Why Startups Work

Susie AlmaneihThere’s no doubting the positively correlative relationship between the development of startup companies and the openness and flexibility of the market. As information becomes more readily available and easier to exchange, people have greater potential for creation resting at their feet and in the palms of their hands. Whereas traditional and ordinarily large enterprises sought to maximize profits through campaigns based upon working harder, startups resonate more naturally with the fast-paced flow of society, encouraging smarter work—efficiency that doesn’t rely plainly on time in the office or hours spent on a project, but rather on innovative ways around traditionally bulky formulae. Big corporations are slowed by sheer size and the implicit bureaucracy of complicated, multilevel organization. When every day witnesses some form of innovation (and the voracity for ceaseless improvement) there isn’t time to waste. Big businesses should do what they can to familiarize themselves with the aspects of startups that make them fit so well in the financial realm that thrives today. In fact, a trend of many big businesses is exactly that: to reorganize internally in order to mimic strategies of startups.

One example of a big company that has crafted a workplace atmosphere similar to that of a startup is Pixar. Whereas many large companies are inclined to stasis and suffocating pigeonholing, Pixar limits specialization by encouraging group efforts on a wide range of skills from analytical strategizing to creative marketing. Staff members, all offering a different perspective and skill set, come together to work on the same project in smaller, more agile groups. While the process is novel and atypical for a top corporation, the innovative willingness to take risks is a defining element evokes the unpredictable charm of startups.

The advantages of disintegration of a static hierarchy are many, but perhaps the most obvious is mobility. Companies can gain awareness of and quash competition as it arises if internal flexibility and adaptability is high. A company that takes time to scale hierarchical ladders for unnecessary authoritative decisions wastes time that could be spent gathering feedback, pivoting, reevaluating, and recreating.