Company Of One: Why Staying Small Is the Next Big Thing for Business - Paul Jarvis 2019



xii people would rather get electric shocks: Timothy D. Wilson, David A. Reinhard, Erin C. Westgate, Daniel T. Gilbert, Nicole Ellerbeck, Cheryl Hahn, Casey L. Brown, and Adi Shaked, “Just Think: The Challenges of the Disengaged Mind,” Science 345, no. 6192 (July 4, 2014): 75—77.


7 The word “intrapreneur”: Gifford Pinchot III, “Who Is the Intrapreneur?” in Intrapreneuring: Why You Don’t Have to Leave the Corporation to Become an Entrepreneur (New York: HarperCollins, 1985), 28—48.

8 In a recent study: Vijay Govindarajan and Jatin Desai, “Recognize Intrapreneurs Before They Leave,” Harvard Business Review (September 20, 2013),

12 42 percent of jobs are at risk: Creig Lamb, “The Talented Mr. Robot: The Impact of Automation on Canada’s Workforce,” Brookfield Institute for Innovation + Entrepreneurship, Toronto, June 2016,, 3—8.

within the next ten to twenty years: Council of Economic Advisers, Economic Report to the President: Together with the Annual Report of the Council of Economic Advisers (Washington, D.C.: White House, February 2016),

15 employee satisfaction goes up, and turnover goes down: Cali Ressler and Jody Thompson, Why Work Sucks and How to Fix It (New York: Portfolio, 2010), 11—36.

16 more than one-third of jobs in America: Edelman Intelligence, Freelancing in America 2016, commissioned by Upwork and Freelancers Union, October 6, 2016,


27 74 percent of those businesses failed: Max Marmer, Bjoern Lasse Herrmann, Ertan Dogrultan, and Ron Berman, “Startup Genome Report Extra on Premature Scaling,” Startup Genome, San Francisco, CA, August 29, 2011,

27 the Kauffman Foundation and Inc. magazine did a follow-up study: Jason Wiens and Chris Jackson, “The Importance of Young Firms for Economic Growth,” Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, Kansas City, MO, September 2015,

30 left the company: Joel Gascoigne, “Change at Buffer: The Next Phase, and Why Our Co-Founder and Our CTO Are Moving On,” Buffer Open, February 10, 2017,

35 earns $400,000 a year: Pieter Levels, interview by Courtland Allen, Indie Hackers, July 2016,

39 the number of non-employee establishments: U.S. Census data cited in Elaine Pofeldt, “How to Find Your Million-Dollar, One-Person Business Idea,” Forbes, May 27, 2017,


46 Research from the University of Lausanne business school: John Antonakis, Marika Fenley, and Sue Liechti, “Can Charisma Be Taught? Tests of Two Interventions,” Academy of Management: Learning and Education 10, no. 3 (2011): 374—396.

47 found that introverted leaders: Adam Grant, Francesca Gino, and David A. Hofmann, “The Hidden Advantages of Quiet Bosses,” Harvard Business Review ( December 2010),

49 empowered, self-directed, or autonomous teams: Drita Kruja, Huong Ha, Elvisa Drishti, and Ted Oelfke, “Empowerment in the Hospitality Industry in the United States,” Journal of Hospitality Marketing and Management (March 3, 2015).

52 “a little bit about a lot”: Meghan Casserly, “The Secret Power of the Generalist—And How They’ll Rule the Future,” Forbes, July 10, 2010,

55 stop hustling: David Heinemeier Hansson, “Trickle-down Workaholism in Startups,” Signal vs. Noise, May 30, 2017,

Workaholism: Wayne E. Oates, Confessions of a Workaholic: The Facts About Work Addiction (Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 1971).

56 the term “power paradox”: Jerry Useem, “Power Causes Brain Damage,” Atlantic, July/August 2017,

56qualities that lead to the leadership roles: Useem, “Power Causes Brain Damage.”

58 when people take the time: Rik Kirkland interview with Adam Grant, “Wharton’s Adam Grant on the Key to Professional Success,” McKinsey & Company, June 2014,


63 five times as much as keeping an existing one: Graham Charlton, “Companies More Focused on Acquisition Than Retention: Stats,” Econsultancy, New York, August 30, 2015,

finding new customers: “Cross-Channel Marketing Report 2013,” Econsultancy, New York, August 2013,

64 “You can’t sell your way”: Gary Sutton, Corporate Canaries: Avoid Business Disasters with a Coal Miner’s Secrets (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, Inc., 2005).

