I cannot believe I have not blogged in the last few days. It's a bad feeling when you have much to say but cannot find a time to do it...So this blog is also talking about time. I had a talk with K, my roommate, last week about how 24 hours working really mean for everyone, from big companies such as IBM to small mom-papa shops. I know it's not a new topic but let me give some scenarios we had discussed so that you may have a new understanding.
Take a look at those companies don't directly facing consumers. Say MacMillan publishing. Their busienss is to find good book draft then publish as books and sell through channels such as Amazon and B&N. So bascially it has two core parts business: book draft collection and distribution.
For book draft collection, it needs first to have a channel to collect drafts from successful authors such as Stephen King or from unknow but with high potential authors. Since MacMillan is famous so I am sure their editors are receiving enough book drafts. So do they need people physically in their NYC headquarter to review all those drafts? Not really. They can clearly put people in different timezone to do those geo-independent tasks. Then for distribution wise, they also don't need be physically in the States to talk to Amazon etc.
You get my point. Then why waste millions of dollars on expensive office space in NYC? How much does a business really need that type of physical location? for prestige? for fame? I know it's a big challenge to recruit people in other timezone but what if MacMillan invests all savings from becoming a headquarter-less company into HR development?
it's also quite scary if you thinking from competition perspective. Say if a headquarter-less startup A operates in both India and in Boston and its competitor B is solely based in NYC. If the decision making process setup right, A can make a decision in Monday afternoon at India office then UI design team in Boston pick up the task Tuesday morning etc. Now how B can compete/react faster than that? Almost impossible. Then what if A spreads its operation in 3 location with 8 hour time difference between each so that virtually A has a team that can work 24 hours a day while B can only work 8 hours a day (as an established company) or 12 hours a day (as a startup). So bascially A can achieve 2 times or 3 times than B, with even a lower cost structure? IBM's CEO palmson had an itnerview with Financial Times before talking about this vision. He said Fortune 500 cannot run oversea office like UK running a colony anymore: decision making at headquarter in home country then execution worldwide. I think he is right on.
I'd love to see more company take this route seriously. Willing to go beyond the barrier of language, race etc. What does this mean? a quick thought created following ideas:
- Buy Cisco stock. Who else makes equipment to have worldwide people connected?
- If eBay does sell Skype to Google, buy Google. Short all other phone companies because less people in NYC will use international call from Verozon
- Buy every public company offering HR service.
- Buy translation service
- Buy business travel service.
ok, will add more later..
And sorry, MacMillan if it's a real company then I dont mean to pick you guys up for this blog.
Run for a meeting so I will update this post with more links to posts such as Palmson's interview etc later.
PS: I had saved quite some idea for blogging. Next one will be Google Canilizabion.
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