How Acquihires Can Hurt Your Business
A number of companies I’ve worked with seem to have a pattern for innovating – instead of looking to build products and services based on the ideas of their own people, they typically scan the market for interesting companies to buy up, and acquihire them into the belly of the beast. I can see why the model seems to work for them, they let the startup founders take the risk, do all the work, gain traction (or at least develop some interesting IP) then give them an offer that they can’t refuse. I’ve seen a ton of companies do through this – Yahoo!, Google, Facebook, all of the major internet companies seem to do this – they seem to want to be innovative by snapping up these companies, instead of innovating internally. Well, maybe in addition to innovating internally, but from both the employee perspective and external company watcher perspective, it seems that they look like they aren’t capable of innovating anymore. This is, of course, untrue: there are plenty of innovators and innovative ideas within these companies. But without a comprehensive innovation program which helps to extract those ideas and reward the innovators, and the drive to take those ideas to market, they never seem to see the light of day.