The Four Acts of Company Building
There are often four acts to building a company.
The story of Unreasonable/Uncharted could be told in four acts:
- Early traction and success
- Everything seems possible, so an expansion into many possibilities
- Over-extension and over-expansion, eventually leading to a sense of having lost its way
- Refocusing on fundamentals and practicing discipline to stay true to them
One year ago today, Uncharted merged with Common Future, after having spent over a decade exploring all types of possibilities, only to return to its roots. Were all those strategic pivots and model evolutions the necessary intervening steps so we could be reminded about who we were? Or is there some leadership framework that could have helped guide us more directly? I don’t know, but I do notice a similar four-act storyline playing itself out in other companies. Perhaps this is the inevitable arc of entrepreneurs who find themselves trying to negotiate a truce between their blooming ambition and their soft-spoken judgment. Or perhaps this is the homeostatic process of growing up as a leader: up, down, left, right, until we recognize we’re just zeroing in on the path that’s ours to take.