Microsoft doesn’t have quite the money in the bank that Apple has (just under $100 billion as opposed to the more than $200 billion at Tim Cook’s disposal), but it has plenty to fund many, many years of experimentation as the Windows and Office cash cows slim down. The Steve Ballmer era at Microsoft was characterized by a protect-the-queen mentality that didn’t lose its grip until Satya Nadella succeeded him as CEO in early 2014.
It’s easy to denigrate some of the initiatives started or accelerated during Nadella’s tenure so far as the acts of a copycat, but the shift from “devices and services” has freed the Redmond giant to expand from its core while rethinking how it manages that core. When Microsoft has one of the best email clients running on Apple’s iOS, something profound has changed. Nadella is operating, in a no-longer-Microsoft-centric tech world, with interoperability on his mind.
Some of its bold practices include opening up company salaries and policy for all to see. It’s Clef’s attempt to signal its values, to be a positive part of the city where its employees work and live, and to spread what it has identified as best practices to other companies who are reconsidering how they operate.
At NewCo, we spend a lot of time thinking about mission statements. We ask companies that apply to become NewCos for their mission statement, and we remind them that while most companies have mission statements, we look for companies that are in fact on one. There’s a difference — companies that are on a mission are filled with people who live and breathe their organization’s purpose. If you ask them about the “why” of their business, they’ll usually trace it back to the change their company is trying to make. That change is a verb — an active shift the company wants to see happen.
Put another way, great companies view their business as an argument. The company has a thesis about how the world ought to be in some way different — and every product, service, and customer touchpoint is part of proving that thesis true.
I love being part of naming something. It’s probably the flat out most fun you can have legally with your clothes on — but for many folks, including entrepreneurs, it’s the source of endless consternation.
It doesn’t have to be. Here’s how I think about coming up with a name for something — a company, a new product, even a project you might be working on.
Rule #1: Don’t Overthink It.
A name means nothing till those using it make it mean something.
So be willing to consider non obvious, even crazy names. Google? I mean, really, Google? And….Yahoo?! Alibaba? APPLE?
We at NewCo regularly throw around the term “NewCo” to describe the type of company that presents on our unique “unconference” platform in cities around the world. We thought it would be important to break down this term and describe exactly what we believe constitutes a NewCo. So, here’s an update on our original post, newly edited by co-founder John Battelle.