On the benefits of being under resourced
An organization that is under-resourced is similar to an individual who regularly practices intermittent fasting.
In the case of the individual, weaker cells are cannibalized by the body to produce new cells. Studies has shown decreased probability of developing cancer and Alzheimer, coupled in some cases with increased longevity.
In the case of the organization, operations are forced to be focused and only opportunities backed by stronger market signals prioritized and pursued. Wastage and distractions are structurally curtailed. ROI improves as a by product.
On organic growth
An organization that is organically grown tends to be happen-chance and exhibit somewhat illegible and opaque structure.
In contrast, an organization that is deliberately designed tends to exhibit a legible and transparent structure.
Counter intuitively, it is the former that exhibits more resilience in times of environmental stress. The observed illegibility and opaqueness is attributed to the process of organic adaption to its environment. Chief historical examples are:
- Military of Carthage
- Genghis Khan’s Mongolian horde
Somewhere along in time, Man formed semi-symbiotic relationships with selected species of plants and animals. Thereafter this cohabiting social structure was scaled up the world over.
As the process ran its course, other species were inevitably marginalized due to habitat loss, some driven almost to the brink of extinction.
It is interesting to note, the larger the physical size of an unincorporated specie and the closer it’s distance to the brink of extinction.
The long term trend tends towards mono-cultures and minification of species.
Man does not share the position at the top of the food chain well with others.
An individual in an organization is similar to a cell in an organism.
The earlier the stage in the life cycle, the more generic and diverse the basic unit is. Founders and stem cells.
As maturity occurs, the basic unit becomes more specialized and in some cases loses ability that units in earlier stages had but is more adapted to performing its tasks. Stem cells can become bone cells but bone cells cannot become stem cells.
It is important to keep in mind that every organization and organism has a inherent DNA that will inevitably express itself.
Micheal Porter states an organization should not measure its success by its size but by how fit it’s configuration is in terms of serving its purpose. Charles Darwin’s survival of the fittest posits that the organism most suited for its environment will be the one that flourishes in that environment. In none of these two statements were there mention of size as an advantage.
Regarding cells and individuals, there comes a time in the life cycle of the organism/organization when the cell dies off and the individual departs.
A purely functional approach to solving a user problem tends to lead to an overall disjointed user experience. A purely experiential approach to solving a user problem tends to lead to an unruly infrastructure that becomes harder and harder to maintain overtime.
The discipline is to explore the different alternatives to tease out the intersection that best satisfies form and function at each crossroad of a product’s development.
The second order constrain is the trade off between time/resources and variants explored.
The third order constrain is the utilization of time to build capababilty to translate resources to number of variants to be explored.
Time is thus the highest order constrain to building a strong solid foundation. Trees that grow taller and has denser trunks tend to have a longer time maturity. A by-product is their fire resistance. The sequoia tree avoids unnecessary extravagance but conserves all its energy to grow quietly, adamantly and deeply to achieve a majestic presence overtime.