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Zero-Sum Games

October 26, 2021

A corporation is much more stable than a startup. The revenue will typically not move more than a few percentage points a year. There is an organizational hierarchy in place.

True, there may be some opportunities for increasing value-creation, but this may just as well accrue to the shareholders rather than it being reinvested in the organization. Working at a corporation can sometimes feel like, and actually be the fact that, you are playing a zero-sum game. You might get promoted, but that is probably at the expense of somebody else.

Instead if you're working at a startup, you're all focused on building something new together. The focus is to spread the product. When the organization grows, there is room for employees to grow within that organization. Therefore, working at a startup is typically less of a zero-sum game than working at a corporation.

When you're building a startup, your employees are not playing a zero-sum game. Why should employees be competing with each other when they know that if the startup succeeds we will all succeed? This fact is a great starting point for employees to work with each other rather than compete with each other. The best founders make sure to utilize this as much as they can and build this into the culture.