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Author Topic:   "Lead, follow or get out of the way.": On being ruthlessly small...
Black belt
posted 04-12-1999 11:32 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jim_Salmons   Click Here to Email Jim_Salmons     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
You have heard it said, "Lead, follow or get out of the way!" It is usually in the context of some arrogant jerk who thinks he is the leader. But there is a very real, and different, truth in those same words.

Free markets evolve into three tiers; the Winner, second place (usually positioned as "The Opposite" of whatever wins), and everybody else. It is the "kicking and biting" that goes on among the everybody else that is the world in which most of us live.

This leads me to a clarification about nanocorps. I have said that they are "ruthlessly small." That doesn't imply aggressive action on others. It means that a nanocorp is committed, ruthlessly committed, to a "no growth" policy. Its founder/owners are a nanocorp's only "employees."

It is only when you do not lust for accretive (accumulative) growth that you can truly exercise discretion, which is the analog of power.

What the heck does that mean, Jim, you are thinking. It sounds like a bunch of rhetorical baloney. But, truly, it is not.

By not being beholding to anyone, you lose your sense of victimness. In a Cheers and jeers post, I confessed that I respect Microsoft. I selectively use their products, but I take no oath of allegiance to them or any other megacorp that would have me believe that I have limited choices.

I do expect that Microsoft, like anybody else trying to be Top Dog, will do its best to convince me that I have no reasonable choice other than to do business with them. But it is mostly Peter Principled management, looking for the safe and worry-free road to job security, that fall for that pitch. Nanocorpers, we small business revolutionaries, cannot afford to be so lame.

This is the "different drummer" perspective on the "...or get out of the way" portion of that popular saying I mentioned. As a nanocorp, we revel in "getting out of the way." Microsoft, or any big company, doesn't know we exist or care. We like it that way.

We live in the cracks, between the battles of the titans. We don't care who the Winner is, only that the ensuring competition in the marketplace produce utility to us for what it is that we want to do.

By preserving and exercising our Free Will, we are nobody's chattel, and we are not victims. Being ruthlessly small is a means to Freedom.

And that Freedom brings with it responsibility. A nanocorp cannot expect to succeed merely by using today's basic SOHO office computer technology in conventional ways. We have to leverage our effectiveness through such cutting edge methods as executable business model technologies. We have to amplify our personal effectiveness with model-based office automation systems.

Timlynn and I continually scout the terrain, exercise new products and select our "bag of tricks du jour." We don't care if Microsoft makes it, the Opera folks or Ian Mead; large or small, they are all equal in our book. All a product has to do is pass muster with us in terms of our needs.

It is a new ball game every time that product selection decision is made. Such an attitude is not possible in the world of conventional business. But, by being a nanocorp, Timlynn and I have committed to not live in that world where "cost of ownership" and "enterprise standards" overrule the simple choice of "what's the best tool for the job today."

And the more we live this nanocorp life, the happier we become.

[This message has been edited by Timlynn_Babitsky (edited 03 August 1999).]

White belt
posted 05-06-1999 12:28 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for dave   Click Here to Email dave     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I am put in mind of Harry Harrison's classic "Stainless Steel Rat" science fiction series.

The "hero" is a criminal - a non-conformist in a culture of relentless, oppressive conformity. Like the nano-corporation of today, the "stainless steel rat" of the future exists in the wainscotting, lurking in the shadows only to occasionally zip out to grab a bit of something tasty, then disappearing again.

Perhaps it is not the self-image most would aspire to, but I think the mindset and the outlook are admirable.

To carry the animal metaphor to another extreme, we are surrounded by a culture of sheep, harried from place to place by wolves.

Can we not be foxes? Too small and harmless to annoy the wolves. Too weak and wary to harm the sheep. Happily getting fat on the stuff that both sheep and wolves overlook.

(I live in the woods, and see a remarkable number of sheep, wolves and foxes in the run of a typical day. I suppose the same could be said of someone in downtown L.A....B^))


Black belt
posted 05-07-1999 11:00 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jim_Salmons   Click Here to Email Jim_Salmons     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Dave, I like the fox metaphor. Not only is the implication of being "too small to bother with" appropriate, but there is the "crazy like a fox" colloquialism which is very apt as well.

