You can measure the maturing of a startup into another Big Business by its edifices. Often, you can even measure the apogee of success by its edfices. Starting up, its all about low-cost, renting and what-ever works. When gargantuan, expensive and starchitect-driven headquarters rise, it often becomes a forget-the-cost, own, and ego exercise. With tech companies, there is always an overlay message of promoting more innovation by building bigger, better space.
We now have huge, new headquarters going up for Apple, Amazon and a bunch of other companies. I was an business journalist for many years at BusinessWeek and I can tell you that on Wall Street, this would be a sign that the companies have shifted from Growth to Value–from innovation to milking the innovation to squeeze out money.
Its all good. Creative Destruction depends on moving along the curve of creativity and innovation. But how to assess that movement? Look to a company’s edifice complex.