Skip to main content

Business by Committee

Later today I'm hopping in a car with Bear and heading north to see some friends. We've packed a tent and will be camping in one place or another--we don't really know. Bear's contribution to packing the tent has been to pace around me as I gather things--he knows something's up.

The road trip frees the mind to think--if you do it right. I have a lot on my mind right about work and my next steps.

Yesterday I sat in a meeting about social enterprise. The committee wanted to create a business that would hire ex-offenders and teach them work skills and habits, plus give them something real for their resumes. And it would be run by one of the committee members' organizations.

And that's when I spoke up. They were building a business by committee, and assuming that an employee would take ownership like, well, an owner. And that seemed far-fetched to me. And they'd have to create a successful, sustainable business simply to create the opportunity to hire, which I like, but I wouldn't bet on that arrangement getting them there.

It would be better to seek out the existing entrepreneurs, or new ones with the fire in the belly but perhaps a few obstacles. There's something about that drive that you can't expect from someone playing founder; you need a founder. We're all flawed, we all make mistakes.

But there's something that pushes us to work that extra half day when it's needed, to wash the neglected window, to drive out to the smallest customer who had a bad experience because you screwed something up.

You can't get that commitment through business by committee, unless you're extremely lucky.

I came close to signing up as that entrepreneur, but my next gig will be my last tech gig, and I'm looking forward to whatever it is. The road trip will help me think these things through, and we'll see if I start something new or join someone else's thing in a leadership role. They both really appeal to me, but I'm guessing it's obvious what I lean toward.

Time to finishing packing.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Beta Signup

I've been working for quite a while on a new search concept, though the further in I get, the closer the rest of the world gets to what we're doing. So today I'm inviting you to sign up for the rather modest beta, which will be ready soon if we can nail down a few difficult  details. Jawaya is a way of navigating the web and getting better results. And that's as much as I can say right now, because we're not a funded startup, and things are moving really fast in this space--it's going to be very competitive. I predict there will be about 10 funded startups in the next 6 months doing something similar. One of them will be mine, and we aim to make it the best. We're raising a round of capital to fund the team, and are shooting for early sustainability. This is my fifth company; my fourth in the tech space, and my third software company. I think it will be the biggest and can possibly have a positive impact on the world by reducing the amount of time it takes

Where Innovation Happens

As I get closer to a go/no-go decision on a project, I've been thinking about the difference about my vision for the project and the supportive innovations to enable the core innovations The vision combines (in unequal parts) product, core innovation as I imagine it, the application of that core innovation, design, marketing,  developer ecosystem, and business development. The core innovation enables everything else, but it's the application of the innovation that makes it meaningful, useful, and in this case, fun. This week we're testing initial approaches to the implementation for our specific application, and that's where we'll develop the enabling innovations, which is basically where the rubber meets the road. The difference is that the enabling innovation happens at the source of real problems only encountered in the making of something, and in a project like this just getting the essence of it right isn't enough; it also has to be safe, the compone

The Real Jobs Problem

It's the economy, stupid.  Well, yes, it always has been, if you're in the distortion field of politics.  But whose economy? The pundits, the White House, the Republican candidates all miss the mark. They keep talking about debt, taxes, and monetary policy. None of those things tell the real story behind today's economy.  The Old Economy Keynes was right--in the old economy. Economy gets weak, pump some money into the economy through public works projects, which  1) puts people to work, which  2) boosts the economy and  3) generates new tax revenue, while  4) leaving us with another generation of reliable infrastructure to support  5) more growth (for growth's sake, which is another post).  The Beach Ball Imagine a beach ball, partially deflated to represent a recession. Got it? Now imagine the govt pumping that beach ball back up through sensible public investment (which we haven't seen for decades). The New Economy Same beach ball, same pum