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第二十四讲:企业家与企业建造者

《财富》(中文版) 2011年04月15日

大多数“一夜成功”的案例,准备工作往往都长达20年。一些成功的企业它们之所以与众不同,是因为他们明白自己的最终产品就是公司,他们是在建立一种文化,他们自己是在建立一个体系。

高德思我知道很多人都问过你这个问题。

吉姆·柯林斯但是对同样问题的回答也会有不同的时候,因为我们的想法会发展。

高德思让我们再回到创业者这个话题,特别是中国的创业者,中国有很多创业者。

吉姆·柯林斯这想来是让人激动的。

高德思是挺让人激动的。你书里面研究的都是大型美国公司,大部分是大型上市公司。我相信你已经被这样的问题搞得不耐烦了,但是我还是觉得有必要问,那就是你的研究对创业者来说有什么意义,他们可以从中学到什么呢?换句话说,这些经验教训适用于大型上市公司,但是否同样适用于创业企业呢?

吉姆·柯林斯首先,我的下一本书将明显把重点放在那些后来发展壮大成卓越公司的创业企业。我们之所以想研究它们,是因为它们太容易受环境影响。因此,我们在这方面还是有很多要表达的。但是,我现在可以说两点。

首先谈谈《基业长青》(Built to Last)而不是《从优秀到卓越》(Good to Great)。(在《基业长青》中),我们研究了历史上最伟大的一些创业者。他们都发展成为了卓越的大公司。首先来看看这些公司刚起步的时候。

研究沃尔玛时,我们追溯到了萨姆·沃尔顿仅有一家折扣店的时期。研究惠普时,我们回顾了比尔·休利特和大卫·帕卡德在帕罗阿尔托的车库里做了什么。我们有原始的文件,我和杰瑞需要研究这些材料。惠普向我们开放了他们的档案库。当我们在写《基业长青》的时候就使用了他们的档案库。要知道这是多么令人激动的事情,因为在那里可以看到比尔和大卫写给对方的信。在印着打印字体的发黄纸页上——就像《独立宣言》一样,我们看到了1937年8月23日公司初创时的会议记录。这是用打字机打出来的,信上面有几行字方向有点奇怪,如果你仔细看看,上面说我们于1937年8月23日下午2点创立了一家电子公司。接着下面就用了正常的字体,内容是我们共同成立了一家广义上的无线电技术工程公司,我们决定要生产自己的产品,而不是卖别人的东西。接下来就是这句很有意思的话。“对我们将设计、制造和销售什么产品的问题暂时不进行讨论。”这就是一家伟大公司创立的时刻,当时他们自己都不知道要生产什么。我们看到了他们第一次会议的真实记录。我们看到了惠普的所有原始文件,比如“我们什么时候搬出车库,因为微波炉的震荡器烧坏了。我是说,其实车库也挺好的。”还有索尼的早期,那时他们还做电饭煲。

比尔·艾伦在波音早期的时候,还去做家具生意来为公司获得足够的资金,终于在上世纪20年代建造了第一架飞机。约翰·威拉德·万豪早期曾摆了个艾德熊乐啤露摊儿。他当时的想法就是想开个乐啤露摊儿,不要再呆在犹他州。因此他去了华盛顿,摆了个艾德熊乐啤露摊儿,这就是万豪国际集团开始的地方。

《基业长青》中写了历史上最伟大的一些创业者:大卫·帕卡德、盛田昭夫、萨姆·沃尔顿、约翰·威拉德·万豪和威廉·迈克奈特。威廉·迈克奈特是3M公司早期辉煌的缔造者。通用电气的托马斯·爱迪生和查尔斯·科芬。虽然已是过去很久的事,但是我们还是对这些大公司的早期发展很好奇。让我谈谈这些卓越公司背后的那些企业家们。让我们花个几分钟来谈谈他们,他们知道自己是新的一代,并证明了自己是终极的企业家。就像亨利·福特、查尔斯·科芬和大卫·帕卡德他们那样。他们身上凸显出了一些独特的品质,我们刚刚也提到过,但是值得我们反复强调。

他们作为公司的创始人,将一家小公司发展成为一家卓越公司的平均时间是36年。这些公司是不会很快地换掉创业者的,他们通常会继续领导公司很多年。并且这些公司大多都没有接受大量外部资金。

Thomas D. Gorman: Well, I know you've been asked this question, thousands of times, but...

