Moving Quickly & Methodically

Most corporate executives would benefit from joining a startup for three or so months to learn and be exposed to the following:

  1. Being surrounded by builders, not strategists.
  2. Executing at pace without corporate bureaucracy.
  3. Seeing the benefits of using modern tools and technology in pratice.
  4. Experiencing the risk of failure and being allowed to ‘be over their skis’.
  5. Being obsessed with their customers, not competitors.
  6. Making decisions (sometimes with inadaquate data) vs. deferring decisions.
  7. Working without a blueprint or checklist.

I’ve thought about building a company that facilitates this exact model but find gaps I still cannot overcome. For example, I (i) identify one Series B company and one incumbent company; working with the Series B, I (ii) source one specific talent need they have over the next 6’s months, and (iii) match that with an executive from the incumbent company. From there, I (iv) ensure that the two business models don’t overlap (i.e., as there would be worries with IP and idea theft) and facilitate the quarter-long transition. Ensuring that the Series B gets their seasoned SME executive to help on something concrete, that executive would be inoculated to their culture through osmosis – or time in the seat.

Yet are gaps in this model:

  1. Getting incumbent companies to participate would be difficult, as they would not want to be exposed to:
    1. Any possibility of idea theft.
    2. Talent leaving.
    3. Any leaks to the Series B about their company.
  2. Getting startups to participate would be difficult, as they would not want to be exposed to:
    1. Distraction risk when they are already laser focused on producing.
    2. Lengthy onboarding processes of the execs.
    3. Idea theft (both ways).

Although, there could be ways to mitigate those mentioned above.

  1. Only facilitate startup and company matches between non-overlapping industries. For example, financial services and hardware manfacturing, or BioTech and retail serivces.
  2. Ensure that both parties sign indemnity agreements, and other bi-lateral legal safety nets.
  3. Target progressive incumbent companies that lack internal innovation labs (as a strong sourcing pipeline) and startups who are hypergrowth (need senior staff but unable to hire quickly enough).
  4. Ensure that costs are minimal for both startups and indumbents. For example, the executive would recieve this as part of a hybrid sabatical, paying their salary still. For the startup, costs out the door would only be temporary equipment and time.

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