Five Org Design Things N° 4
Tesla and vertical integration; hotels and the theory of the firm; Shipt dystopia; Range's newest raise; digital service.
Tesla & Vertical Integration
This is an absolutely wild read. There are a few things here: one is the seemingly inescapable pull of existing supply chain configurations; the second is vertical integration of capabilities, versus the traditional product/geo/function matrix; the third is leadership's willingness to build, not rent. Send this one to your boss immediately.
This is a summary of a new research paper on balancing in-sourcing and out-sourcing of management in the hospitality space. The paper itself isn't out yet, but there's an interesting finding in there: hotels with middling occupancy rates are generally all managed by employees from the chain, not by franchisees with skin in the game. Low- and high-performing hotels tended to be managed by franchisees; outsourcing, then, is not a guarantee for performance, but a necessary condition for it. I'm not sure that there are generalizable theories of the firm in here, but it sure is interesting.
Today in the dystopia
Another day, another last-mile problem with unit costs that have to be subsidized by investor capital or unpaid labor. We have to stop trying this kind of thing.
Range raised $6mm
I was super excited to see what the smart folks coming out of Medium would do after experimenting with self-organization, and Range seems like they're finding good traction. Range focuses on standardizing/ritualizing meetings and check-ins, and is something of meta-logbook for objectives. I'm not sure it's designed for enterprise (I'm not sure it would land with teams at R/GA, say), but it's definitely making progress in a good direction.
Digital Service ≠ digital services
This link doesn't come through that well with my special card formatting, but it's worth a read. So I linked the headline. This is a post by Peter Karman, who spent a couple years at 18F. In it, Peter describes a different way of thinking about the efforts underway to digitize government that happens to align perfectly with my views on what must change within large organizations. That is to say: it's almost never the technical stuff, but how we think about risk, relationships, and process.