I worked with lots of different startups, from early stage startups to ones with 100+ employees and way too many ended up with corporate processes & culture — here’s why I think thats the case.
The chaotic beginning
In the beginning you have a few people working together, everything is super informal. There is almost no need for processes and as people are aligned and the direction is clear, there is not much need for reviews.
Everyone regularly talks to everyone, the whole company has lunch together and people know each other quite well.
Depending on the culture & leadership skills of the founders, you can scale the team to around 10–20 people, before startups experience scale pain.
Often after a bigger fuckup happened, e.g. an important client was lost, or the website was down for 3 days without anyone realizing, or in general the quality of output decreased, the founders realize that their informal “startup approach” doesn’t scale and that they need processes. Surprise 😁.
That’s when they start hiring “experts” to do the job.
Consultants to the rescue
When you have difficulties to become a bigger company, you simply hire people who have worked in bigger companies.. or even better, you hire people who helped these bigger companies to become better. That’s when inexperienced founders hire ex-McKinsey consultants. Aren’t they the experts on how to setup processes and structure and controlling?
And voila! You end up with processes designed with a corporate-mindset.
This article is part of my 1-hour experiment: https://firstname.lastname@example.org/writing-as-many-blog-articles-as-possible-in-1-hour-740e1a38ea6e