Pitfalls of large corporations – how to kill your company

While many believe they know the secret to growing their company and publish amazing books on culture, strategy and how to scale, I find it interesting there are no books on how to lose. In this musing, I will explore a few of the things that I have seen in my career that signal things are moving in a poor direction.

The impetus of this discourse began today as I read the latest Stratechery Daily Update. It mentioned an article in the New York Times about the cracks being seen in Google. This paragraph stood out to me:

“Fifteen current and former Google executives, speaking on the condition of anonymity for fear of angering Google and Mr. Pichai, told The New York Times that Google was suffering from many of the pitfalls of a large, maturing company — a paralyzing bureaucracy, a bias toward inaction and a fixation on public perception.”

I read that as the 3 major pitfalls of large organizations and it caused me to pause and think back on my own experiences. Having been through startup, growth, acquisition, going public etc. I wanted to see how that matched up with what I have seen and I would agree those are 3 of the major items, although there are many more I could add to the list:
– infighting/disagreements amongst employees
– folks “kingdom building” which I define as trying to amass as many things as possible to say they control
– backstabbing other employees deemed as competition in the workplace, if you can make them weak, you can take their power away
– no clear mission/objective set by the CEO
– making short sighted decisions to try and make the numbers work for investors

I would say the last item on the list seems to make the largest influence on poor behavior. Making short-sighted decisions is akin to fixation on public perception in that if you are always focused on the needs of things external to the business, you are not focusing on the internal needs. This causes leaders and employees alike to focus on making others happy vs. making employees and customers happy. When you do so, employee satisfaction drops, the care and quality of the product are impacted and customers feel that through poor customer experiences with the product and when interacting with company employees.

How many times do we allow a loud voice on Twitter, an individual in our industry, a politician or some other external force to drive our decision making? How many entrepreneurs would build anything of value if they followed suit and listened to the naysayer? How do businesses reach a plateau in which they are afraid to innovate and would rather placate?

My last question is, how can you think through this and view your business?

Keto Foods

Its crazy to think that I started doing a Ketogenic diet back in 2016. When I did it, nobody had a clue what I was talking about yet I lost about 50lbs over a 3 month period. It was like magic. I ate all of the meats, dairy, and low carb things I wanted and never felt hungry. The hardest thing for me was cutting out bread. However, I found I could eat a lot of things, I just had to be creative. Since the original 3 month period, I try to do Keto for 6 weeks about every 6 months. Here are some pictures of things I enjoy while doing this diet:

 

 

I also eat a TON of salads. Usually I have a protein shake in the morning, A lunch (most of the pictures above) and then for dinner a huge salad with a protein (steak, chicken, etc.).

Some people think its hard to eat this way while on the road or eating out, but really, a Baconator sans bun and catsup is a pretty easy meal. You can even just dump out a few tacos and add some sauce to it and you are good to go. Above you will see a breakfast burrito that I had minus the tortilla and I asked them not to add any potato. It worked out fantastically well.

Jimmy Johns has a great low carb lettuce wrapped selection of sandwiches, BBQ joints are simply amazing (I just season with salt and pepper, no sauce), and then there is always eggs, bacon and others.

Music, Nashville and Things

Growing up I always took music for granted. To me it was just something everyone had and did. Now that I have traveled around the country and visited areas around the world I have realized how blessed I was to have music readily at my fingertips. I grew up in a musical family, my mother played the flute and piano, my father sang and played guitar as well as bass.

I had the opportunity to take piano lessons and composed a few songs that I am still quite proud of. Some day I may even record them to share, but for now, there are a few folks who have heard them. They are a way for me to share the feelings inside and express them to the outside.

I was also part of a singing group and took lessons. I think we did a few Christmas concerts and things and I even remember visiting an old folks home and getting to sing for a large audience of families and their loved ones there. Along with this, I always sang in my church’s children’s choir and have sang off and on in my church choir as an adult.

I had an opportunity to visit Nashville, TN for work and a good friend took us to visit Curb Records, an amazing recording studio that has had hundreds of musicians recorded there, many of whom you have heard. As a matter of fact, Dylan Scott who has a #1 song My Girl was there recording some radio spots. I got to shake his hand and meet him when he finished up.

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This experience got me thinking about music and I searched and finally found some of my old recordings we did way back in my teenage years. I have a few here for you to listen to:

“Gruff” (James, Andrew and Dave)

1. One of our best songs is Nothing More:

2. Our hit that was actually on the radio in Mississippi: Leper Love

and from my first band as a teenager “The Squishy” (James, Ryan and Newton)

3. (Cream – Sunshine cover) WARNING, SKIP TO 40 seconds or listen to pointless noise

Sorry for the poor recordings, those were done on a 4 track during live jam sessions at my house so they are not studio quality. I hope you enjoy them, they make me smile.

 

Life, Work, Thoughts and Projects

I have been meaning to begin writing a blog both as a creative outlet and as a way to journal the happenings of my life. As you read my ramblings I hope you find what you came searching for. The opinions expressed here are my own and are just that, one random person’s thoughts and feelings that are flawed due to the nature of who I am and my upbringing. If I offend you, I am sorry, if I share something of value, take it and pass it along.  We are all a compilation of the people we meet and interact with, hopefully our interaction will be a positive one for you.