lean isn’t just for startups

You probably already know that I am a huge proponent of lean startup and customer development theory and tactics. One of the main reasons I hung up my consultant hat and took this job at Zappos, was to explore practicing customer development in a big company. We still act like a startup sometimes, but after 11 years, 2000+ employees, and a good “exit” (aka next chapter), I think it is safe to say we are more like a big company than a startup.

I can’t wait to share more about what I am learning about applying customer development in a big company, but lets just say I’m happy to be too busy doing it to talk about it. Fortunately, the godfather has some thoughts to share about Solving the Innovator’s Dilemma – Customer Development in a Big Company. (No, really, go read that now.)

“The single biggest reason companies fail, is that they overinvest in what is, as opposed to what might be.”

[ via Gary Hamel ]

The best part for me is, rather than fighting the organization, I’m surfing the culture of my organization. My CEO just sent this article out to the management list:

[Big companies fail] not necessarily because they didn’t see the coming innovations, but because they failed to adequately invest in those innovations. To avoid this problem, the people who control large pools of capital need to act more like venture capitalists, and less like corporate finance departments. They need to make lots of bets, not just a few big ones, and they need to be willing to cut their losses.

[ via The End of Management – WSJ.com ]