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Disrupt from inside out, a discussion with Linda Yates, CEO of Mach49

Linda Yates - Mach49

Innovation and organic growth are the two biggest challenges facing most large companies today. The way out? Disrupt from inside out! Despite tremendous assets and talented teams, many of the G1000 find it hard to help their new ventures reach the escape velocity required to disrupt existing markets and create new ones. Conventional wisdom says that large companies don’t have what it takes to meet those challenges. Linda Yates, CEO and founder of mach49 disagrees. G1000 companies have the talent, ideas, brands, resources, capital, technology, channels, and customers that startups can only dream of. So, how might one use those strengths to gain an innovation and growth advantage rather than ceding billions of dollars in value to start ups? Linda’s answer: Disrupt from the inside out.


I/ Introducing Linda Yates, founder and CEO of Mach49

Linda Yates - Mach49
Linda Yates – Mach49

Linda is a seasoned CEO with over 20 years of experience creating a global strategy and driving innovation. As a native of the Silicon Valley, with an extensive network developed over 30 years, she has served as a bridge between the Silicon Valley and the Global 1000 her entire career.

Linda spent a decade as a member of the Board of Directors for NYSE-traded Sybase Inc. (now SAP) and has been a board member and advisor to many entrepreneurs and private companies.

Linda was founding CEO of Strategos – a leading international strategy consulting firm she co-founded with business guru Gary Hamel, helping G1000 global clients innovate in fundamentally new ways by “Bringing the Silicon Valley Inside.”

Linda spent six years with the Mac Group/ Gemini where she was Head of the San Francisco office, co-head of the High Tech practice on the West Coast and, later, Europe (London and Amsterdam). She spent two years at Smith Barney in corporate finance and M&A and has extensive global experience having worked in / traveled to over 50 countries.

Linda is a Henry Crown Fellow with the Aspen Institute. She holds a BA in Foreign Affairs from the University of Virginia and an MA in International Relations and Comparative Politics from Stanford University.


II/ Disrupt from inside out: what? 

Throughout Disrupting InsideOut, mach49 partners with client’s internal talent and connects them to a network of mentors and makers who represent both domain and industry expertise. The mach49 team and machNET members inspire, challenge, and co-innovate with client teams. Intrapreneurs work on their new ventures alongside top peers from other global companies (no competitors). Housed in mach49’s brand new incubator, just minutes away from the Facebook, Google, and Stanford campuses, teams apply lean startup methods, design thinking, and other entrepreneurial best practices to test customer desirability, determine product/service feasibility, and assess business viability.


Linda is providing a full-scale, 10 to 12-week, Silicon Valley immersion experience focused on validating new business opportunities, getting to a fund/no fund decision and developing a business and execution plan to launch the new ventures which may include build, buy, partner and/or invest strategies, as well as spin or spin out decisions. Once a go/no go decision is made, mach49 can help accelerate those new ventures either in Silicon Valley or back at the mothership.


III/ Disrupt inside out : making it happen

The process involves: Blitz, Incubate, InnovationSpace, Ignite and Accelerate

  • Blitz: clients bring the Silicon Valley inside for an intense, hands-on, next-generation design thinking experience to provide client teams with a challenge, a framework, a set of lenses, insights, and expertise to widen the aperture and identify new customer-centered business opportunities. Clients leave with a portfolio of ideas that can be acted on immediately.
  • Incubate: send client teams of focused, inspired intrapreneurs to the mach49 incubator where a full-scale Silicon Valley immersion experience is provided. Leveraging the network of domain and industry experts, mach49 teams validate new business opportunities, get to a fund/no fund decision and develop a business and execution plan to launch the new ventures.
  • InnovationSpace: mach49 can help client teams design, launch and manage a self made InnovationSpace either in Silicon Valley or the client’s local markets. Develop the internal talent and tools to Blitz, Ignite, Incubate and Accelerate. Mach49 provides access to its innovation ecosystem, network and ongoing programming and events.
  • Ignite: challenge the client’s next-generation of intrapreneurs with a company-wide business plan competition and idea hackathon. Shake up the organization, imagine new ways of doing business, hack technology solutions, build prototypes, and design disruptive ventures to drive meaningful, organic growth.
  • Accelerate: Build and scale newly funded businesses outside corporate headquarters. Client teams can either accelerate back home with a corporate sponsor or mach49 can provide continued support and network in the Silicon Valley to develop the product/service, recruit additional talent, close first customers and scale the operation to critical mass.


Further readings :

  • For another view on Mach49’s activities, please refer to Dave Blakely’s articles here and here
  • For an analysis on how to succeed at disruptive innovation, please refer here

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