Steve Blank - StartUps: History Of The Corporation

The 16th century was not only characterized by people going to America. The most important cornerstone of modern entrepreneurship was laid by the Dutch East India Company in 1602 when it founded the first company comparable to today’s standards.

What was special about it, was that it was similar to today’s corporate structures and shareholders. After rail traffic became popular in 1850, there was need for better organization. Only 8 years later, in 1858, the first organizational chart was drawn which depicted the topic of corporate structure.

In the end, the real breakthrough also had to do with the fact that educators realized in 1908 that these topics were important for the (economic) future of the country and so they started to set up courses. Especially in the US, there was a change from local economies to regional economies to a national economy. Harvard recognized all of this and contemplated about the future. It began to design their courses more and more to cover this subject. The MBA (Master of Business Administration) was born. People were interested and so it only took two years until the first MBA graduates ushered in a golden century with all their newly acquired knowledge.

But what exactly is an MBA? The studies are designed to provide (top) managers with the tools they need to grow a company, and to analyze and run it properly during the continuous growth phase. They acquire knowledge in areas such as accounting, strategy, operations, leadership, organizational behavior, human resources, and management.

You want to believe you have all the necessary knowledge to start a new business (a startup) after graduating. However, the reality is that the mechanisms and procedures can be very different between both corporate phases (startup vs concern).

During a startup’s growth phase, it’s reasonable and advisable to hire an MBA graduate (after 2-3 years) to help you. The transformation isn’t so easy and can have lasting negative effects. The main problem can often be found in the minds of the people. People still think (even after 100 years of history/experience) that startups are basically smaller versions of large companies.

This article is written by our CEO, Bernd Korz. With his experience as an entrepreneur, he shares his vision about the lessons provided by Steve Blank. Join us every week for a new article on Steve Blank’s lectures.

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