It is the best of times

Citigroup is tethering on the edges of bankruptcy. It is perhaps only a matter of time that GM files for Chapter 11 protection. The other so called behemoths can be seen standing in line for largess doled out by Uncle Sam. Oh, yes, Circuit City went belly up too.

Paradoxically, this is the very situation that large corporations promised will never happen. Size matters, their shirts read. History seems to have made bums out of the bumper-sticker management gurus. The bigger the size, the deeper seems to be the problems. Several commentators believe the solution lies in breaking up these companies into smaller ones to bring back a sense of urgency to survive (here’s advice to break-up GM and Citi). And Gordon Gekko lambasted the American bureaucracy in his famous “greed is good” speech more than a decade back.

If you are a product manager for a small sized company, busy solving a problem that customers will pay you for, this situation should be music to your ears. The world will very soon shift gears to Milton Friedman’s prophecy of “Small is Beautiful”. Words like “innovation”, “nimbleness”, “customer centricity” will make a comback sans the usual large company rehtoric of how they are best suited to deliver these. Yes, the broken-down large companies will appear in their smaller avatars but sadly, with their big-company-bullshit now genetically coded. Fear them not.

Keep your head down, Product Manager, and focus on your work. The next decade is yours.

PS: Stay away from the temptation of hiring someone who was fired from one of these large dianosaurs just because he has “connections”. The “connections” are looking for jobs as well.