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I have seen this problem first hand in a startup.

I theorize that it is related to size/scale, which disassociates causes and effects across time and groups.

My solution is to keep companies as small as possible




I've been thinking about this problem for a long time, but have come to realize that keeping groups small has its own major shortcoming. Namely, it limits the ability of the group to achieve greater things. The larger the group, the more influence it has and generally the more resources it has too.

There are also plenty of counter examples in corporations and governments throughout history where the size of the organization has not affected its ability to achieve its goals or compete with smaller organizations. Therefore, I think the issue and solution lies elsewhere. Somewhere between accountability, culture and trust.


Given the force-multiplying factors of technology, more and more can be accomplished by fewer and fewer people. IBM > Google > Facebook > Instagram

That's not to say I disagree with you completely: large corporations can achieve things small ones cannot (especially as you move out of software) but I've seen plenty of talk around accountability, culture and trust, and very few results.


I agree that more may be accomplished with less in certain circumstances aided by technology. One could go as far as to say one day management and governance may be taken over by machines (fun thought experiment: ponder the ramifications for democracy when machines are capable of making better decisions than humans). I think we're a ways away from that still, but the future is exciting.

Sure there's plenty of talk around accountability and proper management without much substance and I don't claim I have any specific solutions in mind to the problem. I think keeping organizations small (i.e. tribalism) is one hack that may help, but comes with different considerations as I mentioned.




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