It is hard to argue with the idea that Silicon Valley entrepreneurs built the Internet and the web…except for the fact that the US Department of Defense built the Internet, the web was invented in Switzerland by nuclear scientists, and the first web browser was birthed at the University of Illinois.
It is also hard to argue with the idea that the top sites today are run by companies with living or even active founders…except that ten out of the top ten sites point people to content or businesses created by people outside the organization. So who’s really running them after all? Does more money move through JP Morgan and the IRS, or Google and Facebook? I’m sorry to say, but unfortunately the IRS wins that one by a country mile…and JP Morgan made three times Google’s revenue with a balance sheet fifty times bigger.
It is hard to argue with the overwhelming success of entrepreneurs at creating value in the world, since every company was founded by somebody…who hasn’t heard the stat that 65% of new jobs in America are created by small companies? Except when you look at the fact that the largest 0.3% of companies create the other 35% of jobs, many of which are highly paid.
I believe there is another side to the story of the Internet and the way the world works, a theme that will come to dominate the way we think about the impact of the Internet in the coming decade. And it will be driven by people I call intrapreneurs at work within large organizations.
These intrapreneurs will bring together well established trends in information technology, customer expectations, and business leadership to have more impact on humanity’s collective productivity than all the entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley have so far…some even working within the more venerable of the tech titans to show the way.
Clearly the audience of this blog is not the stereotypical breathless twenty-something wunderkind Larry-Page-in-waiting. Nor is it the star-making venture capitalist on Sand Hill Road.
Instead, Intrapreneur 2.0 is for a new crop of business leaders within large enterprises and government agencies who see what can be done with the Internet in their daily visits to Facebook, YouTube and Amazon.com, and aim to provide a similarly authentic, engaging and convenient experience for their customers and citizens.
Over the next few weeks, I’ll start with a discussion of the dynamics of large enterprises, the similarities and differences between intrapreneurs and entrepreneurs, and the fallacies and truths about what Facebook, YouTube and Amazon.com mean for business and government.
Then I’ll move on to what I hope will be the bulk of my postings – vignettes and profiles of intrapreneurs and their challenges…starting with a story of my own intrapreneurial failures. Given the pragmatic, and often politically sensitive, nature of most intrapreneurial ventures, I expect many of these stories will have to be masked to protect the aspirants.
I also expect that as this trend takes hold, soon all of our lives and businesses will be touched by their successes, and you will regularly read of the new crop of intrapreneurs in much more august journals than this one. And maybe Intrepreneur 2.0 will mark the end of the line of 2.0 metaphors (I hope so…if anyone has a better idea for a metaphorical modifier that means “the next phase” please let me know…I tried i-Intrapreneur and e-Intrapreneur, but neither roll off the tongue :-).
Finally, you can follow me on Twitter @erikdlarson if you’d like.