Being a nanocorp is all about finding a niche and exploiting a leadership position in that limited domain.

Living "in the cracks" between market titans does not mean that we are relegated to obscurity or mere subsistence. It means being smart enough to find your place in the order of things so that you can survive long-term and capitalize on opportunities as they occur.

An excellent example of how not to do it... Netscape. The huge egos at Netscape could not keep their mouths shut early on... like Dan Ackroyd, in the ancient SNL skit, taunting the bear with a marshmallow in his mouth and wondering why his face was mauled. Netscape's talk of blowing Microsoft out of the water was a clear case of saying too much too soon.

Netscape simply did not have the firepower to back up their bold talk. Then they wonder why Microsoft hit back and hit back hard. Hey, it's capitalism, non-lethal combat. Don't taunt the bear until you have a howitzer in your back pocket. Or, like the nanocorper, simply avoid the areas frequented by grizzlies.

[This message has been edited by Jim_Salmons (edited 07 May 1999).]

Black belt
posted 08-03-1999 11:34 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Timlynn_Babitsky   Click Here to Email Timlynn_Babitsky     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
When you are Hungry, all you can think about is getting your next meal.

When you ache to be 'the Winner' there has to be a 'loser'.

When more is better is the myth that drives you, "never enough" is the emptiness that grinds you.

Lead? Follow? . . . or walk a different way.

dan page
White belt
posted 09-09-1999 08:32 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for dan page   Click Here to Email dan page     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
By being unaware during the evening hours i was not paying as close attetion as would warrent to a telephone request for my business by QWEST. Witlessly following directions I imaged the offer to be straight forward and ethical. How simple does the mind get when sated belly and drfting sleep dreams are the rule of the moment.
Oh the truth did come slow throught the mail telling me of the wonderous finacial gain and then there in the final page was a little box stating local calls to be more then twice the offered rates and look there are the in-state calls at more then twice the rate.
Perhaps I should thank them for it did lead me to your site and pushed me into connecting with like minded people who don't like it when the big guys think I have a nonfunctioning brain and I must live within their cocoons.
Well now you know that I have a different carrier for telephone service. This is because I am tired of the big guys acting as politicans who say what I want to heard and then do as the big guys say.
Thanks guys it is a good thinking site you have here.


White belt
posted 10-10-1999 02:54 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for JoshZeidner   Click Here to Email JoshZeidner     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
"You must become the change you wish to see in the world" - Mahatma Ghandi

I like this word "nanocorp"- describes what kind of role I have been playing lately. What I have seen of the software industry is too few people providing the real innovation and thousands( millions ) simply living in the rotting carapace of the older "industrial" society( please excuse my rhetoric- I have had some REALLY bad jobs lately ). We need people like *all you reading this* to help make a new economy and a new workplace- where the intellegent and industrious do not feel powerless.

- Josh Zeidner

"the world is constructed of thought"

Black belt
posted 10-10-1999 07:02 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jim_Salmons   Click Here to Email Jim_Salmons     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote

Thank you for taking the time and interest to join in the discussions here at the dojo. Yes, there is a lot of shared experience forcing lots of folks, like you and us, to think radically differently about everything.

Why go into a New Millennium doing the same old thing? If there every was a time to reinvent ourselves, this is it... and it very exciting.

We 'hung out the shingle' about nanocorps to see if it was just us thinking these contrarian thoughts. We knew we couldn't build much of a community if nobody thought they belonged to it.

Well, Josh, like you say, a bunch of us are out there and we will figure out how to collaborte in ways that in no way resemble 'business as usual'. It is a most extraordinary time.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

White belt
posted 10-10-1999 07:52 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for JoshZeidner   Click Here to Email JoshZeidner     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Do I smell "MONDO 2000"?

Your guys angle is very reminiscent of the mag "Mondo 2000"- a few years after it came out another mag called "Wired" came along and forced Mondo out of that niche... oh well c'est la vie.

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