Almost every company spends over 95% of its time doing what every other company does. And it spends less than 5% of its time on things that are unique to the company.
That makes no sense.
Ideally it should be flipped. Your company should spend the vast majority of its time focusing on things that are unique to your company.
Crazy thought experiment: Imagine a new type of company that decided to only do what it was really good at and essentially outsourced everything else.
Recruiting as a service?
Pretty much every company spends lots of time recruiting. Recruiting is a massive time suck. Yes, some companies do it better than others … but there are a set of best practices that all the good companies eventually master.
What if your company could completely outsource its recruiting (including interviewing) to another service? I know this seems completely crazy … but imagine if that could happen. Imagine the time savings.
Office space as a service?
Companies think a lot about their office space. That’s starting to change with flex space (like WeWork, Knotel, etc). but it is still really important. What if you never thought about it? What if you did not worry about the conference rooms, the food, the music, etc. What if you outsourced all those decisions (including how much space, where it is, and how much it costs) to an API? or an outsource service?
Seems completely crazy … but imagine the time savings.
Marketing as a service?
Marketing is another area that every company has to do. Some companies are really good at marketing. Some are pretty mediocre. All could be a lot better. What if no one at your company did marketing?
Finance as a service?
Finance too. Couldn’t finance be a shared service across tons of companies? Does every company really need to stand up a finance department? Unless you are a bank, finance is likely not core to what you do.
While all this seems crazy … not that long ago most companies were managing their own compute. I was at LiveRamp — we owned metal and actually had to deal with servers. It was a LOT of work. Now LiveRamp is in the cloud (they use Google Compute) and a lot more time can be spent focusing on the business. Thousands of other companies went through this exact same process.
When we started SafeGraph (in 2016) we, of course, decided to have compute-as-a-service (we use Amazon Web Services). Pretty much every company started after 2013 has made the same decision.
Part of the reason we don’t outsource recruiting, marketing, finance, office space, HR, etc. is that there are no great services that exist to do it. That could change in the future. Certainly there are a ton of software tools that help (and where a companies can get massive leverage) … but employees in the company still need a lot of knowledge in the area to put the tools together (and take the time to select the tools).
If you start stripping out everything that is not unique to your company, you’re left with just a few people who make the unique parts of the company. And then add a few people who need to explain its unique benefits to the market.
Imagine your 100 person company going to 6 people. Imagine your 1000 person company going to 20. How much faster could you move?