Keeping the Zeal of a Startup as You Scale
There are many reasons that founder-led companies are so good at disrupting industries and making life miserable for slow-moving incumbents. But perhaps the most powerful is that founders create great insurgencies. They ignore established industry rules and boundaries. They create better ways to solve old problems. They disdain anything that blurs their focus on the front line. From top to bottom, they are at war against the industry leaders on behalf of underserved customers.
Our research on what we call the “founder’s mentality” shows that maintaining a strong insurgent mission is critical to long-term, sustainable growth. But to compete long
term, insurgent companies also need to develop scale and scope, which very often dulls their insurgent’s zeal. In many ways, this is because their perspective on the future slowly changes. Insurgents see the days ahead-both long and short term-as ripe with opportunity. They embrace change and chaos. They invest in whatever it takes to innovate new solutions for customers. Incumbents, on the other hand, very often see the future as a threat: As leaders invested heavily in the status quo, innovation and disruption are not good for them. Turbulence erodes profitability, innovation marginalizes their current product offerings. The future is not better.
The companies that find a way to achieve scale without losing their insurgent mission — we call them “Scale Insurgents”— remain acutely alert to this difference in perspective. They actively fight back against the very natural tendency to retreat behind the castle walls to avoid future change and turbulence. Instead they do what in some companies might seem like heresy — they commit to disrupting their own insurgency. They know that acquiring the benefits of scale requires ruthless focus on a well-defined core business and a commitment to building the systems and processes to support it. But they aren’t wedded to their business model-they are wedded to what will serve their customers best. Rather than exacting defenses against the future, they embrace the notion of limitless horizons-the idea that a company can intelligently extend the boundaries of its core ever outward.
26. According to paragraph 1, why are founder-led companies often considered as “insurgents”?
A. Because they often damage the market order.
B. Because they often challenge the old companies in many ways.
C. Because they often get more supports from the customers.
D. Because they often make more money than the old companies.
27. Which of the following is NOT a representation of startups’ “rebellions”?
A. They frequently defeat old companies in competitions.
B. They try to figure out new ways to solve problems.
C. They are more concentrated and tend to stick to their goals.
D. They do not follow existing rules.
28. What is main difference between an “insurgent” company and an “incumbent” company?
A. An insurgent company prefers chaos to stability.
B. An insurgent company loves challenging the incumbent companies.
C. An insurgent company invests more in the future while an incumbent company invests more in the status quo.
D. An insurgent company sees changes as opportunities while an incumbent company loves stability more.
29. The word “heresy” in paragraph 3 is closest in meaning to ______.
A. brilliant idea B. evil belief
C. surprising act D. untraditional opinion
30. In the author’s opinion, what is a “scale insurgent”?
A. An insurgent company that turned into an incumbent company
B. An insurgent company that managed to make steady profits.
C. A startup company that maintains its original quality in the process of scaling up.
D. A startup company that succeeded in scaling up.