Jan Kubr

Archive for September, 2008|Monthly archive page

A book read: Small Giants by Bo Burlingham

In Uncategorized on September 1, 2008 at 21:22

What a great idea for a book: You don’t need to grow your company as fast as possible to make it as big as possible. You can very well limit its growth, purposely don’t attack every opportunity that occurs.

Which can give you more freedom. Because if you grow aggressively, you either need to give up at least some of your company to your investors (and then you need to do what they say) or devote all your time to develop the business:

“As the head of a public or venture-backed company, you’re responsible to outside shareholders, whose interests you must always look out for. As the head of a very fast-growing company, you’re a slave to the business, which has tremendous needs. Either way, you’re constantly hiring, selling, training, negotiating, handholding, cajoling, mollifying, warning, pleading, coaxing, and on and on.
While the experience can be exhilarating, it leaves little time for anything else, least of all thinking about what you really want to do with your business and your life. People who choose to stay private and closely held and to place other goals ahead of growth get two things back in return: control and time. The combination equals freedom – or, more precisely, the opportunity for freedom.”

Nice. The problem is – that’s it from the book. What follows is many stories about what companies that stayed private and didn’t grow just for the growth chose to do – and each of the examples is a little bit different and your case will be different, too. To hear an entrepreneurial story, you can very well listen to an episode of From Scratch. Or – well, yeah – read this book. I warned you, though.

That said, I did find one more notable thing, especially interesting for people from my region:

“Although it’s hard to imagine now, there was a time when it was not considered a compliment to be called ‘entrepreneurial.’ Back in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s, entrepreneurs were generally looked upon as shifty characters with little or no redeeming social value. The media ignored them, academia deplored them, and their companies got no more respect than they did. When people talked about business, they were referring to large, well-established, publicly traded companies. Smaller, private companies were regarded as fringe elements, and therefore unimportant by definition.”