Beatnik: Start-up Business Model Change

By George Foster, Roderick Morris
2002 | Case No. E115
It had been about 18 months since the initial collapse of the IPO market, and much had changed at Beatnik. Lorraine Hariton had endured one of the most challenging times of her professional career. As CEO of Beatnik, she had responded to changing market conditions and had dramatically changed the focus of Beatnik from a web-based offering to a wireless one. She had significantly reduced staff and consolidated facilities in order to cut the company’s burn rate and bring greater focus to the business. Yet, could she have changed business models even more quickly, or cut costs more dramatically, or could she have handled personnel issues more effectively? She had struggled with founders and executives who had challenged her authority, leading to an eventual shakeout of senior management. Now, her team was more aligned, cohesive, and qualified than ever before, albeit smaller. Hariton thought about how best to execute Beatnik’s new strategy, and questioned whether she could consider her tenure as CEO of Beatnik a story of success, or merely one of survival.
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