Structure for innovative businesses

When we first started ArcBees, we had a crazy idea to have independent cells of 10 to 12 people inside the business that could take on any projects they wanted.

This management style and choice was highly influenced by great precursors of our time like Robert C. Martin through his book “The Clean Coder“, Valve and their employee handbook  and now +Seb Paquet shared this interesting article that depicts exactly what I had in mind.

It’s a little bit funny how the author compare cells to state in United State, but in a sense, it’s not too far from the truth. Give the power to skilled individuals to take over their own dreams and they will achieve greatness. The difference between that kind of structure and starting your own business? You work hand to hand with other “states” in a direction where everyone will achieve their dreams. In a society where less than 4% of the startup ecosystem really get out of the incubator, it’s more important then ever to work together toward building businesses that is focused on the greatness of every single individuals rather than building a businesses that is focused on the well being of the stakeholders.

I would add a little bit of open source to this structure. Having several cells like those will, without a doubt, create a small internal economy for developer tools to help them work everyday and I can easily see cells immerge only to create projects that will help everyone else gets things done in the right way.

If we come back to the CEO or the “government”, they are there to serve and help the states to get their projects done. By creating a structure and giving the right amount of resources needed, we help them to achieve their goals while reducing any risk related when starting new projects. In the end, its about nurturing the right amount of skills to deliver continously successful projects.