When did academia completely lose their integrity? I wonder this while reading Kara Swisher's account of the ceremony in which Harvard Business School awarded Facebook its "30th Entrepreneurial Company of the Year Award". Here's a quote...
While it is not yet clear exactly what kind of business case study Facebook will turn out to be in the end–a raging success or a raging something else entirely–that has not stopped Harvard from feting the hot and hyped social-networking site.
That would be the Harvard Business School Association of Northern California, which will bestow upon Facebook its 30th Entrepreneurial Company of the Year Award on June 17 at the Hyatt Regency San Francisco Airport.
This, to me, is an embarrassment to the Harvard Business School. From a business perspective what exactly does Facebook have to brag about? What business school skills does Facebook epitomize precisely?
Thus far they are a company that burns through investor money while failing to come up with any way to sustain themselves. How exactly does a company that still has no idea how to make a profit after over 4 years of existence get an award for being a well run business?
This isn't to take away from certain impressive technical innovations Facebook has made but even those are few and far between (other than the Facebook platform what technically have they really accomplished?)
This might seem like a mindless rant of annoyance and, to a certain extent, it is. But the bigger issue here is that business organization does matter. At some point consultants spouting words like "empowerment" and "employee self motivation" made us forget that business management is a requirement of a truly successful company (you know, the ones that actually turn profits)
Apple engineers created technical wonders years ahead of their time between the years of 1985 and 1998 (The Jobs-less years) including not one, not two, but three different Operating Systems that were better than Windows in every conceivable way. But the place was a chaotic mess where no one could get a project out the door. So a company with the finest engineers in the industry stagnated despite the fact that they were creating world class products.
That is the importance of business management. Good process insures a business against that type of thing and you need people who have studied creating good process to make that happen.
The same is true with making a profit. Someone with some business sense might have said "Hey, maybe we should do some market research on this Beacon thing to see if people will consider it a horrible invasion of their privacy." Again, the reason market research exists is to avoid just such disasters and not knowing that gets you into trouble.
But when even the Harvard Business School seems to have abandoned the principles of good business management one has to wonder how the next generation is going to get anything done.