Can a Company Keep Innovating After the Founder Is Gone?

ebay-campus

Marc Andreessen is obsessed with the idea that tech companies need to focus on innovation above all else. He believes that the “output” of technology companies isn’t products — at least not the way the “output” of Ford is cars. The “output” of tech companies, he says, is innovation.

Andreessen’s second theory of innovation is that the people who are the very best at it are the people who create successful technology companies — founders. They are the people who have a proven ability to develop a concept and bring it to fruition.

For this reason, Andreessen believes that tech companies should be run by their founders. The problem for eBay is that its founder, Pierre Omidyar, had no interest in running it. And John Donahoe, a talented manager, had the wisdom to know he was not the kind of visionary who could found an innovative tech company.

So he decided he was going to have to go after the next best thing. He was going to have to build a team of founders, or founder-types, and give them the run of the place. He, meanwhile, would operate as their in-house consultant (and boss).

-Nicholas Carlson, in Business Insider, on the origins of a secretive eBay project, led by Jack Abraham, that helped the company reverse its fortunes. Read more from Carlson.

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Photo: nikonfans, Flickr

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