SAP Analogy

McGlynn: Start-up Companies are like Weeds

Jessica Thornsby

Solution Expert for SAP Strategy Management Bob McGlynn has blogged about the differences between start-up companies and long-standing organisations.

In his opinion, start-up companies are like weeds: they appear from nowhere, grow quickly, dry up and die. Meanwhile, he sees large companies as oak trees. They have deep roots and, although their branches may occasionally shake in the breeze, the oak tree itself doesn’t move. Of course, this isn’t always the case. He admits that small companies can have roots, just as some large companies can be innovative, and that the trick is to take the best from both worlds. He cites his previous employer as an example: a young company, based on twenty year old software. The company had to perform a delicate balancing act of maintaining a portfolio of “legacy” clients, who used older versions of the company’s software, whilst pushing out enough new releases and updates to keep the newer customers happy. McGlynn calls this “ strengthening your base while expanding your markets.”

But, he points out, nothing in life is guaranteed. “Sometimes even from the branches of the big tree, you find yourself back in the weeds,” he says, giving the example of a friend’s large, ‘oak tree’ company being acquired by an even bigger oak tree.

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