Think like a garage entrepreneur

In 1998, a reporter from The New Yorker asked Bill Gates, which of Microsoft’s competitors he feared the most:
»I fear a man in a garage who develops something completely new,« Gates replied.

He had seen history repeat itself again and again. The most deadly attacks on successful companies often come from below, from garage entrepreneurs who think radically differently and contrary to well-established companies, having no existing business to protect.

But actually it was not so much the garage entrepreneur as such that Bill Gates feared the most. It was first and foremost himself. He was very conscious that established and experienced organizations do not fail because they lack resources, but because they become hostages to their own success.

Success changes the language of an organization. Those who once said: »The last thing we do is play it safe,« now say »The last thing we should do is to risk failure.« Those who once said, »Let’s go for a new market and gain an advantage by being first mover,« now say »Let’s wait for the markets to become big enough to meet our needs for growth.«

Sometimes successful companies should evaluate the market on a completely blank sheet of paper. They should take some time out and try and think like a garage entrepreneur: If we had nothing to protect, what would we do?

Posted on 10th Nov 2013 by Rasmus Ankersen

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