Whether you are a start-up or a large company you need to remain agile. Every now and then, you might have to reinvent yourself or change your business model.

Explore alternatives. Side projects are a huge opportunity to learn new things, experiment with new ideas.

  • “Google instituted a side-project policy similar to 3M’s: technical people are now encouraged to spend 20 percent of their time on approved side projects“
  • Intel started as a semiconductor / memory chip company. They gave it up to focus on the microprocessor business (“Andy Grove: we are burning the boot. We are now a microprocessor company”)
  • IBM in 1993 (Louis Gerstner): “We are going to become a software, system integration and service company”
  • HP used to be a test and instrumentation equipment (spun out as Agilent in 1999); then it became a calculator company; then a PC company.
  • How are Microsoft, Nokia and Nokia Siemens Networks going to reinvent its business model?

On the other hand, in the short-term, you need to remain very focused on your bread and butter business. Your revenues today can only come from your core strength today, not the ones you will need to have tomorrow.