I am currently reading BUY.OLOGY by Martin Lindstrom and its a strong recommend for everyone. Talking about strong brands, Martin mentions that strong brands are smashable brands. The concept dates back to 1915, when the Coca-Cola company asked a designer in Terre Haute, Indiana, to design a bottle that consumers could still recognize as a Coke bottle, even if it shattered into a hundred pieces. Its quite an intriguing and interesting read.
I am not reviewing the book here, but the uncanny resemblence of this concept to start ups did not miss me.
As a leader of your start up, if you were to apply this concept, are you sure you will find the results you desire. For instance, if I walked up to your office boy and ask him why he likes working in your start up, would he say, “the salary and working hours here are better than my previous job,” or would he say, “I really like what the guys here do.”
Side Note: Stock options, free food, gym at work is not culture. If you have people coming in for these, you will have them leave for the same.