Monday, March 25, 2002

Starting a company? Use your head.

I ran across this article in Inc Magazine about two months ago. I meant to link to it back then, and am just now remembering. The best part of the story behind the rise of Cranium (if you haven’t played the board game, you don’t know what you’re missing) is the backgrounds of the co-founders: both former Microsoft employees, they took lessons from the high-tech world and applied them to building a non-tech company from scratch.

So much has been written about the old-world lessons that should be applied in the technology space that it was refreshing to see the opposite is true as well.

Something in particular in the article resonated with something I observed the last time I was at Microsoft’s campus: everyone you come into contact with knows what the mission is, who the enemy is, and how they’re going to move ahead. For a company of nearly 50,000 employees, it was overwhelming how “on message” they were. The author of the Inc piece refers to it as Gates’ (and now Ballmer’s) lesson of “the power of a mission clearly and consistently communicated.”

Why do so many companies have trouble with something that should be so simple?

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