The world has changed in ways that most of us just didn’t expect it to. A couple of decades ago, monopolization was a real problem. Well established companies were too successful, and smaller enterprises often had a very tough time competing with them. This was most because of the fact that smaller companies couldn’t pay as much to bigger companies so the big fish were always able to scoop up the real talent. Big corporations regularly made game changing decisions in the world of business, so it was very difficult for smaller companies to compete.
Now, however, we live in the age of the startup. Technology has made everything a lot more egalitarian than it used to be, especially the world of business. Startups are now able to create incredibly innovative products, market them to an audience that is desperate for what they have to offer, and soar to the very top before the big fish realize what hit them. This means that the brain drain that was occurring before is no longer as much of an issue as well. Graduates from amazing universities are now more likely to work for smaller startups because they know that said startup could very well become the next big thing.
A lot of people laud this turn of events because it breeds competition, and competition leads to innovation and is generally a very positive situation for consumers. However, corporations and startups also need to realize that they can do a lot of absolutely incredible things if they were to set aside their differences for some time and work together instead. The reason for this is that corporations and startups are, in a way, two halves of the same whole, even though many might refute the validity of this statement.
Startups are the upstarts and daredevils who, through their efforts and determination, end up achieving a lot more with a lot less than what corporations tend to have. Corporations on the other hand tend to have a kind of aura of establishment and security, and this allows them to play the long game thanks to the information and experience that they have. If corporations treat startups with some respect and if startups stop looking at corporations as kings whose thrones they have to take, their collaboration could really push their respective fields to a whole new level.
Besides, it can be argued that both parties stand to gain a lot from their partnership, and even if they don’t collaborate they could end up losing as much as they are losing right now. Corporations are being seen as old fashioned and unnecessary, a place where creativity goes to die. Startups, on the other hand, generally struggle to match corporations in terms of scalability. They have the creativity and daring, but not the experience that would see them through. Hence, it is pretty clear that both parties would be able to fill in each other’s gaps quite nicely.
The Problem With Corporations
Not too long ago, if you wanted to be successful in the world of business there was a pretty easy way for you to go about it. First of all, you needed to go to business school. Going for internships during your time at business school was a good way to get a foot in the door with a company, allowing you to get a full time job after graduation. You would work your way up the corporate ladder, spend a few decades at the company, and then you would retire with a party and a cake and spend the last couple of decades of your life relaxing.
Now, however, the world of startups is starting to show prospective employees that the world does not have to be so black and white, bland and boring. Startup culture is exciting, adventurous and of course there is a lot of thrill in being associated with the little guy. Startups are David, and the big corporations they are taking down are all Goliaths. The stone in these little Davids’ slingshots are the various aspects of technology that are allowing startups to level the playing field so drastically.
Startups show fresh graduates that work does not have to be soul sucking and exhausting, that it can be stimulating and comfortable and enjoyable. They are also smaller companies so you no longer have to be an anonymous cog in an incomprehensible machine. In a startup, a fresh graduate would have far more opportunities to set themselves apart from everyone else around them. Needless to say, any fresh graduate would love the sound of that.
This is definitely changing the way big corporations approach things. They are now starting to loosen up a little and attempt to show themselves as flexible institutions where you can be yourself. It is pretty clear to see that corporations want to be in on this cool new trend, but the fact of the matter is that decades of doing things in a stuffy, dry way can’t just be washed away by attending a startup conference or two.
The lifetime job sentiment is old hat now. Security is one thing, but the ability to do dynamic and exciting work in a small organization that values you for who you are as an individual rather than rewarding you for how well you fit into a homogenous whole are things that matter far more to the people looking for work these days.
Do Startups Solve Everything?
While startups are definitely a lot better than big corporations in this particular respect, it is also important to realize that they have problems of their own as well. People definitely want to work there but startups usually just don’t have as much money as big corporations. After all, startups are all about thinking of ideas that could earn millions of dollars. The actual millions of dollars usually come a lot later, and many startups fail to last a very long time as well.
Hence, it is clear that while people working at startups have a much more enjoyable and stimulating environment to work in, they fail to get the same level of job security and high pay rates that corporations tend to be giving. These corporations are already at the top of their game after all, now they are all about maintaining their success. This is definitely a problem that startups are going to have to solve.
That being said, startups are definitely creating millions of jobs every single year. New businesses have been doing that for decades according to a recent study conducted by the Kauffman Foundation, and startups are definitely not an exception to this rule. However, a lot of the leaders of the startup world come from places of relative security. They were trained in corporations, so it is fair to say that without big corporations the startup world may have never come to exist.
Another problem with the world of startups is part of the reason they are so successful in the first place: their single mindedness. Most startups are extremely dedicated to a single goal, and while that is definitely admirable in a way it is also something that makes these enterprises slightly one dimensional. The goal of any business is to become as big as possible, and the fact of the matter is that you just can’t do that if you are acting in such a single minded manner.
This is because of the fact that there are so many other things that you need to be looking into. You can’t just make a product, you need to think about how you are going to market it. You also need to look into legal expertise to ensure that you are not exposing yourself to a potential lawsuit. And, of course, there is the fact that you need human resources to find you the right employees as well as an accounting department to make sure that all of the money is where it’s supposed to be. Hence, it is pretty clear that both of these types of business need to work together if they want things to go as smoothly as possible.
The Happy Medium
It is clear that both startups and big corporations have certain qualities and characteristics that the other lacks. Acknowledging this is a good first step, but it won’t really change anything. Hence, the only way forward is for both corporations and startups to start working together. It is quite possible, all that needs to be done is that a platform needs to be created the startups and corporations can use in order to collaborate with one another.
Both parties stand to gain a lot from this. Startups can get a structure that can help them handle all the areas of business they are struggling to deal with. Corporations can use startups as a way to be more creative and looser, and adopt some of their strategies to get their own employees to work more efficiently. Essentially, what these two entities need to do is start to swap resources. The collaborating parties don’t even need to share a field because the general structure of business tends to remain the same anyway.
If this seems like an odd concept to you, you should bear in mind the fact that it is already happening. There are tons of corporations that are operating like startups. In fact, some of the biggest companies in the world are operating like this, companies such as Google and Facebook. These companies treat employees like individuals, they are driven and focused and risk oriented but they also have a level of establishment that runs so deep that it is tough to imagine a world where they are no longer viable, profitable businesses.
It’s all about synergy, as well as a general desire to cooperate in the first place. Once startups and corporations get past their differences they will be able to complement each other greatly, eventually beginning to grow together. This is the only way to make corporate culture more bearable to deal with for fresh graduates, and to make startup culture more practical and viable for the long term.