Earlier last month, I gave a guest lecture in the undergraduate software engineering class at the University of Washington. The class was comprised of a few small teams (5-7 people) working on quarter-long projects, building fairly complex software systems. In giving this lecture, I realized that it is precisely small teams like these that are making a tremendous impact on media. Namely, small start up Internet media companies are transforming multi-billion dollar media industries. And, it is a small team of "kids" like these students that are leading the charge.
- Napster and Kazaa transformed the music industry.
MerchantCircle is going shake up the Yellow Pages industry. All done with a small team of people. How is this possible? First, while a small team can be disruptive; it takes a large team to be sustaining. Second, small teams can be more efficient. And third, as Auren Hoffman points out, success means you must pay a big tax that a start up may have the luxury of ignoring.