NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- As investors, you want employees who embody the values of a company and bring it to the forefront whenever decisions are made. Some companies, such as Twitter (TWTR), Facebook (FB) and LinkedIn (LNKD) are able to retain a start-up like culture, or create a culture that conforms to a set of values that were created in the very early stages of the start-up.
Start-up mentality, what exactly is it? Does it even apply when companies reach the scale of Google (GOOG)? If so, why does it matter and which companies seem to possess the most of it?
Companies that are able to grow big, yet stay small within the organization are extremely rare. Many mention that it is in the early stages of a start-up that the most important bonds are formed. From an outside perspective, it's hard to imagine a person wanting to rewind a period in their life in which extreme scarcity of financial resources forced a person to eat ramen, work in an office with hardly any air conditioning and have elevated levels of stress.
After a start-up matures into an established company, some of the original founders have difficulty identifying with the company's mission. A good example of this is the scene where Steve Wozniak argues with Steve Jobs, in the movie titled "Jobs." Wozniak doesn't see the Steve Jobs that he first started Apple (AAPL) with. He just sees a ranting raving lunatic trying to protect Apple from the board of directors. Wozniak tells Jobs that he's resigning, because he just doesn't find it that fun anymore.
Soon after, Steve Jobs is fired from the company he built from scratch.
With both founders gone, the company flounders under the leadership of an "experienced" business leader. The culture is dead and none of the original founders are around to fix the sinking ship. Of course, we can pick-up from where Steve Jobs comes back .... but all it confirms is the importance of visionaries and culture.
Great culture can take on many different forms, however one company that sticks out in particular is Alibaba. For example, Alibaba tries to embrace a more horizontal bureaucratic culture which is similar to western technology companies.