Intrapreneur

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Intrapreneur

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Guy Kawasaki is good. I mean really, really, really good.

I started reading his blog almost as soon as he started writing it because … well, the Kawasaki chic, right? The ineffable aura of Apple coolness, even ex post facto. And the attractive seductiveness of a venture capitalist, one of those magical beings that bestow money on mere mortals.

Then, of course, my hard drive crashed, and I lost all my RSS feeds, bookmarks, etc., and I kind of forgot about Guy. (I sure hope he pronounces that as rhyming with bee, by the way. That’s the Only Right Way™.) That was a mistake.

He recently hit my radar screen again, just as I was starting a revisioning process in Premier home & family, my baby. And he’s not going to drop off it, this time.

Today I spent a chunk of time on his blog, and what really caught my eye this time was this article about intrapreneurship … being an entrepreneur within a large organization.

It’s not easy, you know. Those Aerons aren’t nearly as comfortable as they’re cracked up to be. (Umm … small joke. I only wish …)

Here’s his list of to-do’s for intrapreneurs:

  • kill the cash cows
  • reboot your brain
  • find a separate building
  • hire infected people
  • put the company first
  • stay under the radar
  • collect and share data
  • dismantle when done

Read his post for details – it’s worth your time.

The toughest one, of course, is killing the cash cows. This is the standard innovator’s dilemma: I’m making millions from buggy whips … how can I go to making thousands on automobile tires?

The reality is that somehow, most companies have to transition their mainline showcase products every decade or so as time and technology obsolete them. The hardest part is going from being the ultimately adapted lean mean king of your (diminishing but still very profitable) space to being just one of the contenders, not too well adapted, not lean, not mean, and probably not even as profitable – at least at first. The urge to protect is so strong and so (seemingly) natural that most companies never make it onto the next curve.

Intrapreneurship might just be the way for dinosaurs to evolve.

The alternative is Sony-fication. Walkman, anyone?


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