Why Large Corporations Fail

Quick introductory disclosure: I hold no feelings against the corporations I am going to mention in this blog post. My feelings are based on the number of employees, size of company, and other things that don’t directly influence how the companies are run.

First of all, I personally love working in start-ups. The atmosphere in the start-up environment is fun, exciting, and you work closely with a great group of individuals. For example, Qik (the company I work for – see my Colophon for the full disclosure) is a start-up that streams live video from the latest mobile phones (Nokia S60 series, Windows Mobile, and iPhone OS X) to the internet with almost no delay. (Although I am an employee of Qik , Inc., I was a user before I was hired, and my views have never changed since I became an employee.) In comparison, a colleague of mine just started working for Yahoo! three months ago, and he does Operations there. After 3 months of working at Yahoo, he got to see the data center. At Qik and other start-ups, it takes about a day or less then a day to get inside the data center – which shows how closely the members of a startup work together. One attribute of working at smaller startups that I like is that you don’t need to go to a separate building or pick up the phone to talk to a co-worker – most people are in the same work area. At Qik, most of the time we just yodel (thank the thesaurus) over to the next desk.

Another very key thing that keeps me away from working at large corporations is features and ideas. With start-ups, once you have an an idea, all you need to do is say that your going to do it, and just work on implementing in. With large corporations, you have to submit a feature request, wait until it gets approved, then wait for the “Project/Product Manger” to tell the developers what to work on, which can take months! Start-ups are much more focused, and know what their goals and ambitions are. Big corporations know what they want to do, or should I say the Project Manager does. With start-ups, there isn’t in the development team in early stages a “Project/Product Manger” who tells the development team what projects they should channel their efforts towards.

All in all, what I am trying to say is I like to know everyone who I work with, not be seperated into one of a vast number of departments. If I work at Yahoo!, I highly doubt I will know all the 15,000+ employees, but in a smaller company like Qik, I know everyone on the team. What is your opinion? Would you rather work in a startup or a large corporation? Share your thoughts in a comment below.

7 thoughts on “Why Large Corporations Fail

  1. It depends on what you value. Some people don’t want to take the risk of working with a start-up and would rather bet on what they perceive to be a sure thing: working for a large corporation. But as lay-offs at Yahoo and Starbucks show, risk is everywhere. Still, not everyone is entrepreneurial or interested in knowing the people they work with – they just want to put their heads down, churn out work, and leave it all at the office at the end of the day. I can understand this approach, especially if the person has a lot going on outside of work (such as caring for children or elderly parents, or heavy involvement in a hobby or even their own start-up). Also, some people want to work for a large corporation because they feel it looks good on their resume – in the eyes of some, there is credibility in having been hired by a well known, sizable organization.

    If you value the ability to work with people you know and like, the autonomy and trust that lets you get things done, and the opportunity to turn ideas into reality (not to mention the chance to make some money when there’s an exit), start-up life is the way to go. But not everyone values those things as much as you or I may.

  2. Daniel, I’ve worked for non-profits(<40), large corporations (5000+) and small companies (<100).

    While there is much appeal to working for a small company where your contributions seem to impact the bottom line on a daily basis, I have also seen where that environment can hinder a small company’s ability to grow. A close-knit group of individuals forget how to lead and next thing you know growth is at a standstill because now everything is by consensus because no one wants to hurt someone else’s feelings.

    On the flip-side, working in a large corporation, you feel that your voice is never heard. You are lost in a sea of employees. In order to gain any saneness, you have to keep your mind focused strictly on your department otherwise you lose focus.

    As you travel through the corporate ladders of a small start-up or the elevators of the huge towers in a corporation you only have one question you need to answer: Are you happy and do you feel you are contributing to YOUR success. πŸ™‚

  3. I would have to say that I agree, but I also don’t think that either of us has enough experience to make a qualified decision. While there are thousands of disgruntled employees in large corporations, there are tons of happy, productive workers in more proactive, forward-thinking companies, like Google (and many more, which we probably don’t know about.)

  4. @SkyFire: Of course you count as Teens in Tech Staff! πŸ™‚

    @JackieDanicki: I think I based this blog post of my opinion. I worked in a semi-large corporation before working at Qik which was called Remend, and I was on the IT staff. There were about 75-100 people working for the company, and at times, it was really hectic, kind of like a start up. With a start-up you know that you are building something that can possibly change the world in one way. The start-up atmosphere is something that I enjoy, and I love working with you at Qik πŸ™‚

    @ScottInTheOC: Thats exactly what I am saying with large corporations. If you want to change something, your voice isn’t going to get heard unlike in a start-up. Seeing that I am only 15, I still have a LONG way to go until I really know what working full time is πŸ™‚ My dream of working for Apple still stands πŸ˜‰

    @MaxNorman: Max, your correct. Neither of us have enough to experience to judge what it really means to work in a large corporation, but I do know what it feels like to work in a start-up, and a medium sized company. As time comes, we will know more and more about the fields that we are in. Only time can tell πŸ˜‰

  5. I would have to agree that working in a start-up would be much better because as you said, your “voice can be heard,” and at start-ups they are not closed-minded to new ideas. Start-ups will basically want to try any new idea you throw at them. Although I have never worked for either type of company, that is my opinion on which type of company I would rather be a part of.

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