Archive for May 2008
While reading the quite excellent book “Mavericks at Work”—which discusses about the most innovative and imaginative companies in the US—I bumped into these notes that I think are quite relevant in this era of fast evolution (technological and others):
[Malcolm] Gladwell drew on social science research that documents the importance of practical skills (“tacit knowledge”) over raw brainpower; the tendency of individuals who think they’re smareter than others (and get treated that way) to worry more about acting smart than learning new things; and the dangers of what three psychologists have called “the dark side of charisma.”
Groups don’t write great novels, and a committee didn’t come up with the theory of relativity. But companies work by different rules. They don’t just create; they execute and compete and coordinate the efforts of many different people, and the organizations that are most succesful at that task are the ones where the system is the star.
In the last couple of years, I think I’ve been starting to learn that accomplishing things is less about individuals and more about coherent, healthy, and diligent groups of people. This implicates also that projects need to change along the people and a successful system must support such a living structure. In today’s world—or at least with Internet-related projects—you can’t afford spending a year to collect a team, and then go away for a few years to establish a single company.
Current, tens of years old form of a company doesn’t support this kind of an approach; shares and wages should be deprecated as forms of ownership and compensation. For building successful businesses we need to create more dynamic models; and an open attitude, as always.
And, of course,
[…] a system without stars is not going to win.
— John Sullivan on p. 200
although those stars may be revealed (or made) not until by that exact system.