Dear CEO, it’s time to let your people go. To Silicon Valley. To build disruptive ventures.
The rise of incubators, accelerators and a critical mass of successful serial entrepreneurs has played a positive role in driving methodology and rigor into the process of building startups. That discipline has increased both the pace of growth and disruption, and shortened the time to learning. Steve Blank, successful serial entrepreneur, turned professor, investor and mentor, has done the hard work of codifying the mythology into a methodology, giving rise to the Lean Startup movement. Alex Osterwalder has done the same with his corollary, Business Model Canvas.
Everything Steve is writing about startups is 100% applicable to the Global 1000. Steve’s recent blog post, “Why Build, Measure, Learn — Isn’t Just Throwing Things Against the Wall To See If They Work,” is yet another relevant example of this. In it, Steve compares the “old” (but still tenacious in big companies) product waterfall approach to the MVP/Build-Measure-Learn method. MVP as an approach is as applicable to large companies as it is to ones just starting out.
Dave McClure’s 500 Startups, just hosted an amazing Weapons of Mass Distribution event attended by over 500 people. With few to perhaps zero of the Global 1000 in attendance (except our clients’ new ventures), no wonder Dave believes that all dinosaurs are going to die (because they can’t innovate).
At mach49, we completely disagree. Dave is suitably provocative, but wrong.
There is no reason Global 1000 companies cannot innovate from within and create meaningful growth — in fact we think they’re better equipped to succeed than baby unicorns. The G1000 has ideas, talent, brand, customers, channels, technology, resources, and global reach. There is no reason Marriott couldn’t have created Airbnb, Blockbuster couldn’t have morphed into Netflix, Avis couldn’t have invented Uber or any of the big financial institutions couldn’t have launched Lending Club (which went public last fall with a $9 billion valuation).
The internal entrepreneurs and ideas exist in every single large company, they just need to be unleashed — which means the headquarters (which we lovingly refer to as the “mothership”) needs to do the hard work alongside their new ventures to remove the obstacles, inertia and antibodies that often kill new ideas and internal startups, or, at the very least, starve them of oxygen.
Recently, I was introducing a top global bank from Australia to a host of Silicon Valley insiders and they were struck by this quote from Paul Holland, Partner at Foundation Capital, “In the old days the G1000 didn’t really pay that much attention to the Silicon Valley because we were too busy inventing new industries — software, semiconductors, etc. — today though, we are focused on disrupting every single existing industry, including yours.”
The bottom line?
The Global 1000 missed out on huge opportunities that were in front of them.
Startups are now coming for them.
The idea that big companies can’t innovate is a myth.
And the not-so-secret secret—it’s not that hard.
It’s time for the Global 1000 C-suite to listen!
It’s time for your leaders to get out, to go attend the 500 Startups conference or the N number of other meetups, conferences, symposiums, enterprise forums, etc. that exist in Silicon Valley for people to share, to learn, to make serendipitous connections. And no, doing the corporate tourism thing and getting your picture taken in front of the Facebook sign or on the Google bike is not what we mean. It’s time to incubate a new venture with mach49 — the first Silicon Valley incubator focused on creating, building and launching new ventures generated from within the Global 1000 — or on your own.
And oh by the way, for the rest of you, while we Silicon Valley natives love where we live and live what we do, the world wants the G1000 to learn how to innovate in a lean, agile and perpetual way. Most of the population still works in large companies. If they live to be 110 that means working in those companies for even longer —we want people to feel alive, creative, purposeful, whether in a start up or in a big company. Beyond that, the world needs the Global 1000 to innovate because they have the scale and reach to move the needle on the big problems facing the globe — whether it’s climate change, health care, poverty, water, energy, or education. That’s why if a G1000 client has a social entrepreneurship venture they are contemplating, we will bundle that in for free.
We don’t believe the Global 1000 will go the way of the dinosaurs—we believe they are giants, and at mach49 we’re waking them up!
Note: Commentary by Linda Yates, Founder and CEO of mach49. If you like what you just read, please hit the green “Recommend” button below so that others might stumble upon this story. For more stories like this, scroll down and follow mach49 or visit www.mach49.com