Skedsheet Blog

Where we talk about the product, calendars, organization, and business

Lesson #2: Small teams work.

with one comment

I’m examining some of the lessons I’ve learned from working at other companies – trying to figure out how experience matters when you’re running your own business. 

motorola-surfboards

  General Instrument – I moved to San Diego from Boston for this job.  Culture shock!  My first interview started with “You should take off your tie, and you probably don’t need the blazer, either. Unless you’re cold.”

GI had decided that they were going to go from just providing equipment for cable and satellite TV to going into the data business.  I was on the team that was defining a completely new type of product – a cable modem. 

Someone within the corporation had the insight or foresight to understand that they couldn’t do it with their existing employees and processes, so they hired outsiders almost exclusively to manage and develop this game-changing product.

Working for a small team within a huge organization was awesome – my individual contribution was incredibly valuable, I was free to be an expert at what I did well, and the organization was very flat.  We were able to make incredible advances in defining a whole new industry with a tiny team. 

Having a small, disconnected team allowed us to focus on defining  a new product and a new market without worrying about the existing structure.  Because we were empowered to do our own thing, it lead to a sense excitement and drive that didn’t exist anywhere else in the company.

Unfortunately, that ended when the first generation product was done, and all us in the renegade group were dispersed into the old-line corporate hierarchy.

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Written by Harry Hollander

May 4, 2009 at 6:17 am

Posted in Uncategorized

One Response

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  1. […] – After working on a small renegade team within General Instrument, I hungered for more.  Several of the same folks that I’d worked with had moved over to […]


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