Tuesday, April 12, 2011

What I learn from my decision to stay away from the biggies

Throughout my career so far, I've chosen to work with smaller (even call them start-up-like) outfits. And now acting as an independent consultant, I can say that I'm working for a start-up again.

Why did I choose to do so? Premises & assumptions?

First, the premises:
  1. I have a far greater propensity to take risks, accept challenges and get adventurous (in spite of the fact that I panic a lot)
  2. I get bored much too soon. Situations without challenges just make me go to sleep at unusual times. In fact, my days becomes blighted if there isn't an engrossing situation at hand
  1. Bigger organizations (and agencies) are very hierarchy-driven and therefore, rigid
  2. There are fewer challenges
  3. Growth, in terms of learning, is limited
  4. They are safe (in terms of job security and related factors)
Probably I've tested the following hypotheses through my career moves:
  1. Joining smaller organizations will offer more challenges. Consequently I will be able to apply myself far better and derive results through my application/dedication
  2. There would be far more learning and far lesser boredom
  3. I'll be able to sell (on the basis of my understanding, skills and thinking prowess) much better
  1. Bigger organizations have great people. Bigger agencies have great people. The two match each other in terms of size and competence. Naturally the two deliver together. It isn't thinking that matters. One good person's thinking is all it takes. Where the matter is one of volumes, what matters is the capacity to execute.
  2. 'Sense of safety' is a far greater lure than 'sense of pursuing challenges'. Even for the greatest thinking minds.
  3. Big organizations are big today coz they had great thinking, juggling, talking, selling minds to begin with and they still have the minds which can manage things at a massive scale. No mean feat.
  4. Managing scale and thinking great ideas are two entirely different things. I must concede, managing scale is tougher than thinking great ideas. Managing scale is a challenge and is more important (definitely, can say that in the shorter run) than thinking great ideas.
  5. Living within a hierarchy and squeezing oneself through it all is also a commendable challenge.
  6. Brands are bigger than individual abilities. Bigger organizations are brands. Siddharth Soni isn't yet. Brands reached there earlier. Brands sell far more easily than Siddharth Soni's understanding/thinking prowess/selling abilities.
  7. If smaller organizations stay small even after some time, perhaps they didn't have the best thinking, juggling, talking, selling minds. 
So, is there any emancipation? :)

Of course, out of all the curious and the adventure-seeking people, out of all the people starting start-ups, some will juggle, talk and balance better. Some will rough it out. Some might just, simply going by probabilities, reach a greater scale and turn into big organizations anyway.

Some may just grow qualitatively, stay small and still command the prices that can match those of any of the biggies. I wonder though what's the way to survive for such people. Living a low-cost, high sacrifice life and keeping the thinking and talking and and juggling and enthusiasm and selling abilities intact. In fact, improve on them. Hope I can give a testimonial story on this in the time to come.

And the realizations here might not be exhaustive!