One Way to Judge Whether a Small Company is Right for You

Startup Office - Photo: Generation Y Startup

When Larry Page took over Google, he said, “One of the primary goals I have is to get Google to be a big company that has the nimbleness and soul and passion and speed of a start-up.”

Startup Office - Photo: Generation Y StartupThat begs the question: Can a company of Google’s size be nimble and big? Charles Rowe, president and CEO of the Association of Small Business Development Centers, told me he doubted i: “How fast can a thousand wildebeests turn compared to five?”

Though individual units within large companies can be very nimble, their freedom to innovate can be fleeting. Kevin Bedell, managing partner at developer Boston Agile Partners, found this out when he consulted for a large insurance firm. “The real innovation came from a small working group that was charged with Web technologies,” he says. “I think we were able to be innovative because we were under the radar … Being a young department, we had a lot of leeway and no one paid a lot of attention to us. When the department grew and became more visible, it was harder to be innovative.”

Change in IT is now happening as quickly as it was when data was being moved from mainframes to the Web. So the type of technology the company is using may be the best measure of its culture and your fit into it, regardless of size. An enterprise that’s building custom iPad apps for its sales team is likely to be more progressive than the one planning a Windows 7 deployment. To adapt the older phrase, “Don’t judge a company by its size.”

Photo Credit: Generation Y StartUp

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