Technology is the new inescapable geography

(written by lawrence krubner, however indented passages are often quotes). You can contact lawrence at:, or follow me on Twitter.

It is possibly a bad look for me to link to someone who is praising me, but in this comment is a truth that has nothing to do with me: that technology has become the new inescapable geography. The implication is the business leaders of the future can ignore tech only about as much Caesar or Napoleon or Rommel could ignore geography. Tech is the battlefield that future businesses will fight on, it can not be treated as a minor discipline, or an annoyance to be fobbed off on the CTO.

(The commenter was responding to my earlier essay Why are large companies so difficult to rescue.)

This blog post is a better case study than any HBR or consulting firm study I’ve read because the author has a grasp of each of the technology, governance, and economics of the problem. Purely economic or political models of organizations assume you can just reform one to align with incentives, but tech is a physical limitation, it’s the new inescapable geography.

The companies and institutions I’ve encountered all essentially say, “We want success but without change,” and then wonder why their initiatives fail. The point about “Agile” being a euphemism for “trust,” is huge. Startups can be farcically naive (or cynical to the point of evil) about how trust in organizations works.

C&C enterprise structures don’t scale, and they become immensely vulnerable to challengers as a result. This article reminded me of the opportunity that large companies create, like stored potential energy in the form of opportunity costs. It’s like a kingdom spread so widely that a small raiding army can feed itself on what these companies left undefended while planning campaigns.

How much of this article is true for the rest of the Fortune 500?