Chapter Listing | Return to 1997 Topical Index

EXHIBIT 2 Descriptions of the Three Ventures, and Data collected    

Company Description  Data Collections:         Phase       Week            Date   Changes in Organizational Resources 
WebDesign  
     Software/System Design 
     Seeks VC $; New product 
       development; 6+ years. 
     ~7 employees 
 
  1              9               8/15/96   2            15               9/26/96 3            21             11/7/96   4            26             12/11/96  5            31              1/17/97  * Med. Shift (N=3) 
Between #1 and #2 
[9/5/96 -> 9/12/96] 
• Major Shift (N=5) 
Between #2 and #3. 
[9/30/96 -> 10/31/96]
ApplySci 
     Applied Science 
      R & D stage; 3+ years 
     ~ 25 employees 
 
 1              6               9/25/96  2              9             10/17/96 3            18              1/12/97 4            27              2/20/97  * Med. Shift (N=4)* 
Between #2 and #3 
[11/14/96 -> 12/3/96] 
• Major Shift (N=5) 
 Between #3 and #4 
[1/14/97 -> 2/2/97]
AgencyInc 
     Insurance Agency 
     Growth thru acquisitions 
     5+ years; 10 employees
1              5              9/14/96  2              9             10/15/96  3            18             12/16/96 4            22             1/20/97  No shifts; subtle differences were found between each period.

* N = number of shifts in organizational domains.
The most salient organizational resource at the initial data collection phase [DCP] was Sales activity.  "Generate sales, that's our problem,"  described the CEO.  Secondly, Personnel was an issue; a full time professional sales person was hired to push the sales effort forward.  "He (the sales person) has driven that shift" {Operations manager}.  Thirdly was the Development of crucial strategic relationships with VC providers and with their previous defense industry clients.  The CFO responsible for the task reported that "20 VC's have a degree of interest in us. ...The next 60–90 days is bellweather period."  Fourthly are Technological development activities for the web site and the new version of the technology.  "[The next version] is more powerful... But it's in the background" said the Operations manager, while the lead programmer said, "The work isn't too hard, just time consuming."
 
 Between DCP 1 and 2 a moderate shift occurred (N=3).  A new market was being explored by the operations manager; and two new strategic initiatives were started,.  Most salient at DCP2 is Cycle times for sales, which seems to be too slow to make ends meet.  "It's not an easy  sell" acknowledged the CFO.  "There are long cycle times, long sales cycles. [We're] quickly running out of cash."  The CEO was more direct:  "Sales, sales, sales... That's where we're at.  Really worried about cash."   Secondly, the Development of strategic relationships was heating up.  The CFO said, "We did meet with a VC.  We did pass a preliminary 'test.'  And, "We've seen a ground swell of interest for acquiring rights to our [technology]."   Thirdly more emphasis was put on increasing Organizational capabilities around their core technology. For example, a new contract required them to create graphics capabilities in one of the components of their technology.  As one programmer said, "A lot of stuff they (the customers) are asking for is stuff we've never done. The question is whether we can do it."

 A major punctuated shift occurred in the month between the second and third data collection phase, after several months of unsuccessful proposals and discouraging venture capital contacts.  The CEO–entrepreneur hit a 'trip wire:'  "I decided we're going to put the whole thing on hold. ...[We're going through] restructuring, downsizing, retrenchment."  During that month among other changes, four individuals (of seven) were laid off and the basic orientation of the company was redesigned.   After that, the resources that emerge remained constant through the following three data collection phases.

 In DCP 3, 4, and 5, Contracting and service delivery became salient, in contrast to the previous focus on sales and marketing.  "[We're] focusing very much on the consulting business" {CEO}.  Secondly the Knowledge base in the company became quite salient; as the lead programmer lamented, "We've lost about a quarter of our knowledge.  So that will hurt..."  At the same time talk about hiring another technical person was already under way: "We want to find someone who can do everything {Lead programmer}.  Thirdly, as new consulting contracts  expanded, the Formal planning function became much more salient and deliberate.  The CEO pointed out "[Our DOD client] has expanded again–-I need a project plan to them tomorrow."  And one long conversation focused on developing the architecture for the new project.  This planning function is notable in its near absence in previous phases.   A summary of resource changes is shown in Exhibit 3.
 
 

Top of page | Chapter Listing | Return to 1997 Topical Index

1997 Babson College All Rights Reserved
Last Updated 06/01/98