Forget Your MBA: Managing a Living Company

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  • 2. Marcelo SomersProduct Manager, Sabre Holdings
  • 3. BusinessIS A DESIGN PROBLEM
  • 4. Company THE LIVING
  • 5. “ The average life expectancy of a multinational corporation is between 40 and 50 years.” - Royal Dutch Shell study, 1983 (
  • 6. “ A full one-third of the companies listed in the 1970 Fortune 500 had vanished by 1983 – acquired, merged, or broken to pieces.” - Royal Dutch Shell study, 1983 (
  • 7. “ Companies die because their managers focus on the economic activity of producing goods and services, and they forget that their organizations’ true nature is that of a community of humans.” - Royal Dutch Shell study, 1983 (
  • 8. Making moneyIS NOT YOUR GOAL
  • 9. “ Profit is the result of doing things right rather than the purpose of business activity. Profitability is a measurement of how well the business discharges its functions in serving the market and customer.” - Peter Drucker in Management: Tasks, Responsibilities, Practices (
  • 10.
  • 11. “ When you look at growth as a strategy, it becomes somewhat seductive, addictive. But growth should not be—and is not—a strategy; it’s a tactic. - Howard Schultz, Starbucks CEO (
  • 12. “ The primary lesson I’ve learned over the years is that growth and success can cover up a lot of mistakes. As we return the company to growth, it’ll be disciplined, profitable growth for the right reasons.” - Howard Schultz, Starbucks CEO (
  • 13.
  • 14. “ Focus on just a few things, and do them better than anybody else.” - Steve Ells, Chipotle CEO (
  • 15. (or se rvice!)Constraint THE PRODUCT IS THE
  • 16.
  • 17. “ At Apple the top priority is the product. Sounds trivial, but very few companies place product first. Those who do tend to be producing creative works. Most companies place either production or distribution first.” - Horace Dediu (
  • 18. “ ‘Because we can’ isn’t a reason for doing something.” - Kyle Baxter (
  • 19. MAKE YOUR CUSTOMERSInsanely Happy
  • 20. IDEAS ARE CHEAP,Real Artists ship
  • 21. “ We fell into the trap of thinking like an incumbent.” - Kellan Elliott-McCrea, Flickr Architect (
  • 22. “ The best PR/marketing tip: make something worth writing about.” - William Wilkinson (
  • 23. THE ROLE OF AManager
  • 24. “ A lot of startup talk seems to say that you should simply get a lot of smart people together and let them do whatever they want until something sticks, and that is a recipe for success in everything (product, team happiness). This is wrong. So wrong. Creativity comes from constraints and direction.” - Justin Kan of (
  • 25.
  • 26.
  • 27. Experience DON’TJUST HIRE FOR
  • 28. “ Knowing that “it can’t be done” because you can recount each of the failed attempts in the last 20 years to solve the problem can be a boat anchor on insight and imagination. This not only affects individuals, but happens to companies as they age. - Steve Blank (
  • 30. Confident in what you’re good atARROGANT HUMILITY
  • 31. Confident in what you’re good atARROGANT HUMILITY Curious
  • 32. SLAUGHTER YOURGolden Gooses
  • 33. “ Businesses don’t get to pick the timetable for when their preferred model takes a permanent dirt nap.” - Merlin Mann (
  • 34.
  • 35.
  • 36.
  • 37. “ We imagined ourselves as a venture-capital- backed start-up in Silicon Valley whose mission was to attack and disrupt The Atlantic.” - Justin B. Smith, President of The Atlantic Media Company (
  • 38. “ Move fast. If we make mistakes, let them be because we are too fast rather than too slow.” - Lou Gerstner, IBM
  • 39. Thank You. NOTES AVAILABLE: HTTP://BIT.LY/FORGET-MBA @marcelosomers
  • 40. KONTRA’S LAW:A commercial company’s ability to innovateis inversely proportional to its proclivity topublicly release conceptual products.