Steve Martin has had similar thoughts: Steve Martin, “Steve Martin Teaches Comedy,” MasterClass,


78 B-corporation: “Certified B Corporations,” B Lab, accessed October 4, 2017,

78risk of slowing sales: “Seventh Generation Staffers Line Dry Their Laundry,” Seventh Generation, Burlington, VT, July 1, 2010,

78$250 million in revenue: Beth Kowitt, “Seventh Generation CEO: Here’s How the Unilever Deal Went Down,” Fortune, September 20, 2016,

79 Branson summed up purpose: Richard Branson, “5 Ways to Build a Project with Purpose,” Virgin, July 16, 2014,

81 positive economic impacts for companies: Michael E. Porter and Mark R. Kramer, “Strategy and Society: The Link Between Competitive Advantage and Corporate Social Responsibility,” Harvard Business Review, December 2006,

81 at the University of Quebec: Robert J. Vallerand, “On the Psychology of Passion: In Search of What Makes People’s Lives Most Worth Living,” January 2007,’s_Lives_Most_Worth_Living.

82 following your passion is fundamentally flawed: Cal Newport, So Good They Can’t Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work You Love (New York: Grand Central Publishing, 2012), xviii.

engaging work helps you develop passion: William MacAskill, Doing Good Better: How Effective Altruism Can Help You Make a Difference (New York: Avery, 2015), 147—178.

86 not be just a job but an adventure: Jeffrey Jensen Arnett and Elizabeth Fishel, “Is 30 the New 20 for Young Adults?” AARP, Washington, D.C., November 1, 2010,

86always winners: M. P. Mueller, “How to Manage (and Avoid) Entitled Employees,” New York Times, March 23, 2012,

88 attempting to focus on more than one priority: Mary Czerwinski, Eric Horvitz, and Susan Wilhite, “A Diary Study of Task Switching and Interruptions,” Microsoft Research, Redmond, WA, January 1, 2004,, 4—6.

88reduced by more than ten points: “’Infomania’ Worse Than Marijuana,” BBC News, April 22, 2005,

88for every interruption: Gloria Mark, Daniela Gudick, and Ulrich Klocke, “The Cost of Interrupted Work: More Speed and Stress,”

91 we make bad decisions: Cara Feinberg, “The Science of Scarcity: A Behavioral Economist’s Fresh Perspectives on Poverty,” Harvard Magazine, May/June 2015,

92 fifty-five hours a week: John Pencavel, “The Productivity of Work Hours,” IZA Discussion Paper 8129, Institute for the Study of Labor, Bonn, Germany, April 2014,, 52—54.


97 lose 17,000 followers within hours: Anthony H. Normore, Handbook of Research on Effective Communication, Leadership, and Conflict Resolution (Hershey, PA: IGI Global, 2016), 151—153.

97wander 46.9 percent of the time: Matthew A. Killingsworth and Daniel T. Gilbert, “A Wandering Mind Is an Unhappy Mind,” Science 330, no. 6006 (November 12, 2010): 932,

100 ignore everyone else: Evan Carmichael, “Guy Kawasaki’s Top 10 Rules for Success (@GuyKawasaki),” YouTube, posted March 14, 2016,

101 hire journalists to denigrate: Sam Thielman and Dominic Rushe, “Government-Backed Egg Lobby Tried to Crack Food Startup, Emails Show,” Guardian, September 2, 2015,

101“Can we pool our money to put a hit on him?”: Deena Shanker, “There Is Literally a U.S. Government Conspiracy Against Vegan Mayo,” Quartz, September 2, 2015,


106 great customer service: “2011 Customer Experience Impact Report: Getting to the Heart of the Consumer and Brand Relationship,” Oracle, Redwood Shores, CA, 2012,

106ten times as much as their first purchase: The original study is out of print. However, “Increasing Customer Satisfaction,” a summary of the 1974—1979 study and the 1984—1986 studies for the U.S. Office of Consumer Affairs, was published by the U.S. Consumer Information Center, Pueblo, CO, 1986.

