Q: Wasn't it just yesterday that Google was the coolest company on the planet? The New York Times says the online giant is now seen by techies as a lumbering behemoth, and key employees are starting to leave for more nimble companies. Is it possible to stay in the lead indefinitely, or is there always a "hungrier" competitor right around the corner? Do large companies offer the same shot at success, or do workers usually have to break away to seek the greater rewards?
As far as evolution is concerned, this is the way things are supposed to happen.
As great and innovative as Google has been, it will be impossible to escape the "consequences of growth." It is easier to get new ideas transformed into action when you are a small start-up than when you have become the "lumbering incumbent".
Each phase of a company's development will appeal to a different kind of employee. What is lost when a company and its bureauracy gets so large is "innovative freedom." At the same time, the growth also provides some security to those who are more comfortable in a more structured environment. It appears that Google is making grand attempts to counter this exodus by providing some degree of freedom to those "nimble minds" so they would elect to stay with the company.
Fortunately for the rest of us, those "nimble minds" choosing to leave will go on to create the next breakthroughs in innovation. Just as children leave the structured comfort of their parent to start their own families.
Without this entrepreneurial drive, our civilization and our technology would not be where it is today. Some of these ideas and new innovations created in this fashion will exceed that of the current Google and other large companies like it and we will all be better as a result.
And as these good and great new ideas are transformed into reality, they too will become lumbering incumbencies over time.