The book I’m Feeling Lucky talks about Google’s progression from being a 50 person startup company to being the company we see today. It’s an account from a journalist who steps on as Google’s 59th employee. The book shares many of the milestones that Google experienced along the way.
Culture is one of the biggest if not the biggest shift in companies as they transform from small scale startups to large companies. Growing companies inevitably comes with a transforming culture, and is something that needs to be taken into consideration as each employee is hired.
However, when it comes to company culture, culture simply doesn’t scale the same way that most other organizational operations do. Dunbar’s number is a scientifically experimented value that states that humans are only mentally capable of maintaining 150 or so relationships.
How then, do you scale an organization while maintaining a close knit culture?
By redefining what scale and growth mean to your company. Not every company should scale by adding more employees. In fact, not every company should necessarily attempt to scale by gaining more customers.
The company that is able to provide better value to a small number of customers is scaling. The company that figures out how to do more with less is scaling. The company that figures out how to crowdsource or outsource is scaling.
And the end of the day it boils down to two questions: How do you define scale? and How much do you value culture?