106don’t ever return: Ruby Newell-Legner, “Understanding Our Customers and Their Loyalty” (video), Seven Star Service, Littleton, CO,2014,

108 less on the tangibles of a product: Marc Beaujean, Jonathan Davidson, and Stacey Madge, “The ’Moment of Truth’ in Customer Service,” McKinsey Quarterly ( February 2006),

109 word-of-mouth referrals: Anita Campbell, “November 2005 Survey ’Selling to Small Business’” (letter from the publisher), Small Business Trends, November 2005,

110 help your business: “The Business Case for Loving Customers,” HelpScout, accessed June 23, 2017,

111 “empathy index”: Belinda Parmar, “The Most (and Least) Empathetic Companies,” Harvard Business Review, November 27, 2015,

112 internally led innovations: Gary L. Lilien, Pamela D. Morrison, Kathleen Searls, Mary Sonnack, and Eric von Hippel, “Performance Assessment of the Lead User Idea Generation Process for New Product Development,” April 1, 2002,

115 number-one most innovative company: Jeff Kauflin,“The World’s Most Innovative Growth Companies: 2017,” Forbes, May 17, 2017,

11534 percent increase in sales revenue: “SalesForce Pardot Customer Success,” SalesForce Pardot, accessed October 4, 2017,

119 far less for malpractice: Aaron E. Carroll, “To Be Sued Less, Doctors Should Consider Talking to Patients More,” New York Times, June 1, 2015,

119malpractice filings dropped by half: Kevin Sack, “Doctors Say ’I’m Sorry’ Before ’See You in Court,’” New York Times, May 18, 2008,

119in most cases apologizing: University of Nottingham, “Saying Sorry Really Does Cost Nothing,” ScienceDaily, September 23, 2009,

120 one of the ten most-hated companies in America: Douglas A. McIntyre, “The 10 Most Hated Companies in America,” 24/7WallSt, January 13, 2012,

120didn’t answer support requests on social media: Anna Drennan, “Consumer Study: 88% Less Likely to Buy from Companies Who Ignore Complaints in Social Media,” Conversocial, December 19, 2011,

121 don’t align with their actions: Luigi Guiso, Paola Sapienza, and Luigi Zingales, “The Value of Corporate Culture,” September 2013,

121“commitment drift”: Maryam Kouchaki, Elizabeth Doty, and Francesca Gino, “Does Your Company Keep Its Promises? Revealing and Addressing Commitment Drift in Business,” Harvard University, Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics, July 21, 2014,


127 low salaries, and unfair treatment: Naomi Klein, No Is Not Enough: Resisting Trump’s Shock Politics and Winning the World We Need (New York: Haymarket Books, 2017), 113.

129 return on investment of 3,800 percent: Jordie van Rijn, “National Client Email Report 2015,” Data & Marketing Association, 2015,

130 26 percent more likely to be opened: Campaign Monitor, “The New Rules of Email Marketing,”

130 segmented automation emails: “Q1 2017 Email Trends and Benchmarks Show Increase in Desktop Open Rates,” Epsilon, July 24, 2017,,7,11.


142 1,200 clients of an investment firm: Andreas B. Eisingerich and Simon J. Bell, “Customer Education Increases Trust,” MIT Sloan Management Review, October 1, 2008,

145 advice from experts: Brandon Keim, “Given ’Expert’ Advice, Brains Shut Down,” Wired, March 25, 2009,


152 92 percent of consumers: Cited in “Consumer Trust in Online, Social and Mobile Advertising Grows,” Nielsen, April 10, 2012,

152rated referrals: Anita Campbell, “85 Percent of Small Businesses Get Customers Through Word of Mouth,” Small Business Trends, June 10, 2015,

153 smaller businesses thrive: Fareena Sultan and William Qualls, “Placing Trust at the Center of Your Internet Strategy,” MIT Sloan Management Review 42, no. 1 (Fall 2000): 39—48.

153only 29 percent actually do so: “Anatomy of the Referral: Economics of Loyalty,” Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX, and Advisor Impact, Salisbury, NC, December 2010.

