If a project requires $1M to do well, $750K to do right with tradeoffs, and you only get $20K, what is your response? Do you scale back? Deprioritize? Cancel?

The Dude got about 30 seconds of stony silence, and then “We will figure out how to deliver even if we get only 2% of our requested funding, as we never back down from a project.

The Dude doesn’t want to be there when that mentality gets crushed by corporate politics. That will be an UGLY day. This is a corporation that has eliminated ENTIRE business units when priorities changed, sending thousands to the unemployed roles. Rock, about to meet irresistible force.

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