Startups are hard in big companies and Survivorship Bias

Hunter Walk and Steven Sinofsky were articulating reasons why startups are hard inside established companies. They are by and large correct but I think they need to take survivorship bias into account.

What people remember are the ones that made it big, not the ones that died silently. For every WhatsApp, there are many BelugaPods. On the outside, you have 3-4 startups doing similar things, from which you can select the winner.  Internally, there is often only one effort. We still can’t articulate with any degree of accuracy what are the factors that make success happen, so by definition if you are taking 4-5x more shots on goal on the outside, you’ll end up with more successful outcomes. Simply because you are taking more shots. Buying a successful “disruptive” startup is discovery. 

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