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OT: best structure to scale up to 10k people in one year?

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  • Armin Roehrl
    Hi all, I apoligise if that email is very off-topic, but hopefully interesting. Sb. I know is playing with the idea of starting a company that must grow to 10
    Message 1 of 3 , May 1 2:16 PM
      Hi all,

      I apoligise if that email is very off-topic, but hopefully interesting.

      Sb. I know is playing with the idea of starting a company that must
      grow to 10 000 people at the end of the first year. This company needs
      an awful lot of IT (will be an agile-team of up to 40 people with
      pair-prgramming)
      and has many typical capital-intensive brick and mortar components.

      How would you structure the company to survive the crises of
      the massive growth?

      Does anybody have any experience with a similar venture?

      Parts of the solution right now is:
      - Very well documented processes; Everybody knows what todo;
      ("by the book")
      - good bonus system for any improvements
      - 3-4 levels of hierarchy
      - idea-center (possibility to short-circuit the hierachies & idea-center)

      I would appreciate any ideas/disaster-reports, etc.

      Thank you,
      -Armin.
    • jrb32002
      ... The only way I know of to build such a large-sized company in short order is to buy and combine several smaller companies, where the people and equipment
      Message 2 of 3 , May 3 1:26 PM
        --- In extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com, Armin Roehrl <armin@x> wrote:
        > Sb. I know is playing with the idea of starting a company that must
        > grow to 10 000 people at the end of the first year. This company needs
        > an awful lot of IT (will be an agile-team of up to 40 people with
        > pair-prgramming)
        > and has many typical capital-intensive brick and mortar components.

        The only way I know of to build such a large-sized company in short
        order is to buy and combine several smaller companies, where the
        people and equipment are already in place. Even that takes years.
        Just getting the necessary IT systems in place would probably take
        most of that year, integrating off-the-shelf systems together.

        Coming at it from another direction, four levels of management plus
        the necessary IT and administration structure puts the company at
        least at 1000 people working full-time. Assuming the rest get paid
        only when checks clear from revenue they generate, you're looking at
        first-year revenues of at least a quarter-billion dollars, to cover
        ongoing operations. That amount of cashflow requires either a few
        years of buying existing operations, or several years of gaining
        market share, or an exceptional new market on a very unlikely scale
        which can make use of existing suppliers and supplies with excess
        capacity and little changeover time.


        Your acquaintance either has made several simultaneous revolutionary
        insights into human motivation, business financing, marketing, and
        business administration, which would make this possible; or, has made
        several simultaneous flawed assumptions about what is possible. The
        latter is much more likely, given the history of business.

        I hope you aren't considering putting money into this (highly
        speculative) venture. Or your time. Really, how many organizations
        can absorb 1000 people, much less 10,000, other than governmentals?
        This seems very outside the current bounds of what is practical from a
        business perspective.

        Joseph Beckenbach
      • Jeff Grigg
        ... Or maybe it s a pyramid scheme. I most often hear claims like this from pyramid schemes. Beware -- such things are illegal in the United States,
        Message 3 of 3 , May 4 5:58 AM
          > --- Armin Roehrl <armin@x> wrote:
          >> Sb. I know is playing with the idea of starting a company
          >> that must grow to 10 000 people at the end of the first
          >> year. This company needs an awful lot of IT (will be an
          >> agile-team of up to 40 people with pair-prgramming)
          >> and has many typical capital-intensive brick and mortar
          >> components.

          --- "jrb32002" <jrb3@j...> wrote:
          > The only way I know of to build such a large-sized company
          > in short order is to buy and combine several smaller
          > companies, [...]

          Or maybe it's a pyramid scheme. I most often hear claims like this
          from pyramid schemes. Beware -- such things are illegal in the
          United States, *REGARDLESS* of what your friend may be telling you.

          > Your acquaintance either has made several simultaneous
          > revolutionary insights into human motivation, business
          > financing, marketing, and business administration, which
          > would make this possible; [...]

          So Armin, what's your friends plan for this amazing new business? (I
          hope he has more of a plan than, "I have a great idea and hope a
          bunch of other people on the Internet will work out all the difficult
          business problems for me." ;-)
          _ _ _

          XP teams have a track record of being able to scale up quickly and
          effectively. 40 developers is a lot of people to recruit and make
          productive within a year. But XP practices can help make this
          successful *IF* [and that's a big "IF"] the rest of the business plan
          makes some kind of sense.
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