There's a funny thing about running a company. Regardless of what the advertised "goals" of the company are, the employees know what the real goals are. In fact, it's a lot like a ship: the ship goes where the Captain turns to, not to where the Captain says he is going to.
One thing that many startup founders worry about, is what the startup will look like when it "grows up". Steve Jobs was obsessively concerned that Apple will end up looking like 'IBM'. Like him, many founders look at the established startups in envy: Facebooks looks a lot like Mark Zuckerberg; Amazon looks a lot like Jeff Bezos; Google is the image of Larry and Sergey; Microsoft is still very much in the image of Bill Gates; and the list goes on. How can we make sure our startup grows up with the right culture, behavior and characteristics?
Twitter is a big company. They have over 2,000 employees, more than $300 Million is annual revenues and 500 Million users (one of every 14 people in the world, including babies!). Nobody can deny that twitter is a successful company. They have also recently moved their headquarters into their own building in San Francisco. What can we learn here?
Last week in Israel, a unique conference took place. The speakers were Yanki Margalit, a company CEO that failed to protect his company from a hostile-takeover by a foreign competitor; Not only were the speakers a complete group of failures, but the conference itself had the name "fail-con" (as in: "Failure Conference"). You would expect not too many people will want to learn how to fail from "experts in failures". But you would be wrong?
Remember the story behind Spiderman? Peter Parker is a regular guy, until a radio-active spider bites him. Now he can climb walls, he is stronger than any human and can even see well without glasses. He's super-human. Well, in the startup world founders are a little like that. If you want to keep the analogy, you may say founders got bitten by the startup-bug (not radioactive, usually) and now they have super-powers.
In my last column I wrote that startups should be small: 2-3 people, and that's it. I know how it sounds: you want to compete with a company that has 50, 100 or maybe 10,000 employees. How can you do that with just 2 people? Or maybe your product is so amazing, you need to separate it into 4-5 different projects, each will be revolutionary on its own. You need at least 10 people for that, right?