Virtuous cycle

Bartlomiej Owczarek weblog

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Strategy as a cost

Bret Taylor, ex-Googler, on “cost” of strategy in larger organizations:

With 70 people the odds that two people are working on the same thing are probably pretty low. With 17,000, it’s almost a 100% that two or three people will be working on the same idea, or at least very similar ideas, at different parts of the organization. I think there is a certain amount of cost to just coordinating that activity. I’ve been really impressed with how Google has been able to scale, but inherently it has to change – just because there’s that coordination cost.

I think some bloggers call it “strategy tax.” You know, when you grow, your strategy becomes more and more important, and it taxes sort of everything you do a little bit… because everything you do, it strays from that strategy. You know, there’s a huge cost to that. Whereas I think for smaller companies, the strategy is less well-defined, or certainly the impact of straying from it is much lower.

Startups are adaptive, as friend told me last weekend, when worthy people come together to realize something, even if the first idea doesn’t work, they are always going to figure out a promising alternative (but first you have to make a jump in any case).