Jim Collins: Sometimes the same question produces different answers because I grow in my thinking.

Thomas D. Gorman: But, let's go back to entrepreneurs, and specifically entrepreneurs in China, of whom there are many.

Jim Collins: Which is exciting.

Thomas D. Gorman: It is exciting.

Jim Collins: The research set for your books has obviously consisted of large American companies, large public companies for the most part. And the questions that I'm sure you're tired of being asked, but I think it needs to be asked again, is: What relevance and what learning is there in your research for the entrepreneur? In other words, are the lessons generally applicable to the entrepreneurial set, as much as they are to the big public company set. 

First of all, when we get to the next piece of work that's coming, it actually really picks up a really explicit emphasis on startups that went on to become great companies, and the reason is because we wanted them because they are so vulnerable to the environment. So, we're going to have a lot to say at that point. But, I can say two things now.

First, go back to "Built to Last" more so than "Good to Great". (In "Built to Last") we really studied some of the greatest entrepreneurs in history. It's just that they became great big companies. But, let's just start by looking at some of the ones we looked at when they were small.

We looked at Wal-mart when Sam Walton had one dime store, we looked at HP when Bill Hewlett and David Packard were in a garage in Palo Alto and what they did, we have the original (document), which Jerry and I got to study, HP opened their archives to us. And we went into their archives when we were working on "Built to Last". Just to show you how exciting this is, you go in and there are Bill and Dave's letters to each other. nd on this wonderful typed piece of sort of yellowed paper, -- like The Declaration of Independence or something -- is the original founding minutes of the company, August 23, 1937 and it's sort of typed on a typewriter and it's got a letter that goes off in a strange direction and you look at it, it says, we got together to form an electronics company on August 23, 1937, at 2 PM in the afternoon. And then it types out and says, we got together to form a company in the radio technology engineering field broadly defined and we decided we want to make our own stuff and not sell others people's stuff. And then there's this wonderful line. "The question of what we will design and manufacture and sell however, was postponed." And so you have the founding moment of this great company, at which time they didn't even know what they were going to make. And you have their actual minutes of their first meeting. We got to look at all the original documents of the Hewlett Packard Company, things like, when are we going to get out of the garage, because the oscillator burned up in the oven. I mean, it's just all right there. So, also you looked at the early days of Sony when they had that rice cooker.

Look at the early days of Boeing when Bill Allen kept the business alive by going into the furniture business, used furniture business, just to bring in enough cash flow to be able to make their first airplanes in the 1920's. You back go back to the early days of Marriott, when J. Willard Marriott started with an A&W Root Beer stand. His founding concept was, I just want to start a root beer stand and I don't want to live in Utah anymore. So, he goes to Washington, DC and he starts an A&W Root Beer stand. That's the start of Marriott.

We have some of the greatest entrepreneurs in history that were in "Built to Last": Dave Packard, Akio Morita, Sam Walton, J. Willard Marriott, William McKnight, who was the person who really architected the early days of 3M. Thomas Edison and Charles Coffin, of GE. So, while it's fairly far in the past, we were very curious about the very early days of these, what became, great companies. Let me sort of talk through the lenses of these, what became great companies, about the entrepreneurs behind them. Let's maybe just spend a few minutes, because these were some of the people that know they are of a different generation, but they proved themselves as the ultimate entrepreneurs. These are the Henry Fords, these are the Charles Coffins, these are the David Packards. So, a few things stand out, one we mentioned earlier, but is worth emphasizing.

They grew, the average amount of time that they were in the seat of founding architect or founding chief architect of building a small company to a great company, 36 years. So, this idea that you have an entrepreneur who then is very quickly replaced ... that's not what these people did; they were in harness for a long time. And most of them did it without a lot of outside capital.

 

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