Organization 2.0

While I was at web 2.0 conference last week I was reflecting upon the organizational structure of web 2.0 companies....and of Judy's Book in particular.

I think that smaller is better. Basically, in my mind I want to keep the organization size of Judy's Book under 20 people. Why?

A few reasons: First, small organizations run better. I am reminded of when I was running abuzz and shopping for new office space in the Watertown, MA area. I entered a class B office space as a prospective tenant...and met the 65 year old owner of a publishing company. The owner had a hot tub in the middle of his office.  He told me his company did about 5 million in sales and that he had some 50+ people. I also remember him telling me that the optimal size for a company was 18. He said, "You needed enough people to get something done but not enough to add in additional organization middle management layers." I've never forgotten this little anecdote. In part because the advice made sense to me, in part because he had a hot tub in the middle of his office, and in part because his publishing company was most known for fart books -- ahh, the gas we pass.

Second, I've been watching a bunch of very successful 2.0 companies (thirst seven signal, forty three things) who have organizations sizes of between 10-20...and that is right where I want to keep Judy's Book until such time that I HAVE to grow beyond that. Smaller is better for lots of reasons -- the company is more nimble, flexible, and effective.  Ultimately, there's less bureaucracy.

So, for now, I'm trying now to keep my company at this level -- this isn't a hard and fast rule. But for now, I think organizations 2.0 will be smaller than their earlier predecessors.