Here’s a good article from Guy Kawasaki on “Intrapreneurs”: folks in big companies that are trying to drive some form of change or take the company in a new direction. Like an entrepreneur, but they’re trying to move the business in another direction instead of start it altogether.
From the outside looking in, entrepreneurs think intrapreneurs have it made: ample capital, infrastructure (desks, chairs, Internet access, secretaries, lines of credit, etc), salespeople, support people, and an umbrella brand.
Guess again. Intrapreneurs don’t have it better — at best, they simply have it different. Indeed, they probably have it worse because they are fighting against ingrained, inbred, and inept management. There are lots of guys/gals inside established companies who are as innovative and revolutionary as their bootstrapping, soy-sauce-and-rice-subsisting counterparts.
(I hate fitting stereotypes, but dangit, I do love soy sauce and rice.)
One of the most interesting parts of his post was talking about killing the cash cow – destroying the marketability of an existing product by changing the market conditions (his example: Apple destroyed sales of the Apple IIe by releasing the Mac.) Guy had a great quote on that point:
The true purpose of cash cows is to fund new calves.
It’s tempting to find something that works and then rest on your laurels and enjoy the success. But if you don’t use that success to come up with something that blows your current offering away, you won’t have it for long. Someone else will pass you by. Good advice for either kind of *preneur.