Most people who start companies these days don’t seem to really want to create lasting ones, the types that will still be around in fifteen years or more. Most entrepreneurs seem to be more focused on getting their startup acquired by a bigger company as quickly as possible, for as much as possible.
And maybe that’s smart, in this time of accelerated change. After all, how can you say that an idea that is successful today will still be in five years or so? Quite possibly it will be obsolete. Quite possibly it will be disrupted by some new entrant into the playing field. Maybe it’s better to get acquired, lock in the gains, and get on with things. That does seem smart.
But what if you want to create a company that persists, that grows, that you can build and work on for the next twenty years? What if you want to create something lasting?
How do you do that in these times?
I think the only way you can hope to do it is to create a company that is heavily biased toward continual innovation. A company that is about innovation.
Not about creating one single innovation and building a company around that, but about creating continual innovation. A company that is about innovating on top of itself. A company that continually seeks to render its own self obsolete with new products and ideas.
A company that seeks to disrupt its own market, a market that it may already have a big share of.
I think that’s the only way to stay on top of this wave of change for any extended period of time without getting bumped off by other, newer players.
I know a few companies that operate this way. If I ever start a company again, that’s the kind of company I would look to start.
If, on the other hand, you’re going to innovate once early on, and try to ride that idea out as a company, you might as well go the acquisition route and sell as quickly as possible. Otherwise how could your days not be numbered?
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