15388 percent of American consumers: “Local Consumer Review Survey 2014,” BrightLocal, 2014,


168 predictability, accessibility: George Whitesides, “Towards a Science of Simplicity,” TED Talks, February 2010,

170 the most-funded KickStarter project ever: “Pebble Time—Awesome Smartwatch, No Compromises,” Kickstarter, accessed October 9, 2017,

170( didn’t ensure Pebble’s long-term success): Lauren Goode, “Fitbit Bought Pebble for Much Less Than Originally Reported,” The Verge, February 22, 2017,

171 best suited for consumer-facing products: Olav Sorenson, “Could Crowdfunding Reshape Entrepreneurship?” Yale Insights, July 14, 2016,

171who are predominantly white males: Gené Teare and Ned Desmond, “The First Comprehensive Study on Women in Venture Capital and Their Impact on Female Founders,” TechCrunch, April 19, 2016,

171other white men: Alison Wood Brooks, Laura Huang, Sarah Wood Kearney, and Fiona E. Murray, “Investors Prefer Entrepreneurial Ventures Pitched by Attractive Men,” PNAS, February 20, 2014,; see also Malin Malmström, Jeaneth Johansson, and Joakim Wincent, “Gender Stereotypes and Venture Support Decisions: How Governmental Venture Capitalists Socially Construct Entrepreneurs’ Potential,” Entrepreneurship: Theory and Practice 41, no. 5 (September 2017): 833—860.

171hitting their fundraising goals than men: “Women Unbound: Unleashing Female Entrepreneurial Potential,” PwC and the Crowdfunding Center, July 2017,

175 you’ve launched too late: Anthony Ha, “LinkedIn Founder Reid Hoffman’s 10 Rules of Entrepreneurship,” VentureBeat, March 15, 2011,

175simply good enough to launch: Jim Collins, “Good to Great,” Fast Company, October 2001,

176 “Every company now is a technology company”: Anil Dash, “There Is No ’Technology Industry,’ ” Medium, August 19, 2016,

177 “are even on the radar screen in terms of competition”: Rick Munarriz, “Blockbuster CEO Has Answers,” Motley Fool, December 10, 2008,

177“Screw the Nano”: Clint Ecker, “Motorola: ’Screw the Nano!’ ” Ars Technica, September 23, 2005,

177“staring at a plywood box every night”: “Worst Tech Predictions of All Time,” Telegraph, June 29, 2016,


183 social networking section of Apple’s app store: Sarah Perez, “Video Texting App Glide Is Going ’Viral,’ Now Ranked Just Ahead of Instagram in App Store,” TechCrunch, July 24, 2013,

184 great customer experience: Sarah Perez, “When Growth Hacking Goes Bad,” TechCrunch, January 3, 2014,

184path to failure, exponentially: Andy Johns, “What Does Andy Johns Think of Pinterest’s Rapid Growth? What Factors Do You Believe Drove Its Viral Growth, Especially from 2011—Present?” Quora, March 17, 2014,

184for attention at any time: Des Traynor, “If It’s Important, Don’t Hack It,” Inside Intercom, February 12, 2013,

185 rate of repayment on Kiva is 97 percent: See the Kiva website at (accessed October 13, 2017).

187 coining the term in 1916: “L. J. Hanifan,” Wikipedia, last modified June 2, 2017,

189 comes from the social capital of a business: Willy Bolander, Cinthia B. Satornino, Douglas E. Hughes, and Gerald R. Ferris, “Social Networks Within Sales Organizations: Their Development and Importance for Salesperson Performance,” American Marketing Association, 2015,

190 several courses and workshops on the subject: “Customer Relationship Strategies: The Key to Developing Long-Term Customer Relationships,” McGill University, School of Continuing Studies, accessed October 12, 2017,

191 bottom part of the pyramid: “The Social Brain and Its Superpowers: Matthew Lieberman, PhD, at TEDxStLouis,” filmed September 19, 2013, YouTube, posted October 7, 2013,

191not harming animals: “Compliance with Appropriate Implementation of Animal Experiments in Research and Development Activities at Otsuka Group Companies,” Otsuka Holdings Co., Ltd., accessed October 13, 2017,

192 caused loyal and long-term customers to revolt : “Keep Daiya Vegan! Reject the Otsuka Acquisition,”, accessed October 13, 2017,

193 loyal stake in your business: Jim Dougherty, “5 Steps to Building Great Business Relationships,” Harvard Business Review, December 5, 2014,

194 dimension of their business: “Capitalizing on Complexity: Insights from the IBM Global CEO Study 2010,” IBM Corporation,2010,


201 “People want to be the noun”: Austin Kleon, “The Noun and the Verb,” July 22, 2015,