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Always Day One

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Always Day One

How the Tech Titans Plan to Stay on Top Forever


15 min read
8 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

Big tech companies succeed by operating like start-ups, focusing on ideas and flattening hierarchies.

Editorial Rating



  • Innovative
  • Insider's Take
  • Inspiring


Today’s biggest tech companies keep their competitive edge by embracing the inventive, collaborative spirit of start-ups. They prioritize reinvention, minimize “execution work,” democratize ideas and overthrow rigid hierarchies. Tech reporter Alex Kantrowitz details how Amazon, Google, Microsoft and Facebook maintain their relevance. He also explains the challenges companies such as Apple face as a result of clinging to outdated corporate cultures. ​​​​​Kantrowitz urges tech leaders to confront the potential harm their companies can cause and to channel their powers to build a better world.


Successful tech companies prioritize ideas and minimize the burden of execution work.

Today’s biggest tech companies operate as if it’s “Day One” every day. That’s shorthand for maintaining an innovative spirit and a competitive edge by acting like startups and looking toward the future, instead of focusing on protecting past successes. Day One-minded firms pursue two types of work: “Idea work” involves creating new things, while “execution work” centers around the logistical activities that support their businesses, such as product-ordering and data-input. Companies flourish in today’s knowledge economy when they minimize execution work to focus on idea work. Successful tech companies such as Amazon, Google, Facebook and Microsoft avoid hierarchy and encourage worker inventiveness.

Maintaining an Engineer’s Mind-set helps these companies foster an inventive, creative culture, featuring these aspects:

  1. Democratic invention – Successful tech companies allow ideas to come from anywhere within their ranks.
  2. Constraint-free hierarchy –&#...

About the Author

Alex Kantrowitz covers technology as a senior report at BuzzFeed News.

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