Why does Rand Fishkin think bureaucracy is bad?

(written by lawrence krubner, however indented passages are often quotes). You can contact lawrence at: lawrence@krubner.com

If some business leaders now feel this way, the question arises why some business leaders did not feel this way 100 years ago. What is changing about the kind of people who become business leaders?


Having never worked anywhere else in my adult life (apart from a couple retail jobs in college), these new professional experiences have, I think, made me a better future CEO, and a better person all-around. It’s hard to have real empathy for something you haven’t personally gone through and until the last 22 months, I’d never worked directly for someone in a formal setting like Moz with a real risk of losing my job if I didn’t do what was required of me.

Let me be clear – Moz is a WAY, WAY less corporate, inauthentic, frustrating place to work than anywhere else I’ve ever heard about among tech companies our size. My friends from other mid-late stage startups laugh at my complaints, as well they should, and most Mozzers just tell me how lucky we all have it compared to what’s out there. As a consultant for the first 8 years of my career, I agree that there’s nothing like the bureaucracy, politics, or throwaway work I saw at larger companies inside Moz… I’m just extremely, overly sensitive to even a hint of going in that direction, and when I feel us tilting that way, I go a little crazy.

But in my saner moments, I know that my sensitivity is, in part, a reaction to the guilt and shame I feel from the past, along with a pride I take in wanting Moz to be somewhere different, somewhere amazing, and somewhere that reflects my peculiar values. My best self – the version that can be reflective and patient – knows that Sarah is building Moz to be what she wants, and that’s what good CEOs are supposed to do. My job is to support her, to see her vision through, and to get out of the way when I can’t be a positive force in that trajectory. I think anyone inside or outside the company can easily see how much better off we are today than we were two years ago – for that, I’m immensely proud of and thankful for Sarah’s great work.