Quote Of The Day

Bigness of purpose is what separates 20th century and 21st century organizations: yesterday, we built huge corporations to do tiny, incremental things – tomorrow, we must build small organizations that can do tremendously massive things.

Umair Haque – Seven Lessons For Radical Innovators

#VC & Technology

Comments (Archived):

  1. bijan

    That is so right.One day I gotta meet Umair.

  2. jkm

    Amen! If that doesn’t capture the spirit of entrepreneurism, I don’t know what does.

  3. Yaron Samid

    Go ahead Umair. He’s inspired so many entrepreneurs to check ourselves; our drive, calling and responsibilities.We need a “Greater Good” blog that covers exactly such small businesses with the audacity to do tremendously massive good things. Does anyone know of one?

    1. fredwilson

      Nope. But I think its a great idea

      1. Yaron Samid

        I’ll look around. If it doesn’t exist, I may rally some folks to put one together.

        1. Yihong Ding

          Great. I am interested in it too.

          1. howardlindzon

            wallstrip of IDEAS is what has been banged around this site started by Roger EhrenbergStart with the anthem idea at least in the vision and build all the community around it.

          2. Yaron Samid

            Whats the anthem idea? I’ll ping Roger to see what he’s up to on this front. Let’s get it going.

  4. jimlindstrom

    Innovation is becoming such a fad term, so sapped of any power by overuse that it apparently now needs the adjective “radical” in order to have the same impact it once had. The way innovation is (ab)used now, who WOULDN’T want to be an innovator? … Well actually, no — innovation is fast becoming passe. But, who WOULDN’T want to be a “radical innovator”?This guy aludes to some really interesting ideas (self-organization, e.g), but without a ton of substance. And I find it too distracting that he has to shroud his underlying ideas with sexy terms like “radical innovation” and “DNA” and ridiculous over-simplifications (he berates “20th century thinking” and favors “21st century thinking”, while at the same time poo-poo’ing equally simplistic red state vs. blue state thinking). Just give us the meat of your arguments without obscuring it with black and white simplifications and fad terms you think are eye-grabbing, Haque.

  5. aweissman

    Self-serving, clearly, but as you know a bunch of us who build and invest in the earliest ventures are following this, in essence by looking for businesses that have as their core value the ability to more alot more with alot less. This is an efficient process too – less capital at risk, more flexibility. “too small to fail” is a piece of this philosophy.

  6. curmudgeonly troll

    A noble spirit enbiggens the smallest man — Jebediah Springfield

  7. Ethan Bauley

    Ha, I pulled out this same quote in my comment [quoted below] on the original post…I think the second half of the quote is where it’s at, and it’s not just about cost:”[on another Umair thread], someone criticized Apache by remarking how few people the Apache foundation employs…missing the point that 99% of the benefits are external to the firm.”Organizations created to make their external environment better, how novel!”That sounds sustainable!”;-)

  8. howardlindzon

    another example of being and building companies too small to fail.Like the game of RISK and global domination. You win that board game by coming out from a corner of the globe.

  9. howardlindzon

    I do love others using ‘too small to fail’ now 🙂 so cool

  10. tweetip

    Though “Tremendously Massive Things” is subjective, perhaps “Obama’s THE Agenda” will provide clarity for tech leaders to advise “us THE small” 🙂 as Huge Corps will continue to implode.

  11. jonsteinberg

    Along these lines you could make the argument that the role of large corporations is no longer to build products but rather to distribute them. A former business school classmate of mine, puts it well on his angel fund site. In the software/web layer, large organizations have a very small advantage over individuals; however, at the point of distribution and marketing, the advantages are much larger.

  12. anonymous

    Along the same lines, Clay Shirky has an interesting talk (video) at TED.org on institutions vs. collaboration. In the future, less will be accomplished by formal institutions and their employees, and more by loose Internet-based collaborations.Umair Haque makes some good points, yet he has also drunk deeply of the Kool-aid. The phenomenon of new media and Internet driving a radically new kind of presidential campaign and propelling a seemingly unlikely candidate to power was actually pioneered in 2003 in South Korea (Roh Moo-hyun). More broadly we could go back to the 1960 US campaign where television played a large role, or even the 1930s when politicians caught on to the power of radio. In hindsight, Obama’s campaign will be seen as simply one further step in an series of evolutionary changes in the electoral process. A younger person perhaps lacks the perspective to realize that this sort of rapturous analysis in the immediate aftermath of a presidential campaign, extolling an ostensibly radically new style of politics breaking with the past, is actually the rule rather than the exception when a new president comes to power. Go back and read the post-election pundits on Jimmy Carter back in 1976, for instance.

    1. anonymous

      I should add that Shirky’s talk was from 2005 (you notice, for instance, that he uses the now-quaint-sounding “weblogging” instead of “blogging”), so some of the things he says may sound obvious today (explaining the significance of Flickr), but were prescient.