I really want to try my hand at running my own company. Perhaps a dozen times in the last 20 years I have realized an idea that could drive a successful business. In the past few months of this sabbatical almost half as many ideas presented themselves in discussions with friends or alone on my patio with a beer in my hand. But I have not (yet) brought these ideas to fruition. I am stranded on the wrong side of a chasm between people that work for someone else and people that are self-employed. I am a worker bee.
Thinking about starting a business I have had time to reflect on the relative merits of business ownership versus corporate employment. On this subject my friend Stuart recommended to me Robert Kiyosaki’s Rich Dad’s CASHFLOW Quandrant at my sabbatical’s start. Kiyosaki’s book separates income earners into four quadrants: those that work for someone else, those that own and run a business, those that own a business someone else runs for them, and those that invest. These last two he recommends for high return with minimum effort. But success in them requires some experience business fundamentals. That experience usually comes from running the business.
People want to run a business because of the perceived freedom. And most people would agree that being your own boss could provide a type of freedom that working for a large company never will. However, Kiyosaki points out that the specific goal should be financial freedom. Indeed, people that own and run a business are just as likely as employees to be a slave to long hours an short deadlines. So, before charging into a business to develop myself personally and professionally, it is worth considering the relative merits of being a large company’s employee versus a small business owner.
My new responsibilities at EMC make me a part of a large transformational project. I have never before had the privilege of building or changing culture. But my managers have brought me into such a project. And we are doing it at very large scale. Thousands and thousands of people.
The first outward signs of the scope of this project came from a blog post by my second-level manager. If you are not in the industry the import of Chad’s post may be difficult to decipher. But those of us in technical sales recognize the ambitious nature of this change. Chad is not just trying to change reporting lines. He’s trying to change culture.