Go small or go home


That’s the motto for today’s companies, marketers and startups. And for our careers. No longer are we meant to Swing Big! Hit it out of the park! Go for the knockout punch! …If I think of another sports metaphor for this I’ll let you know.

You gotta start small today. Test things out. Experiment. Be risky. Don’t be afraid to fail. Build a culture that rewards taking risks rather than punishes that behavior.

I thought I invented this saying just now but turns out there's all sorts of things that come up when you search for it. Like this dude.

Technology today has allowed us the ability to try new things without having to invest a lot of time or money. And I think its changed our whole mindset of what can be accomplished by starting out small vs. going big.

Oh yeah, and teams should be small. And you should invite less people to meetings. And have less meetings while you’re at it.

The Hail Mary pass! I knew I could think of another one. I met the guy that threw the first one, btw, or at least coined the term. #trivia

In BIG CORPORATE AMERICA (I’m using air quotes and making a pompous face when I say that), to get your new idea through the system you have to spend months producing research and reports to back up your idea and presenting it to layers upon layers of decision-makers (air quotes again) until you finally get high enough to a person who absolutely does not want a failure on his/her resume because they’re about to get the big promotion so why don’t you just wait until next quarter and start the process all over again you cute little guy (pats you on the head and straightens your tie).

And startups used to launch on day 1 as big, massive portals and grandiose ideas like vans that would drive around giving you food and stuff. Today the tiniest of tiny companies is launching. They try to find a niche, be amazing at THAT, and then expand a little, kick butt at THAT, and expand a little more. And when the next expansion doesn’t work, they throttle back, reassess and start at it again.

And you should approach your career in small steps like this. Figure out what you’re passionate about and start making small steps to get yourself closer to doing that all the time. If you’re at a company and feel like you might be on the wrong train, headed to a career that just doesn’t get you excited, start figuring out what you’d rather be doing. Look around and align your passion in the direction it’s pulling you.

And go small.


  1. Vlad Gorenshteyn on June 14, 2011 at 3:56 pm

    Innovation ceases when fear-aversion kicks in. Edward Norton actor/activist/entrepreneur shares being terrified of failure and being called out as a “fraud” every time he innovates: https://goo.gl/WZwjl 

Leave a Comment