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The Plusses and Minuses of Scrappiness

Debbie Sterling, GoldieBlox
With Tina Seelig, Stanford University

In the early days, admits GoldieBlox founder and CEO Debbie Sterling, the company had a focus problem. Small, under-resourced teams were hacking together numerous projects and exploring all opportunities at once. A more orderly and strategic rollout might have been more efficient, she concludes. On the other hand, she adds, some of those early projects — like the award-winning GoldieBlox mobile app — benefitted from that scrappy, nimble structure. She finds that a sudden influx of people and resources can sometimes bog down a project, and that small, scrappy teams have a place in mature companies as well.