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Food for Thought: So What’s a Company?

Web Company

Teaching college students business communication required me to dedicate a huge part of the discussion tackling workplace cultures and socio-cultural contexts. I teach in a state university that’s not known for developing the student’s business sense so it took me some extra weeks and a lot of effort to give students’ a glimpse of how the corporate machinery works.

Halfway through the course and hindsight prompted me to ask what’s with business and companies nowadays anyway? This becomes an interesting question especially when you factor in all the dotcoms and Web 2.0 startups. Does a one-man blogging outfit constitute as a company?

Ahmed, over at Tech Soapbox, wrote this great piece entitled You are not a company. It’s an assertion that entrepreneurship isn’t necessarily the establishment of a viable company. This is a very valid reaction especially that with all the monetization avenues available to bloggers or other web developers, anyone can claim to have established his or her one-man/woman company. Ahmed expounds:

It is sad. Any Joe Blow with a computer and blogging software starts to blog. Good for him. He then starts to make money – even enough money to quit his day job and work on blogging fulltime. Good for him. But that is not a company. I would mark it as freelance work (you write stuff, people read it, and ‘pay’ you back in the form of clicking on ads). If you stop blogging, your company goes down the toilet in half a second flat.

For Ahmed, a company is something that has an organization which cannot be achieved by a one-tiered, one-member outfit. By what he presents, it’s a real valid argument. There’s a difference on the concept of a viable company and a business. And differences also lie in the words “freelancer,” “problogger,” and “entrepreneur.” Being a company entails a larger scope and involves pretty much other things – a business direction/goal, an organization, and other checks and balances – not just a means of monetizing a product or service. I haven’t heard of any saying that goes “One’s a company.”

However, this doesn’t mean that just because earning by blogging for someone else doesn’t make you qualify as a company you need not think and operate with much business sense. In fact, you can benefit from thinking like an organization to better what you have to offer. Perhaps, this is just a call to action against pretension. Give credit where credit is due but don’t hog credit when it’s not due you.

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