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Subject:  Re: why do start-ups fail? Date:  8/1/2000  1:36 PM
Author:  TMFOak Number:  4806 of 10416

>I jsut read this article, and I can tell you from
>experience, that is exactly right. I worked for a 12
>man startup from 94-97, I was the twelfth guy. When I
>left, the infantry was moving in (which is essentially
>why I left). And I was one of the last commandos to
>go. All but one member of upper management had already
>left. That article was right on!

This doesn't necessarily mean the company in question was doomed, per se. More that it's a likely acquisition target.

Without commandos, it'll probably have trouble diversifying its product line, entering new markets, and reacting to competition. Still, with a profitable product line and room to grow in their market they can continue along their established trejectory for quite some time.

Unfortunately, it's almost guaranteed to top out. Commandos are pathfinders. When you hit the end of the current road, they're the ones that can find a new direction. The infantry play "follow the leader", when they head off in a new direction they're only going to find anything by blind luck, most of the time they'll hit a brick wall or wind up in a desert or simply end up back where they started.

Infantry MIGHT be able to find new uses for a well established product in a well established market. (I'm talking about the level of "using stereo speakers for PC sound cards circa 1995" here.) If it's a REAL OBVIOUS job with no disagreement about what the right thing is to do, then maybe.

But trying to get infantry to do a commando's job usually gives you a "beaches of normandy" type situation, where you have to throw insane amounts of resources at the project to make any progress, and usually it succumbs to the "too many cooks" effect. It can be done, but governments are more likely to use this kind of tactic than corporations. (Normandy itself, and of course the NASA moon launches, which actually managed to have a few commandos because it was that compelling of a project (and it attracted enough infantry to insulate neil armstrong and buzz aldrin from the bureaucrats...) Come to think of it, I guess that's how a lot of the big "massive corporate effort" type things succeed, sneaking in a few commandos (naieve new hires in the right place at the right time) in the confusion. :)

Of course if a third wave company tries to do this, they'll probably never make it out of england. They'll spend forever arguing