GoDaddy & Media Temple: The Direction of Influence


GoDaddy Bought Media Temple

News of GoDaddy's purchase of Media Temple came with explanations like they were looking for a way “in” with designers and developers, or that (mt) was looking for an investment to grow internationally.

In just about every post or news article I read, the statement was made that Media Temple would be left to operate on its own.

I don't run a news site and by the time you read this post, you may have already heard the news. What I do write about on this site is  business dynamics, for you, your startup, or your freelance business.

And that's why I thought I would highlight a couple items about this acquisition in that context – particularly about mergers or hiring new staff.

Hiring New Staff?

I know, you're wondering what this has to do with hiring new staff. Well, let me explain. Too much, let me sum up.

Here's the common sense idea:

Every time you hire someone, you change the constitution of your team (and/or business). Every time you hire, you should hire better and smarter people than you already have. This concept is called Top Grading. Many books discuss it.

But here's the reality:

Influence always runs towards the majority.

So what does that mean? 

I think it means, and my experience (hiring and firing over 300 people in the last 20 years) suggests, that a single new hire will be more influenced by their peers than the other way around.

Influence flows from the group to the individual.

Now, it's not exact, but it's often the case.

So how do you change culture?

I'm talking about this in a couple days at Pressnomics, so I won't give it all away here, but there are some tricks to drive influence in the other direction. One of them that I won't be talking about much is really pretty simple when you think about it.

If influence flows in relation to size, change the size of your new hiring practices. Instead of hiring one person at a time, with start dates that are unique, get teams of people to start together.

Create your own cohort.

By doing this, you influence who has influence. There's real power in numbers and you can have a greater impact on change by driving a new team into an organization that has its own culture.

GoDaddy & Media Temple

This is why the GoDaddy / Media Temple deal is interesting to me. If you really want (mt) to influence and impact GoDaddy, then you bring them into the fold as a group and drive changes in the DNA.

But if you leave them to operate on their own (and I get why everyone always says this during a merger, to attempt to calm fears), then they won't have that positive influence. And instead, in other little and big ways, GoDaddy's influence will impact Media Temple more.

It will start with the little things, like administrative duplication that gets cut. But this will have an impact on things like expense reports, which will have an impact on the kinds of events people go to, or what get's sponsored.

From there, it could be hardware consolidation. They're just servers, after all. Right? But we know that's wrong. Tons of evidence to suggest otherwise.

And eventually, the influence and impact will be such that you can't tell the difference, even if they're running their own P&L.

You and Me

What's it mean for you and me?

Well we can't do much about consolidation in any market. But we can watch. We can learn. And you can use this little lesson to help you think about your next acquisition – even if it's just a new employee.