Molten-Labs is very different from existing Research and Development organisations which have a finite set of employees and facilities. By comparison, in many ways, Molten-Labs is more like a software company or platform, capable of scalability. Scalability is defined as:
… the capability of a system, network, or process to handle a growing amount of work or its potential to be enlarged in order to accommodate that growth.
One of the requirements for any system or network to scale is to keep overhead costs low. This is one of the core Philosophy elements of Molten-Labs. As a start-up, we are fortunate to be able to bake these (and other) philosophical differences into our company’s structure and culture from the beginning.
The following table is a quick comparison of a few ways that Molten-Labs is different from existing Research and Development organisations in terms of capability and capacity.
|Existing R&D Companies||Molten-Labs|
|Facilities||Large impressive facilities, but with a high overhead cost.||A minimum core facility, but flexible to lease other facilities as needed for as long as needed, resulting in a significantly lower overhead. Low overhead is key to scalability.|
|Employees||A moderate set of permanent employees with a limited set of experiences and technological expertises.||Three types of team-mates: a small core set of permanent “generalist” employees, a network of “specialist” contractors and “the crowd”. Flexible to grow as requirements change.|
|Equipment||A set of permanent equipment, requiring set facilities and technicians to operate it.||No permanent equipment or technicians, rather we lease only the latest equipment and the best specialists to operate it. Again, flexible to grow with requirements & use the current best tech.|
|Breadth and depth of technical solution||The available employees will revert to their known and trusted technologies.||As we utilise our “specialist” contractor network, we are open to many possible solutions and technologies, even the “crowd”.|
|Responsivity to client||Slow to respond as employees are already assigned to other clients.||Fast to respond as we grow or contract with the number of clients. This is the definition of scalable.|
|Management philosophy||Hierarchical structure, with “commands” flowing down and “information” flowing up.||Flat structure, with defaults to open and transparent communication, we search for solutions from all team-mates, such as our core set of employees, our network of specialist consultants and (when appropriate), the “crowd”.|
|Technical philosophy||All solutions are internal, often suffer from the “not invented here” syndrome.||Our core employees are screened for “not invented here” syndrome. Our permanent employees' primary function is to learn.|
While it is true that some companies do use, on occasion, outside contractors and have even experimented with “the crowd”, they still have to service a large, static overhead of employees and facilities. Their mentality is to try to solve any problem with their internal resources first (you might as well use these internal “human resources”, as you must pay for them anyway) and only go outside the company when forced to (usually after spending months going down false paths). This results in delays and possibly better solutions being overlooked in favour of out of date approaches.