I was at a public company last year, about to attend a Board meeting for a large public Silicon Valley company. Most of the Board arrived shortly after 8 AM in order to catch up with one another before the meeting started promptly at 8:30. During the meeting, I had a chance to look out the expansive windows of the board room, right onto the company parking lot.
"It wasn’t until 10:00 that the last of the employee spaces were taken"
The first employee not associated with the Board meeting arrived at 8:25. The second after 8:30. By 9AM the parking lot was less than half-full. It wasn’t until 10:00 that the last of the employee spaces were taken by arriving workers at the company HQ office. Since I had been there the night before, I knew that there was no one in the HQ building who seemed to work past 6:15. No one.
In the 1950s, technology companies could survive like this because there were few competitors and all of them were based in the USA. In 2011, your competitors are everywhere — and are working 80 – 100 hour weeks to figure out ways of competing in your market. Good enough is not nearly good enough.
What does your parking lot tell you?