Beware of foreign entanglements!

In his farewell address George Washington didn’t say those exact words, but his message was pretty clearly, “beware of foreign entanglements.” Right on, brother, and it applies to business too!

The lure of collaboration, especially with larger companies, is that the other guys will make you rich. It is tempting to think that the other company’s wealth will rub off on you or they will do most of the work. It won’t and they won’t.

Maybe synergy will make our combined efforts produce more money than either of us would produce alone! I have never seen that happen. Quite the opposite, actually. The added cross-company communication makes the project much harder than if you had done it just within your own team. These projects are never as simple as you think they will be. Every one you say yes to slows you down.

The bottom line is that no one else is going to make you rich. You have to do it yourself.

I don’t want this article to be a total downer, so let me say that interactions with other people and companies are not all bad. Make friends with people outside your company. Share advice, even with your competition, and you will both grow. Do favors like trade products or mention fun projects on your blog. Just be wary of expensive or time-consuming entanglements.

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About the Author:

Jeff Butterworth is the founder of Alien Skin Software. He used to create the products, but now he does marketing and gets coffee for the programmers.

One Comment

  1. Bill LaChasse October 20, 2011 at 2:05 pm

    I like your understanding of companies…. Going up to the next level of understanding, Thomas Jefferson put it like this:
    “If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their money, first by inflation and then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around them will deprive the people of their property until their children will wake up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered.”
    Think about it, everyone. Think for yourself. Succeed by your own work otherwise those who “take care” of you will own you. This is called slavery.

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