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Are you getting through?

Posted by Sri Subramanian (@whosissri) on November 19, 2011

Big companies have a poor reputation as workplaces. At big companies, one spends time on crap. Big companies have politics. Big companies are bureaucratic.

Yet, every small company that dares to dream, wants to become a big company one day.

Facebook tries to connect these two worlds by calling itself the world’s biggest start up. They want to be a big company, but one that feels like a small company.

Most bigger companies got bigger by being successful. They often make bigger profits per employee than start ups, and thus by some measure, have more productive people. The difference is not productivity (though it seems like that, when things relatively simple require herculean effort).

The real difference is that, in a smaller company, it is simpler to keep everyone on the same page, especially as the page turns.  In a bigger company, where information has to travel far, where it sometimes mutates as it covers that distance, smart people can, in good faith, easily make poor choices.

The successful people know this, and learn to communicate, not just speak. It is not what was said, it is what was understood. Learning the language of others can reduce that herculean effort a little.

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