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Freek Says: Size Doesn't Matter

Striving for size can be counter-productive, entrepreneurs control the future, and the market for privacy in our round-up of professor blogs

Professor Freek Vermeulen of London Business School is annoyed that people assume “bigger is always better”. In his blog entry “Stop Obsessing About Size” he asks why so many executives are preoccupied with the size of their company and reflects on the story of aboriginals growing big yams on the Micronesian island of Ponapae.

 
While company size is “often associated with (financial) success”, striving for size in itself can be counterproductive for companies. A £10 billion company doesn’t necessarily generate more profits than ten £1 billion companies, despite attracting more attention.
 
In tough times, entrepreneurs rather than MBAs prevail, according to Bill Taylor, lecturer at Babson College, who bases his argument on research by Professor Sarasvathy from the Darden Business School at University of Virginia.
 
Sarasvathy points to differences in the way MBAs and entrepreneurs think, with the former reasoning “we can predict the future, we can control it”, and the latter “we can control the future, we do not need to predict it”.
 
As an entrepreneur you control the future by “inventing it yourself” and understanding that “surprises are to be expected rather than avoided”.
 
Technology is depriving Harvard Business School’s Rosabeth Kanter of her privacy: her husband’s “Go to My PC” program got into her laptop.
 
In her post “Don’t Read This, It’s Private” she asks whether “people don’t care about privacy any more” since they seem to prefer teen-style exhibitionism, and “self-directed exposure of personal information” on social networks, to privacy.
 
She suggests that privacy could be a “business opportunity and technology frontier” that clever investors take advantage of. Her fantasy product is privacy protection software that erases digital records of embarrassing photos on Facebook.

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