Startup vs Big company mentality

I had a small session with myself yesterday. Remember how your principal used to “summon” you to the office? I summoned myself in such a way.

I wanted to understand why some things had changed.

Why I was not working late. Why I was not angry at myself for not doing the best I could, day after day. Why the company wasn’t making enough mistakes. Why we weren’t releasing products first enough.

And I realized the hunger I had was being stifled. As if I was getting fed, and fed up. It was like this creativity block thing had gone a notch higher.

I realized while the changes we had made at the company, the structures we’d put in place were a great step forward, they were also a stifling creativity.

Right then I knew i was being sucked into the Big Company mentality.

When does a startup stop being a startup?

I recalled a conversation I had a few weeks ago with Lynn of Nailab and Rodgers of Cardplanet.

The topics varied from what characterizes successful startups, to is there a template for failure? Does mentality have anything to do with it?

Big company vs small company mentality

Startups by definition are innovative. Now, once you start thinking like a big company, the same things that made you innovative now have no place in your company.

And sooner rather than later:

You stop releasing products fast, you are more cautious of “brand perception” than about “being the first mover”.
Your products become more polished, but it takes much longer before you are “comfortable enough” to release to the public.
You stop worrying about smaller companies pulling the rag under you, and start concentrating on beating the largest player in your market.
And you cease to innovate.

So while we will not pull down the structures at Kejahunt, we hope to never “mature”. We hope to remain like kids in the playground: breaking things, learning fast and never forgetting the cheer. And we’ll still wear the t-shirts to work :-).

I’d like to hear your thoughts on the comment box below.

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