The Small Company Thing

Lane Halley at Cooper recently sent me an article from the Harvard Business Review on why small companies have an edge in this economy. The author argues that the employment situation is so uncertain in large companies that customers of those companies won’t be well-served. The invisibility of working for a large company means that your efforts on behalf of clients are easily missed. That in turn makes it easy for you to be laid off, even if you’re doing a stellar job. Big companies erode the trust of their employees, which in turn erodes the trust of their clients.

We occasionally interview someone who asks about the risks of working for a small company like Atomic. That’s usually a sign that this person is a “big company” type person, and not a good match for us. While security isn’t the only difference between small and big companies, I think in our case it actually cuts the other way. Atomic has never laid anyone off in our eight years of operations. By contrast, every single one of our customers that employs developers or engineers has had to do that at some point. These are great companies with successful products that employ smart people they care about. But they’ve all had layoffs.

We only employ 23 people, so it’s an apple/orange comparison with our large customers, but for those 23 people, it seems to me the security argument favors Atomic. (Knock on wood.)