The heart of tech

This article was published on October 18, 2011


    What is a company?

    What is a company?
    Boris Veldhuijzen van Zanten
    Story by

    Boris Veldhuijzen van Zanten

    CEO and co-founder, TNW

    Boris is a serial entrepreneur who founded not only TNW, but also V3 Redirect Services (sold), HubHop Wireless Internet Provider (sold), and Boris is a serial entrepreneur who founded not only TNW, but also V3 Redirect Services (sold), HubHop Wireless Internet Provider (sold), and pr.co. Boris is very active on Twitter as @Boris and Instagram: @Boris.

    What is a company? Is it the people who work there? Is it the brand? Could it be the customers? Is it the product or service? Is it a combination of all of these elements?

    And once you’ve answered that question; where lies your loyalty? With your customer? Your partners? The shareholders?

    The older I get the more I get the impression that a company is a lot more than a fiscal entity. It is a living thing. An organism with forces pulling at it from all sides. It seems to have a mind of its own. Not like a human being has but more like a beehive. Or maybe it doesn’t even have a mind but it does have purpose.

    So what is the purpose of  a company?
    The obvious answer: to make money.
    The real answer: a whole lot more complicated than that.

    As our company grows I struggle with these questions. When we hire (or fire) someone I talk to my company in my head. I ask it “What is best for you?” and “Where do you want to go and who do you want to be?”

    You can’t focus on just the shareholders, or the customers, or the employees. You will have to make decisions that are beneficial for all the components. Sometimes that will mean making sacrifices and disappointing people. Your loyalty as an entrepreneur should always be with the company.

    What is your relationship with your company?
    Do you ever stop and ask it what it wants out of life?

    Photo credit: Sebastian Kaulitzki via Shutterstock