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Business Killer


In the military, it's a common practice to create an opposing force and then play out a war game, with each side trying to win. It helps the military grow stronger, more ready to wage combat.

Business doesn't do this. Not really.

You can make the argument that where the military doesn't have any competition until a time of war, these exercises are necessary to prepare for real battle. Businesses, on the other hand, do battle every day with their competition. Is there a need for war games?

I would argue that there is - especially for large enterprises. Large companies don't turn on a dime like nimble startups do. As we've seen in the war on terror, our military "wins" on a regular basis against combatants. But still, in the grand scheme of things, perhaps not. Our enemy does many things that they ought not and they do a great job of getting their message out through the press. Many war games pre-9/11 weren't ready for the way in which our new enemy engages us. We have learned to adapt, but painfully and at times awkwardly so.

Think of business. It's not the common competitors that will upend a company, but the upstart that does things in ways they "ought not."

So here's a thought: why shouldn't large enterprises fund "pirates" in their organization, to conjure ways to defeat the company? Why not have a clever and strategic group ferret out a startup that would specifically kill the company? Then have the bigwigs look at the scenarios presented by the threat and determine if it is in fact a business killer. And if it is, why not fund the very startup that would attract customers and capital?

It's silly to expect the entire enterprise to change. But why not fund the offshoot uninhibited by bureaucracy? And then reap the reward for stockholders by doing the very thing your competition least expects you to do? Because in finding a way to usurp your own business position, you also usurp that of your very similar competition. And further, you dominate.


by Brett Rogers, 5/19/2007 1:20:22 PM



Great post! I think businesses, large or small, that don't do this will leave themselves vulnerable. By running a process to fill your weaknesses you may even find greater strengths within the company.



Posted by Adam Steen, 5/21/2007 7:56:30 AM


Very interesting concept! Yet, how long do you think it would take for the larger company to eventually stifle the inovation and energy?



Posted by Tony Gallegos, 5/22/2007 2:13:13 AM

Hey Tony

I think the large company will either allow for innovation, or the market will supply that innovation in the form of its budding and attractive competitors.

Business happens very fast these days. Technology allows small players to compete with large players. It think it's a huge risk for large companies to assume that they know their competition. Just ask stock brokers.



Posted by Brett Rogers (, 5/22/2007 7:34:08 AM

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