Writing, speaking, and translating the future

The organization as organism

Before moving on to the promised framework for global product I have to zoom even further out and look at the organization where global happens. And then I will need to discuss a global organization framework that will support a global product framework.

The Organism

I think of an organization as an organism with independent systems that hopefully functions harmoniously and contributes to the life and well-being of the whole. These independent systems are made of individuals contributing to the well-being of their area. But of course that isn’t always the case. For the sake of keeping this conversation on task I will assume it to be true.

This organization is funded or fed by one to three sources. 1. start-up investors 2.shareholders 3.revenue generated by value the organization creates. And for the purposes of this conversation we don’t need to worry about the feeding of the organism because that is an art and science that will derail our conversation.

So the organization has external facing systems and internal facing systems and each has a job to do. They all operate under a set of principles that are deeply ingrained. For the sake of our metaphor let’s call it shared DNA. This DNA can be the culture an organization creates, the restrictions a market creates, or for our discussion, a set of unconscious assumption about what the market finds value in.

External facing systems

The external facing systems gather information and creates value.


Creates value through understanding the market and identifying what users will find valuable


Helsp product learn the market and need (research). Articulates the value visually through workflow and designs


Translates UX and product definitions of what user’s will find valuable into code or systems that will meet the user’s need and satisfy the requirements.


Ensures that the product works as expected to provide the value a customer expects.


Ensures that the agreements between the customer and organization are clear and that the organization meets its obligations with respect to personal data protection.


Conveys the value created by UX, product, and engineering to customers through ads or some other interaction.


Illustrates the value and get customers to invest in solving their need through a purchase.


Provides ongoing support to the customer so they realize the value of their investment and continue to invest.

Internal facing systems

The internal facing systems manage the value created by the external systems and support the internal systems that create value.

People team (HR, benefits, etc)

Hire, onboard, offboard, and support the well-being of the individuals that contribute to the systems


Support and create bonds across the organization between staff with commonalities or affinities.


Optimizes the value the organization creates.


Manages the resources to support the operations of the organization.


Supports the organizations contractually with vendors, partners, staff, and customers


Manages the relationships with vendors and providers that support the internal organization and whatever it creates.

Global as new RNA

If the core culture of a company or its DNA is the culture, value, and market restrictions then global is its RNA. Infusing an organization with a global mindset changes the whole organization. Every part of the organism must translate the DNA differently. Though the systems in the organizations and their basic functioning remain the same, their work fundamentally expands. They now not only have to build what they previously built, but they also have to go through the same processes to adapt their builds to new markets. Neither mitosis nor differentiation applies to global within a company. Mitosis would mean everything would function exactly the same but multiply. And differentiation would mean everything created would differ. The systems still perform the same tasks, but now they may have different rules and sensibilities that require them to use different processes and produce different outcomes. So the instructions from global will use the same systems to produce different results.

Global-first as a holistic framework for all systems

So if we think of global as new RNA for our organization/organism, we must come to the conclusion that it affects every system within it. And that the effect it has on every system may require the overall system to change.  What most organizations get wrong is that they can plan and role out one country at a time like any other product and they will then be a global company. Without a fundamental review of the organism’s current functioning, and an understanding of what areas will be affected by global expansion, this thinking will inevitably lead to an inflection point where an organization decides not to expand into specific countries because they’ve made the process difficult by not planning appropriately.

Every same language country expansion plan creates technical debt that will need refactoring.  The first step to making sure the organization/organism adapts and survives the scope expansion is to revise the initial DNA of the company.  So before getting to a global product framework we must delve into a global organization framework.


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