An Exponential Organization, according to Salim Ismail’s book of the same name, “is one whose impact (or output) is disproportionately large—at least 10x larger—compared to its peers because of the use of new organizational techniques that leverage accelerating technologies.”
Curious Cog, as of the minute this article was published, has not invented a physical product the world has not yet seen. However, my goal for a website design company like Curious Cog, is to take exponential attributes and philosophies, and apply them to professional services to improve my market position and provide customers with the best return on every dollar they spend.
How do I accomplish this? Well, here is my company purpose:
Focus on the Person. The Service will Follow.
From the inception of my first company in 2009, I set out to be different. I had worked in retail and service jobs throughout my teens and through college, and continued to be customer focused after graduation. These personal experiences were the platform I built my company around, focusing on putting the customer first and providing the best possible service money can buy, at a price much lower than the best money can buy. By keeping overhead low, refusing headcount additions until the pain is unbearable, leveraging open-sourced and crowd-funded applications ahead of expensive traditional avenues to run payroll, accounting and invoicing, and focusing on social marketing platforms (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn) that bring higher returns than costly traditional ones (newspaper ads, magazines, radio commercials), any organization of any size can begin to protect themselves in this new Wild West of disruption we find ourselves in.
Now, no one is safe. Read How Google Works by Eric Schmidt and Jonathan Rosenberg and you will discover that even Google admits someone faster, smarter, and more disruptive will come along one day and wipe them out. Hard to imagine, but that is the world we live in. A world where Uber can turn the transportation industry upside down in a matter of months. A world where Airbnb can amass a greater lodging database than the world’s largest hotel behemoths, without ever laying a single physical brick. A world where Waze can provide the most comprehensive navigation and traffic information to drivers, without ever installing a single road sensor. These companies have achieved exponential growth and dominance, mostly operating with under 20 employees, while managing market value in the billions. Each of them embraced exponential philosophies, and scaled by taking advantage of technology and innovation that had been democratized.
Now, Curious Cog is not an exponential organization. However, reading Salim Ismail’s book has changed the way that I approach every aspect of my business. And in implementing the methodologies and processes that encourage leveraging accelerated, open-sourced, crowd-developed technologies, I have given my business a solid foundation without taking on the crippling debt. This in turn allows me to focus that much more on each client, and look for ways to bring this type of forward-thinking into their own environments.
As an exercise, think about the accelerating technologies poised to disrupt almost every industry on the planet—infinite computing, mobile phones, drones, 3D printers, biotechnology, nanotechnology, artificial intelligence, sensors—and imagine the innovative ways each of these will evolve, double in power each year, and be leveraged by exponential organizations to upset every company that has comfortably sat on the Fortune 500 for decades. As a species, it is difficult to think exponentially, and anticipate how these accelerating technologies will transform our industry and topple our organization. But regardless of whether you own a four-person machine shop or are at the helm of a multi-billion dollar corporation, I highly recommend reading Exponential Organizations, by Salim Ismail. Once you read this book, look into other literary works authored by Salim’s colleagues at the Singularity University. They will change the way you look at innovation, technology, and your company’s future.
Good luck! I would love to hear how your company is competing in this new disruptive business environment that is constantly changing…